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Lil McKinnon-Hicks

Metal / Gretna, LA

Artist Statement

All my jewelry is made by hand, the way jewelry has been crafted since the earliest days of civilization. Every piece starts out as either an ingot of gold or else a sterling silver sheet or wire, then goes wherever my fancy takes me. Often embellished with pearls, gemstones or enamel, each piece is different and one-of-a-kind.

Working with my hands – carefully, meticulously on such small-scale and detailed pieces – brings me great joy. My focus and immersion in learning and exploring so many aspects of the craft have been a rich and rewarding experience. Each new technique and skill mastered opens a door to yet another means of expression or artistic endeavor to be considered. The possibilities are endless, and they excite me.

I hope that my jewelry, through its varied shapes, textures and colors, connects with you – causes you to pause, lean in, and look a second time. As you do, may you realize that each piece is unique, yet with one thing in common:

Whether you choose to wear them for a single season or several generations, they’re to be worn, lived in, and delighted in every time you put them on.

Biography

It took Lil McKinnon-Hicks nearly twenty years to trade her typewriter for torches, to evolve from a career publicizing arts groups into a new one creating artisan jewelry on her own, setting up shop, first in a tumbledown warehouse alongside an abandoned railroad in Mississippi, and most recently in a deserted corner grocery along the River in New Orleans.

Today, her custom jewelry is worn by presidents and premiers around the globe. Given as 'gifts of state' from Mississippi’s governors to world luminaries from sovereign leaders to such iconic celebrities as blues legend B.B. King, her work regularly acts as an informal envoy for the Magnolia State’s arts community.

Not content to be pigeonholed as any specific category of jewelry artist, her designs range across a freewheeling spectrum of genres, from playful 'found art' utilizing reconsidered everyday objects to the painstaking intricacies and discipline of classic Russian filigree. Pieces featuring her colorful kiln-fired enamels, precious stones, silver and pearls have become staples in upscale galleries and museum shops across the American South.

Recognized as a Master Artist by the Southern Arts Federation and the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi, as well as a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Lil McKinnon-Hicks’ matchless hybrids of New Age ideas with Old World techniques is earning her a reputation as an emerging headliner in regional artisan circles.

Lil and her husband, novelist Steven Wells Hicks, now make their home in the Algiers Point historic district of New Orleans.