Legacy Award

Kristen Baird

One of the best parts of my job as a small business owner is the variety of projects that I have the opportunity to work on. Of course I do a lot of my own collections, commissions, various presents for people...but then sometimes, I get calls with slightly different requests that are way outside of my normal range of “day-to-day” projects. This is exactly what this project was all about. My friends over at SD Gunner Fund and Savannah Carnaval reached out wanting an award to present as their first-ever Legacy Award, during the 2021 Savannah Carnival event. Read on to see how this paw-fect Legacy Award came to life...

SD Gunner Fund - The Design by Kristen Baird

A paw for a paw

I've been working with the SD Gunner Fund for several years now. They are my “giving back” partner and I just love their mission and everything they stand for. They knew they wanted something really special for their first annual Legacy Award, which would be presented to Mr. Richard Kessler. Does the name sound slightly familiar? That’s because Mr. Kessler is the visionary behind the Grand Bohemian line of hotels and galleries. The Grand Bohemian Gallery brand has been representing my work since 2013 - what a full circle moment! With that in mind, I started with the idea to use a paw print of SD Gunner’s very own furry representative, encrusted with red, white and blue gemstones (check out the above picture of me and Gunner - the namesake of SD Gunner Fund). It just so happens that Mr. Kessler is a huge fan of gemstones, geodes and all things sparkly!

SD Gunner Fund - Forming the Piece by Kristen Baird

Signature Ripple pattern

For this piece we had a really tight turnaround, so I knew I had to get started right away. I started by creating a sterling silver paw print about 2 inches in size, using both a flat sheet as the background and my signature Ripple pattern as the foreground. Of course I wanted this piece to be wearable, but also make it award-worthy displayable. I decided to add a double pin mechanism on the back, which as an added bonus, happens to fit into the award holder (stay tuned for that…).

SD Gunner Fund - Fabrication by Kristen Baird

A patriotic ensemble

With the whole piece being hand-fabricated in my studio, it was really fun to document each part coming together; and with a deadline nonetheless. As I added each gemstone setting to the paw print, the vision became more and more clear. Mind you, there were a total of 19 gems incorporated into this piece - a patriotic ensemble in red garnet, white sapphire and various shades of blue topaz. As you can see, on the back of the piece I also hand-inscribed a little bit of information about the award, including the name and date. Inscribing this piece was pretty cool as it incorporated my background of architectural writing (fun fact...I wanted to be an architect until I found jewelry). I love it when a plan comes together.

SD Gunner Fund - Setting by Kristen Baird

It’s crunch time!

Once the whole piece was fabricated, it came down to the setting. One stone at a time, one section at a time - each gemstone contributing to the full picture. With all 19 stones perfectly set, I got really excited as the piece was finally wrapping up. Might I add, with only a couple of hours left to finish the piece, I was able to get it done with 30 minutes before the deadline. Whew! Nothing like a little crunch time to keep the heart racing just a tad.

SD Gunner Fund - Final by Kristen Baird

And the Award goes to…

As you can see, the award came out wonderfully and even more interesting, we were able to create its own little display case - how fun! The double pin back mechanism hooks onto a sterling silver stand and is incorporated into funnily enough - a baseball memorabilia holder that has been engraved with additional information from SD Gunner Fund on the glass. I really love how the colors and textures shine and help pop the piece a little bit more. I added a little touch of blackening patina to really give depth and dimension to the textures on the paw print.

SD Gunner Fund - Gifting by Kristen Baird

Thanks to SD Gunner Fund and Savannah Carnaval, I was personally able to attend the big event and snag these pictures, compliments of Tyler Dewland at Dewland Photography. Again, what a full circle moment to present an award not only for my “giving back” partner of 3 years (and counting), but also to the man and visionary behind the Grand Bohemian Galleries, who has been representing my work for nearly 9 years, all while celebrating at the Savannah Carnaval with friends and supporters of my work and of SD Gunner Fund. Grateful - only begins to describe the feeling I had that night!

Do you have an idea? A crazy, zany, off-the-wall outside of the box kind of idea? Well that just may be my kind of jam! So, reach out and let’s have a wacky brainstorming session together! I love what I do as an artist and these types of unique and one-of-a-kind projects really keep me inspired and passionate about what I do. I'd love to talk with you!

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