Electroforming, metalsmithing pieces go from jeweler’s hands to art exhibition

Alison Pack
Alison Pack

Alison Pack, metalsmithing and jewelry design professor, draws inspiration from the world around her, whether it is from the grocery store or nature.

Pack is the featured summer artist at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and her work is on exhibit there from June 8 to Sept. 9.

The exhibition, titled “Metalicious: Alison Pack,” features 25 unique pieces of work spanning 15 years. Pack’s work contains the themes of sweet delicacies, relationships, fashion and sexuality.

“I’m very honored that they invited me to exhibit my work there,” Pack said. “Thinking back to my childhood, wanting to be an artist, I never knew that I’d be able to be teaching art and that my work would be exhibited in a venue so nice.”

One of the pieces on display, “Candy,” was inspired from a trip to the fruits and vegetables section at Pack’s local grocer.

“The past few years I’ve worked with sweets and desserts, but I’ve taken more of an interest in cooking lately because I was an adult that didn’t know how to cook,” she said. “I started spending time preparing food and more time in the kitchen. Now, going to the grocery store has been looking at fruits and vegetables and how I can relay those over into a female form.”

Pack said that she’s been drawn to apples lately – particularly gala apples.


“I’ve been thinking about the round form, with the apple as the woman,” she said. “When I enameled it, the color looked like a candied apple, which led to the name.”

“Pucker,” another piece in the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences exhibit, stemmed from the same creative fountain – the grocery store. For “Pucker,” Pack used an electroformer, which allows her to build copper over a pre-existing shape.

Electroforming is a metal forming process in which metallic particles are passively moved to coat a shape. An electrolytic bath is used to deposit an electroformable metal onto a conducive surface. Any material that isn’t capable of electroforming may be coated with a conducive coating to allow for electroforming.

“I was going to use a real lemon, but it would have floated,” Pack said. “So, I used a toy lemon. I built up copper over the toy lemon. While making the piece, I was thinking of kissing and puckering – from the sourness of the lemon.”

On June 16, Pack is hosting a workshop at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences on paper templates, the foundation of all her pieces and projects. Participants will be able to build 3D figures out of flat shapes with instruction from Pack.

May 25, 2018
Max Esterhuizen