Carol Silrum grew up along San Diego’s north county coast. Drawn to the fine arts from an early age, she studied at Palomar College and the University of California, San Diego at UCSD’s Craft Center, as well as a stint at the National University of Mexico City. Her classes included drawing, oil and watercolor painting, ceramics and metalwork.
Inspired by a lifelong fascination with the interplay of color and light, she now focuses her creative endeavors on designing and handcrafting dichroic glass jewelry. Fused dichroic glass combines the ancient Egyptian art of glass fusing with the space age technology of dichroic – a complex process of coating glass with quartz crystal and metallic oxides. To produce her distinctive designs, Carol hand-cuts and layers dichroic-coated and other art glass, which are fused in a kiln and then bezel-set in sterling silver using traditional silversmithing methods.
Carol lives with her husband, a landscape designer, and their two dogs in North County. From their hillside retreat, which looks out on a panoramic vista of rolling green hills and the distant blue Pacific, she works in her home studio to create her one-of-a-kind works of wearable art.
I grew up in a family of glass collectors. Though most of what they collected was early depression-era glass and the colored glass insulators of bygone days, it instilled in me a fascination with the translucent beauty of glass.
My own work with this medium began one day in early 1999 while I was working on a copper horse sculpture. Wanting to add some elements of color, I paid a visit to a gem show in Del Mar. There I happened to meet one of the pioneers of dichroic glasswork, Cay Dickey. That meeting marked the beginning of my journey into jewelry make. Cay took me under her wing, became my mentor and dear friend, and introduced me to the alluring world of dichroic glass. She also introduced me to Scott, a guitar make by trade, and a gifted silversmith whom I have studied and collaborated with ever since.
The exquisite interplay of color and light, the delicate shifting of colors that play upon each other, creating textures and patterns of light – these are my “paintbrushes”. I use these light textures layer upon layer, to create depth and contrast in each piece. Setting the finished glass cabochons in sterling seems to capture the light reflection s and enhance the effect, producing an even more radiant, rainbow-like brilliance.
To me, there is something magical, almost mystical, about that visual symphony of light, a reminder perhaps of the beauty that flows through the Universes, embracing and connecting us all.