Piece of Work: Sara Thompson

“This is the first body of work that I’ve invested in this realm and I want to keep going. And the spoons are just an ongoing curiosity and investigation.”

This is the first body of work that I’ve invested in this realm and I want to keep going.
Sara Thompson, Spoon Exploration, sterling silver, 2017.

Every now and again you meet an artist whose prodigious talent is matched by a determined focus to make life what he or she always imagined it could be. Take silversmith Sara Thompson of Edgartown. Just twenty-one and a freshly minted graduate of the Oregon College of Art and Craft, she is off to the prestigious American Craft Exposition in Chicago to showcase her work. Oh, and there’s a four-month backlog for commissions. It’s fair to say that she’s on a roll.

Not that there weren’t indicators. Creative from the get-go, when Thompson was eleven her mother convinced family friend and jeweler Amy Kirkpatrick (AE Kirkpatrick Jewelry Design) to allow her to apprentice in her Vineyard Haven studio and retail shop one day a week. That soon turned into two days, and soon after became six days a week. “So instead of having an after-school sport,” Thompson says, “I was learning how to be a jeweler and run a retail shop and earn my living as an artist.”

Spoon Exploration is an eighteen-piece ensemble examining different containments made to be handheld. Broken down, it is six sets of three each: measuring cups, scoops, spoons, perforated spoons, shovels, and spouted spoons.

“I wanted to investigate what is a spoon, because a spoon lives in this area as something we engage, but we also view as an object,” she says. “Some people have their family’s silverware handed down for generations and then there are plastic spoons we throw away. But the spoon serves as a means of transporting food or liquids, so they’re something we hold in our hand and engage with every day.” The spoons are sold individually and range from $325 to $500 apiece.

Thompson will exhibit both her spoons and a collection of silver vessels in Chicago. Afterward, she will return to Portland, Oregon, where she has access to a studio and has found what she needs for now – a community of craftsmen, a city that is more green than asphalt, and a place “where people smile at you and say hello.”

Though Thompson considers the Vineyard her home base, those irreplaceable days at Kirkpatrick’s shop helped her to realize that mixing studio work with retail customers was not for her. Her goal, therefore, is to build a portfolio that will support her own studio.

“I want to do a small number of national shows to develop a list of galleries and private clients,” she says. “That’s where I want to go.”

Thompson will display her work at the Thanksgiving Weekend Artisans Fair; it also can be found at