Carving gems is an act of transformational magic. It is so magical, that after decades in the studio, it still amazes Sherris Cottier Shank that simple carving and polishing can release such astonishing beauty.
Sherris discovered gem carving in an article written by Henry Hunt for Metalsmith magazine, while working as a goldsmith in a high-end jewelry store. What!? You can carve a gem!? She ordered Henry’s new book and read it from cover to cover several times. She even took the book camping with her where it got rained on, causing the original copy to eventually be replaced. Sherris tried all of Henry’s techniques and invented a few of her own, and soon realized that she had found her passion. She loved gems, and she loved the carving. It was a match made in heaven. She opened Gemscapes and traded away her goldsmithing tools in 1988. Sherris credits her success and acceptance in both the jewelry and art communities, to a combination of aesthetic and practical abilities. Her style is organic, curvilinear, and flowing which many people find evocative of nature and aesthetically exciting. Her keen eye for quality gems, developed with years of goldsmithing experience, aids her in selecting the finest gemstone rough. She appreciates and respects the role of the jeweler in creating settings for her gem art, by specifically designing gems that are easy to set. Since 1985 Sherris has evolved as an artist and as a respected voice in the field of gem art. She has written several magazine articles, and been quoted countless times by others. One of her sculptures sold at Christies in England, and her work has been displayed in several important museum shows. Photos of her gem art appear often in books and magazines. But with all of these accomplishments, it is the gems themselves that she values most, and the continuing pleasure they bring to her customers around the world.