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Pat Callahan raises ecological awareness through art

Pat Callahan is an ecology-minded artisan who creates one-of-a-kind jewelry from repurposed and vintage elements as well as reclaimed metal pieces found on her morning runs – and her husband’s walks.

Exercise and foraging are done before she heads into work at the University of South Carolina Press. In addition to being a sought-after jewelry artisan, she is an accomplished book designer.

While her recycling won’t be making much of a dent in what Columbia casts off, she certainly has raised ecological awareness among the growing contingent of women – and men – who wear her creations.

The jewelry making represents a recent stage in her artistic development. Known first in the Midlands as a gifted artist drawing the human figure, she next embraced building and populating fine-art shadow boxes.

“Wire techniques and found objects I was using with the shadow boxes led to hand-crafting jewelry that allows me to repurpose elements into something beautiful, inventive, and unique. The result is art that can be worn.” She added that: ”Using found objects is not only ecological, it’s cost effective when it comes to acquiring supplies.”

The found metal is weathered and abraded with distinctive textures. “Sometimes I leave the rust on, sometimes I sand it off; it depends upon the design I have in mind.” She added: “My creative energy goes to finding solutions. Even if the solution doesn’t work, I always learn something and push my skills.”

Callahan describe her process: “I marry the parts as efficiently as possible, using tension and pressure, bringing the elements into an exact fit. I use cold connections – no soldering of the metal.”

The clean lines and simplicity she achieves often draws this compliment from wearers: exquisite.


Feature photo credit of Columbia Living Magazine

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