Silversmith Robyn Nichols shares what’s on her current must-have list
Since she was a small girl, Robyn Nichols has been fascinated by nature, and she’s brought that fascination to life as an internationally known silversmith. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute, she taught herself metalsmithing, using repoussé, shell forming, chasing and forging in sterling silver and 18k gold. Her elegant jewelry and tableware is included in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Nelson Atkins Museum, among others. She’s been featured in many national and regional publications, including Elle Décor, Traditional Home and Bon Appetit.
1. Vintage Clothes. When I’m in the mood to search for treasures, I go to Donna’s Dress Shop on 39th St. or visit Gail Tritten at Cousetry in Bottoms Up. They both have a good eye, and I always find some really nice one-of-a-kind pieces.
02. Auric Blends Rose Oil. I love the aroma of roses, so for many years this has been my favorite scent. I love it when my friends snuggle up to me and say “Umm, you smell beautiful.”
03. Asiatica Tops. Paired with black Eileen Fisher pants and my favorite Munro Abby shoes, this is my uniform when I’m in meetings. I accessorize it with a sterling brooch, a pair of my earrings and two Prairie Grass bangles and a Palm Leaf cuff bracelet.
04.Capers, Kalamata Olives, Lemons, Feta Cheese and Thick Goat Yogurt. These are my staples, my comfort foods from my Mediterranean heritage.
05. MAC Eyebrow Powder. Once a unibrow, I now have little tufts of hairs at random. How would anyone follow my expressions, like suspicion and curiosity, without eyebrows?
06. Creative Candles Tapers. I want elegance and a sensuous environment rather than a scent when I use candlelight in my home. I am smitten with their smokeless, dripless, slender 18-inch tall tapers in luscious colors and design sterling-silver candleholders just to hold that size. Their black is my favorite color to use in my designs.
07. Gingko Biloba Leaves. I’m fascinated by the inspirations I find in the shapes, connections, patterns, line and form of these. It’s a repeated theme in my work. In my childhood I aspired to be a botanical illustrator. Now I sculpt my illustrations in metal.
08. Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir. I enjoy this wine wrapped up cozily by a blazing fire or paired with a meal of fall-harvested squashes, artichokes and root vegetables, hearty soups or seared tuna.
09. My Poppy Blossom Necklace. What makes one piece of jewelry or hollowware more special to me than another is how complicated it was for me to fabricate, the symbolism from which it was created, or how well it fits the personality of my client if it’s commissioned. This necklace captured the petals unfurled from a beautiful late-spring garden botanical. I don’t cast my pieces, I created from flat sheets of precious metal and use chasing tools and rawhide hammers to manipulate the metal into a three-dimensional form.