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Artist Bio and Statement. Melissa Hampton. Ascendant Jewelry Studio

Melissa Hampton is a contemporary jewelry artist born and raised in Missouri. She first became fascinated with jewelry and the idea of adornment after inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage costume jewelry as a young girl. She went on to explore this field and earned a Masters in Fine Arts: Studio Art from the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville where she majored in Metals and Jewelry Design. After graduation, she launched Ascendant Jewelry Studio, where she designs and hand fabricates unique mixed metal jewelry in silver, gold, brass, and gemstones.

In her conceptual work, she uses traditional metalsmithing techniques such as fabrication, fusing, and stone setting to create contemporary jewelry that expresses big ideas in the form of small wearable sculptures. Scenes of creation are the main inspiration behind her work, and she strives to visually express the power of creation narratives to merge the physical, geological, and spiritual, and how these stories often become powerful metaphors for human experience. To express the geological story of Earth's creation in her Primordia Collection, she uses elements such as repeating golden arcs, organic edges, raw textures, and craggy negative spaces. She incorporates flows of high karat gold alloys over fused sterling silver to mimic ancient volcanic eruptions and newly formed lava rock beaches. The processes of fusing and carving into the metal enhance the organic, geological quality of this work. To visually represent the more spiritual side of creation narratives, bright beams of flowed gold shoot through a backdrop of black sterling silver in the Genesis Collection. Here, the flowed gold represents first light; the Genesis of it all. The artist views jewelry as the vehicle of expression for these universal themes of creation; small, everyday reminders of familiar yet vast and awe-inspiring ideas.

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