Local metalsmith and jewelry artist Annie Grimes Williams, owner and creator at CopperTide Fine Metalwork & Enameling, creates beautiful wearable works of art. She transforms copper into a rainbow of jewelry using traditional metalsmithing techniques, such as shell forming, piercing and enameling.
You might find Annie hard at work in her home studio late at night with an acetylene torch in hand, or amidst a rainbow of enamel petals, pods and geometric forms, selling her jewelry at an arts and crafts fair or teaching a jewelry-making, metalsmithing or enameling class at Sawtooth School for Visual Art.
Her journey with metalwork began at East Carolina University in 2000. She started on a graphic design track and took a metals class for fun and rerouted her career plans. Her metal work evolved from creating vessels to jewelry. “I’m fascinated by how far you can push a metal form with hammers and stakes and make this rigid material into something flowing and organic,” said Annie.
“My work is primarily influenced by my fascination with forms and their interior spaces, by color, and by my affinity for the sea and the allure it holds for me. I feel that we are all connected to the sea and to one another on a very primal level,” said Annie. “I am particularly drawn to the tiny creatures found in tide pools: urchins, anemones and weird little brightly-colored pod forms that seem to be somewhere between plant and animal. It’s these little forms that have inspired my recent work.”
She is also mom to little Alder, age two. Finding her work-life balance has not been such a puzzle. “I think it’s important to highlight the careers of working moms, especially artist and maker mamas, because there can be this stigma about not being fully committed to your career because you haven’t sacrificed everything for your art,” explained Annie. “I feel like you don’t have to sacrifice, you just have to give your all to the things you love most and are most passionate about. (Housework and sleeping definitely take a back seat at my house.)”
Annie grew up nearby in Welcome, North Carolina, and was drawn back to Winston-Salem by the growing Arts District and the community’s support for artists. It’s encouraging to learn that in our region the field of metalsmithing is an even playing field of women and men, and she has found many talented women metalsmiths to inspire her along her way. Annie is an exhibiting artist at Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery and a member of Art Nouveau Winston-Salem, in addition to being an instructor at Sawtooth.
You can find Annie’s CopperTide Fine Metalwork & Enameling creations at Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery on Trade Street in downtown Winston-Salem, at many fine art craft shows in the region and in the Triangle area, as well as online at coppertide.net. For info on taking a class with her at Sawtooth School for Visual Art, visit sawtooth.org.
Camel City Creates is a monthly column of Forsyth Woman magazine featuring talented creative women in our community.