Jewelry artist uses old method with breathtaking results
Angie Pember Brockey uses a 1912 camera to capture images on semi-precious and precious stones using an early photography technique called wet plate collodion.
Angie Pember Brockey estimates she has made 400 pieces of jewelry since 2013 using the wet plate collodion technique. Her award-winning work has been shown in galleries in Oklahoma and across the U.S. Brockey’s jewelry is for sale online at etsy.com/shop/silverandglassphotog.
Angie Pember Brockey’s jewelry-making is equal parts artistry, chemistry and mystery. The Tulsan uses a 1912 camera, equipped with a lens from the late 1800s, to capture images on semi-precious and precious stones using an early photography technique called wet plate collodion. Then she delicately crafts the images into heirloom-quality pendants and rings that appear to be from a different era.
Brockey’s husband, Justin, introduced her to wet plate collodion in 2013. A hobbyist photographer, he “wanted to go back to the roots of photography,” Brockey says. That journey required him to procure antique equipment, create a dark room in their home and research the 19th-century chemical formulas needed to develop his images.
A painter and sketch artist herself, Brockey was initially less than thrilled about her husband’s expensive new interest, but she eventually agreed to try it herself. From the first time she saw her image develop on a piece of metal, called a tintype or ferrotype, she was hooked.
“When you see the chemical reaction, it’s really magical,” she says. “It gives me goosebumps every time.” Her amazement intensified a few years later when she realized she could develop images on stones like agates, which she calls agatypes.
Brockey started out using brass settings purchased online, but now she makes her own silver settings. Each piece of jewelry takes 8-10 hours to create. Most of her images are of natural objects that are easily recognizable around a neck or finger.
“It’s beauty, and it’s mystery, and it’s a little bit weird,” Brockey says of her work, “and I like it.”