Local Show Solitary Gem For Jewelry Maker

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Patricia Allebrand has a master's degree in sculpting from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned it in the late 60s when the campus was the epicenter of changing social mores. Later, she worked as a sculptor and jewelry artist in the trend-setting Soho area of New York City in the 1970s.

Her work is marketed almost exclusively through galleries -- except for the annual Payson Art League Fall Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Show and Sale.

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Patricia Allebrand will be exhibiting and selling her jewelry at the Payson Art League Fall Fine Art and Fine Crafts Show this weekend at the Tonto Apache Tribe's activity center, the evening of Nov. 5 and all day Nov. 6 and 7.

"The first one I went to I said to myself, ‘Wow! They have some really great artists here!'" Allebrand said.

She participated in her first PAL show seven years ago. "The first PAL show I did was the first retail show I'd ever done," she said. "I didn't even know how to take money, I had to rehearse it before the show."

The PAL show and sale is still the only retail show Allebrand sell her work at.

Allebrand has been designing and making jewelry for about 20 years, before that she was a sculptor and teacher.

"Teachers are essential, but I wasn't a very good one," she said. So to help make a living she turned her talents to jewelry.

"I was making sculpture to wear," Allebrand said. "I wanted to make something more accessible to more people. Jewelry is more intimately involved with the people who buy it."

She said she does not make jewelry like everybody else. "I want to make beauty in the world. Beauty is essential to all aspects of living," Allebrand said.

To create her jewelry, Allebrand uses a long, involved process. Rarely does she start with a sketch, she said she likes to work the material and let the ideas develop.

Once she has her prototype, she creates a mold. The mold is filled with melted wax and once it's set, the wax is removed and cleaned.

The wax jewelry images are "invested" or encased in a plaster-like material in a cylinder-shaped container.

The container is put in a vacuum machine to remove all the air bubbles. The plaster material is allowed to dry, then the container is put in a kiln and wax is melted. This creates a clean negative image of the jewelry design.

Allebrand pours molten metal -- primarily gold and silver -- into the negative image cavity. When it's set, the plaster-like material is removed.

The metal is cleaned and, if it's part of the piece, Allebrand finishes it with either soldering or welding.

While the process is involved, it also allows Allebrand to play a little.

"It's nice. Your can have all kinds of experiments and try different things," she said. In some of her experiments she has tried creating negative images in the plaster from a dead lizard and seahorses.

Allebrand's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States.

"I've had a long career making art," Allebrand said. "I love it. I'll do it until I die or lose both eyes and my hands. I have a fantastic husband, Lew Levenson, and son, Christopher Stevens. I have a wonderful mother, Judith Allebrand, in Scottsdale. My parents weren't artistic, but she encouraged me and that's to her credit."

Allebrand is one of 35 Rim country artists participating in the PAL show and sale, Nov. 5-7. The event is at the Tonto Apache Tribe's activity center, across from the casino.

The show opens with an artist's reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. A donation of $5 is requested. The exhibit is free, and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6 and 7.

A Sunday afternoon raffle of various artwork will be held to benefit art programs in Rim country schools.

For more information, call Sally Myers at (928) 472-8651 or go online to www.paysonartleague.com.

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