“I am a Metalsmith, Story Teller and maker of fine objects”

Danielle James received her BFA in metal design from Millersville University and is currently seeking her Masters in metal design at East Carolina University. A Delawarean by birth; she finds influence in the gritty details of life in motion, using impromptu highway adventures to forgotten towns in America as the vehicle (pun intended) in which the work comes to life, through the wearer.

My process goes something like this:

  • 1) Take a long meandering drive without using GPS, preferably with the gas gauge low.
  • 2) Get lost.
  • 3) Notice what you notice.
  • 4) Take what you see decipher it via the brain.
  • 5) Then finally, try to distill that down to something wearable so the experience that I had lives on adorning the finger, chest, ear, wrist etc.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I often get asked why metal? Why can’t you paint or print these experiences? I think I prefer metal (most often steel) because of its blue-collar history, and for the role it played in creating the country I am exploring, these towns were only forgotten after manufacturing stopped being our economical backbone, so it makes sense that these vestiges be made of metal.


For the moment Danielle makes her home in Greenville, NC with her cat Princess Zelda. Most recently showing work at The North Carolina Museum of Art, The Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery, and the Houston Museum of Art. She is a RAWphilly 2012 finalist, a featured artist on Crafthaus.ning.com and finally the 2013 Chair of the East Carolina Universities Metal Symposium Material Topics “Making Marks”.

The series “Mile Marker” lives between the starting line and the finish line. In my work I often think about how the retelling of my stories, and the reconstruction of my journey, helps me to make sense of the present. Displaced elements indicative of the American landscape are displayed on the neck, hand, or chest.

This work records not only physical locations but also psychological and emotional spaces. Negotiating routes, mapping experiences, making choices at a crossroads are all part of seeking purpose not destination. Joining destination with journey. This work serves as a metaphor for searching, an implication of the unknown in wide-open spaces, and traces how we see where we’ve been and where we are going.



This bad boy is the newest edition to the “Mile Marker” series! 100% hand fabricated, high polished brass on a gun metal steel chain, now available here at Tellus360 with a variety of matching handmade earrings!