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‘The Top Brass’: Metalsmith follows in her father’s footsteps, with a twist

By Staff | Jul 19, 2019

Metalsmith Roselyn Sanders Mendez, of Shepherdstown, sets up a display of her artisan and upcycled jewelry on Friday at the War Memorial Building. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Things have come around full-circle for Shepherdstown-based metalsmith Roselyn Sanders Mendez.

In high school, Mendez was encouraged by her art teacher to volunteer with the first Over the Mountain Studio Tour as a guide. Twenty-five years later, Mendez followed in her father’s footsteps and became an artist on the tour.

Mendez’s father, Brad Sanders, is also a metalsmith, but during his eight years on the tour he featured his large architectural designs and steel work. Mendez, on the other hand, has focused her talents on creating detailed artisan and upcycled nature-themed jewelry.

“I do brass, bronze, copper and sterling silver, with various patines and enamels,” Mendez said of her work. “It sort of shifts, but mostly what I do is botanical flowers. This year was different, and what I’m doing mostly is local wildflowers.

“I’m inspired by the beauty of nature. To me, the most divine thing is nature and the forms of nature, and the processes of nature,” Mendez said, mentioning she’s also a gardener. “When I’m working, a lot of times I think of the natural world, and how amazing it is.”

Some of the artisan and upcycled jewelry pieces in Even Rose Love's collection. Tabitha Johnston

Having learned welding from her husband while they worked for for her father’s now-defunct company, Sanders Museum Services, Mendez often crafted the intricate details on the metal displays, which the group built in museums across the country — from the Smithsonian to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Those 12 years of experience helped her find her artistic style, after the births of her two sons.

“I have two boys who are nine and 11,” Mendez said, mentioning her original preferred medium was painting, which she gave up to care for her sons. “When I used to paint, I would paint for hours and hours, and my husband would have to bring me food. But with little boys, you can’t do that.

“With this work, I can step away for a time and then come back,” Mendez said. “I can do more work, now that they’re older, but I fell in love with this, and now I think I love it a little more than painting.”

Today, Mendez’s work can be found in local businesses and at both art and fairy festivals. While her jewelry can be worn every day, it can also be used for more formal occasions.

“When people have a special occasion, they want something that’s really unique. I create a lot of jewelry for brides. It’s a special day for them, and they want to wear something that can become a family heirloom,” Mendez said, before describing her metalwork technique. “I do something that most people don’t do. I start with big sheets of metal and draw the shapes onto them and cut them out. So each piece is unique.”

To learn more about Even Rose Love, visit evenroselove.com or www.facebook.com/evenrose, email rosehsm@gmail.com or call 304-995-5686.