The 2018 Halstead Design Challenge results are in!
Jill Tower won 1st place with her “Koi Fish” brooch with a hidden frog button . She said, “My inspiration piece from the Halstead kit was the sterling silver ‘polka dot’ grid. It made me think of feathers and fish scales, and my koi fish design was born.”
To create the scales, she thinned the brass sheet and cut it to match the silver grid. This worked to create the color scheme of a real koi fish. The fish head then snaps open, and this is where you’ll find the hidden frog button. On the back, you’ll find an etched lily pond design and bezel set leopard frog cloisonné.
Jill is primarily an enamel artist and began her journey at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, where she now teaches, with metalsmithing and enameling classes. Her interest grew from hunting opals, agates and onyx across the western states as a child of “rockhound” parents. She was a runner up in the 2017 Halstead Design Challenge and has been exhibiting her work since 2014.
The runners up are:
Becky McDonah for “The Secret of the Old Clock” with her nods to the Nancy Drew series in the hidden spine of the first book of the series and a second hidden flashlight element.
Blake Terzini for “Obscured Osteology” with a bird skull hidden behind the industrial aesthetics of the outer display.
Rachel Stork Stoltz for “Trinacria” with a hidden piece of lava rock from Mount Etna to work with her inspiration of the Sicilian flag, Medusa’s head, and three wheat ears.
About the Halstead Design Challenge
An online exhibition of 68 submissions is live on the SNAG website, with many items still available for sale. This year’s theme is “Hidden” and encouraged participants to play with the ideas of secrecy and mystery. The challenge inspiration was: Show us your best mechanisms, fabrication techniques and creative use of a found object — all brought to life as a brooch or convertible pendant! And to make it more interesting: incorporate a surprising element for the viewer to discover.
SNAG sold 200 challenge kits donated by Halstead in October. Each kit contained 44 pieces of sterling silver, copper, and brass supplies. Participants needed to use at least half of the kit materials plus a found object. All revenue from the kit sales benefit SNAG with proceeds from the sales of the finished pieces split between the artist and SNAG.
A juried selection of 29 pieces was exhibited at the SNAG conference in Portland, OR with winners and runners up announced from the main stage.
This year’s jurors were Brigitte Martin, Jim Bové, and Hilary Halstead Scott. Brigitte is the founding editor of Crafthaus, an award-winning author, and contributing writer for American Craft Magazine. Jim Bové is a practicing artist and associate professor at California University of Pennsylvania. He also won 1st place in the 2017 Halstead Design Challenge. Hilary Halstead Scott is the president of Halstead.