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Painting with Shadows

Creating light in the middle of the pandemic with the union of a beautiful couple.

After eloping in their driveway on May 9th, 2020, with their combined four young boys watching and participating in the ceremony and signing their Ketubah, Walker wanted to make Emily a diamond ring to serve as an engagement and wedding band for their one year anniversary.

Emily is playful, fun, and whip smart. She worked in the education department at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) when I was a college student. As her intern, I saw firsthand how she brings light and excitement to the world. We gave tours of school groups and elder hostiles and with every person in every age group, she had the distinct ability to teach them how to see and engage with the world around them. Just looking at photos of

Emily on their wedding day, you can see the joy she emits into the world. She is not just a beaming bride on her wedding day--She is a beaming bride leading a bike parade through her small town in the middle of a pandemic, trailed by flowers, laughing children, bright colors, and big cheer.

In the shadow of a Pandemic, their union created light.

Emily has a rare gift. She is able to break down the barriers inherent in fine art museums and relate the art on marble plinths and in gold frames to the viewer's life. Emily has disarming charm and the smile of a trickster--She can lead anyone on a journey to engage and connect with art and, in the end, those lucky enough to find themselves on her tours or in her educational programs are often surprised by how moved and connected they become to the art.

Being asked to create Emily's diamond ring gives me a great amount of joy. She taught me so much about enjoying and experiencing art and now a piece of my art is on her hand.


For Emily's ring, we celebrated Emily and Walker's combined family of six by using six Old Mine Cut Diamonds that graduate gently on either side. Old Mine Cut diamonds are the precursors to the modern Round Brilliant Cut Diamond. Before diamonds were cut with the help of machines that would rub the diamonds against each other to create perfect circular silhouettes, the diamonds were shaped by hand. Old Miners take on more of the original squared form of the diamond rough and have a wonky, beautiful cushion cut silhouette and have a handmade appeal we thought would resonate with Emily.

Sky Wave, Louise Nevelson Sky Wave Louise Nevelson 1964, Collection of Williams College Museum of Art
Sky Wave, Louise Nevelson 1964, Collection of Williams College Museum of Art

While this is a gift from Walker, I can't help but include a nod to something Emily taught me about art. There was a sculpture in the WCMA collection by Louise Nevelson, a sculptor who created large-scale installations using found objects to compose her assemblages. The entire work was painted a uniform matte color, which you would think would render the entire piece boring and dull, and yet every look generated new discoveries. It was through Emily that I learned the concept of "painting with shadows"--using layers to compose a dynamic composition that continues to evolve as light changes. This work came to life with shifting light, just as so many of the works in WCMA's collection came to life with Emily's tutelage.

Emily's ring paints with shadows, as do many of the pieces I create. The surface under the diamonds is textured and shadows shift as light falls directly on the gold surface or when light travels through the diamonds, creating prismatic colors along its edges.

The ring itself is delicate. The diamonds split a band of 18k recycled gold and bloom from the ring, hugged by two walls. We brought in Emily's love of texture and pattern with beads of gold creating bookends on either side of the diamonds and through the texture under the diamonds. Set against the smooth polish of the band, the ring comes to life.

Congratulations to Emily and Walker on your year of marriage. May you and your boys continue to create fun and spread joy through your celebrations of togetherness in the years to come!

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