Hempfield student nominated for art award
BY DEAN LEE EVANS, Correspondent
Many artists can wait years before they get recognition, but for AJ Gamble of Salunga that honor came sooner than he expected.
Gamble, a senior at Hempfield High School, was chosen recently as a one of five finalists for the 2013 Saul Bell Design Award in the emerging artist category.
"He only had one semester of fine metals with (teacher) Amy Edwards before he applied for the award. That is amazing," said AJ's mother, Dawn Gamble.
The piece that Gamble designed and built is a necklace-like piece called a collar.
Constructed of 12-gauge silver wire and reticulated silver, Gamble molded and soldered the metal to form cherry branches, leaves and blossoms. The collar is adorned with blue and pink sapphires.
Edwards applauded Gamble's selection from the applicants in the international competition.
The emerging artist category is reserved for competitors 18 and younger.
Sharon Christenson, advertising coordinator for Rio Grande, an international distributor of jeweler supplies that presents the Saul Bell Awards, said overall more than 400 artists entered the contest in six categories.
Categories are: gold/platinum, silver/argentium silver, beads, metal clay, Hollowware and enamel.
There are no limitations on medium, as long as the design is wearable and created by the student.
Gamble, who plans to graduate from Hempfield and attend the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, Calif., already has a strong educational background in physics.
Edwards said the two very different career choices open to Gamble were not all that unusual.
"Many of the great Renaissance artists also had strong backgrounds in the sciences," Edwards said.
As for a career in jewelry, Gamble is certain. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it," he said.
Gamble is the second student of Edwards to be recognized for a Saul Bell Award.
Hempfield graduate Emily Bennett snagged third place in the emerging artist category in 2011.