Dingledine cuts, hammers and adds details to silver sheets to produce pieces like this “Flower Ring with Two Shanks.”
“I have made jewelry for as long as I can remember,” says Molly Dingledine. And she’s not kidding. She started threading necklaces as a child, and by high school had a bona fide business, “Molly Made,” replete with custom jewelry boxes and labels.
After her high school graduation in 2000 and a brief foray at a liberal arts college in North Carolina, the Charleston, S.C., native relocated to Savannah, Ga., to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design as a jewelry major. “I couldn’t wait to begin,” she says.
Following graduation, she moved away from family and friends, settling in Asheville, N.C., in 2005 when a business contact connected her with an artist in need of a studio mate. Today she shares quarters downtown with fellow jewelers Joanna Gollberg and Geoffrey D. Giles.
“I’d grown up at the beach,” Dingledine explains. “When I moved to Asheville, the mountains and the change of seasons were really fascinating to me.” And as a self-described outdoors person, it was natural that she took notice. “I really started studying natural forms and how flowers and buds and pods are structured.”
Although Dingledine isn’t aiming for verisimilitude, her shapes are clearly organic. “When I see a flower, pod or bud, I interpret it in my own way,” she says. “I study the form, and translate it into a wearable, movable piece of jewelry.”
Dingledine’s current line evolved from simplified plant forms. Petals evolved into flowers—the “Lotus” and its smaller counterpart, the “Daisy”—which now take center stage in her complete line of sterling silver and pearl necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings and rings. “I am constantly discovering new ways to assemble these shapes to create new forms,” she explains. “That is the most enjoyable part for me.”
What’s next? “I want to add more color to my work,” Dingledine says. “In the form of enamel. A flower with three pieces, each a different color … fun!”
This article was first published in the Summer 2010 edition of NICHE magazine. To see Dingledine’s current work, go to www.mollydingledine.com