Ancient of Days Collection

Mary Elizabeth Long

Sheri ONeal Photography

Meet Mary Elizabeth

For over 30 years, I was a makeup artist to the stars. I specialized in makeup, hair and wardrobe styling for some of the top photographers in Nashville. I later became a fashion and music photographer, just a natural progression and also one of my many childhood dreams. 

In 2014, my precious father who suffered from dementia came to live with us. I quickly realized that he needed 24/7 supervision, so I gave up my photography career to spend quality time with my dad, but I still needed a creative outlet. I picked up some aluminum wire and started creating! I had made jewelry on and off though my life but this time I was obsessed! I would create all kinds of jewelry, incorporating leather, crystals, beads and stones. I seriously wouldn’t stop until my hands were physically worn out.

In 2018, I started collecting antique, brass jewelry dies and wood blocks from India, some dating back to the 1800’s. I was introduced to a fairly new medium called, Metal Clay.  It was the perfect combination to create some very unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. I am now making my own metal clay that I use to re-create the traditional, Indian designs. There are many steps in the process and each is interesting. Once the clay pieces are dry, sanded and burnished, they are fired in a kiln at a very high temperature which burns off the binder and leaves you with a solid piece of metal. It is tumbled, burnished, polished and torch fired before patina. I don't want my pieces that I create to look new. They need to look old, like they have been around for a hundred years. I always want to honor the memory of the artists who hand engraved these designs all those years ago.
I mainly work with bronze and white copper...some silver. It’s really gratifying for me to bring these old works of art to life.

I think my attention to detail and having been a makeup artist has made me a better jeweler. I am somewhat of a perfectionist but I’m learning that it is the imperfections that make things much more interesting and unique. 

My creativity comes in waves, that’s why I have to strike when the iron is hot...that’s also why I don’t do custom orders.

Metal clay, NashVegas Hippie, Sheri Oneal Photography, Mary Elizabeth Long Nashville
NashVegas Hippie, Metal Clay pendant, India, Antique die, Jewelry