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metal maven

November 5, 2017

Betty Necklace

Betty Helen Longhi, a master metalsmith, produces flowing graceful forms from flat sheet metal that allows her sculptural jewelry to be strong yet quite light.

The artist: Longhi started working metal in her last year of high school and continued studying at the University of Wisconsin, where she graduated, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1983, her then-hobby became a business: Fluid Expressions in Metal. She maintains a studio in her lakeside home near Lexington, NC.

What’s popular: Her beads, which are made by forming a strip of metal and then wrapping it into a shell-like object. Most of the beads are large and put individually on a cable to wear as a necklace. Prices for beads start at $270 for a simple silver one to $700 for bimetal and more complex designs. Also popular: earrings ($180 to $400).

Other favorites: Larger collars as show pieces ($1,500 to $3,500). “It is fun to see people try them on and occasionally buy them.

Big break: After nine years of work, she and her co-author Cynthia Eid published, “Creative Metal Forming.” In its first printing, the book sold out in six weeks. It is now in its third printing.

Where to buy: www.fluidformsinmetal. Also at the Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery in Winston-Salem (Piedmontcraftsmen.org). In Atlanta, at the jewelry show.

Golden Current 7 x 2.5 x 2

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