Heirloom Silver Jewelry Of Artist Mina Cavanaugh At Gallery

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It’s just July, but it might be time to start giving the holiday gift-giving season some thought. A place to stop and shop this month is the Artists of the Rim Gallery at 408 W. Main, Payson.

That’s because the gallery will feature the work of artist Mina Cavanaugh through the month. Cavanaugh uses the unique media of heirloom silver to make jewelry and home décor pieces.

Cavanaugh has worked in many areas of art since 40 years ago when she first tried her hand at painting with oils. She completed three paintings, but lost interest because of the smell and the necessary cleaning. She later put the three paintings in a garage sale and an artist came in, bought all three, and told her she should really think more of her art.

Several years later Cavanaugh picked up a brush again and started painting with watercolors and loved it. Over the years, she has also done china painting and had a miniature business where she created completely furnished miniature houses with attention to detail in every piece.

Cavanaugh believes that attention to detail is her biggest asset, which carries through in the jewelry — wearable art — she now creates from heirloom silver she has collected over several decades.

Cavanaugh, with her husband, Ed, work side by side in their studio in Mesa.

The Victorians started making jewelry from silver, and then it made a resurgence during wartime when people had little money. At that time it was used mostly for rings.

“However, people today have stored their silver away in a drawer, not wanting to keep it polished,” Cavanaugh said. 

“Others sell their heirloom silver for money to be melted down. I’m just trying to save these beautiful pieces of work.”

Cavanaugh studies each piece before creating her jewelry. She looks for unique, really old, pieces. When she works with the silver she likes to feel how the artist may have felt when they were designing the pattern. Her desire is to preserve the work of those artists of another time in her jewelry.

“These pieces evoke memories of a time long past when families gathered around the dining room table set with fine china and shining silver,” Cavanaugh said about her jewelry.

“Scrumptious meals were savored and leisurely conversation enjoyed.”

Cavanaugh’s pieces are meant to ignite those feelings of long ago and preserve these great heirlooms.

Members of the co-op gallery will have a reception for Cavanaugh from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, July 2 as part of the First Friday festivities.

Additionally, the gallery will have music by Brooks and Yoder, plus M&B’s Hot Dogs will be on hand with additional refreshments.

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