Ben Dory

"I'm always looking at micro imagery of cells and surfaces—limitless variations of organic texture and form that are at the core of my inspiration."

Ben Dory is fascinated with the spatial aspects of granulation, an ancient technique where small, primarily gold spheres are fused together using a torch or kiln. How do spheres of various sizes fit together and form simple, repeatable structures? The geometric concept of ‘kissing numbers’ informs Dory’s approach to granulation. This term refers to the greatest number of identically sized spheres that can touch, or kiss, a common sphere simultaneously without overlapping. As the spheres nest together in this state, patterns begin to emerge and larger shapes take form. Through the deft manipulation of stainless steel spherical granules, Dory works dimensionally to create the layers of texture that characterize his jewelry pieces. As he explores the possibilities, his style shifts from scientific and molecular to emotive and ornate.

Dory uses specific types of machines to micro-weld each stainless granule. With a tiny silver vacuum, he picks up, places, and welds the granules one by one.

Ben Dory completed his BFA in Design at the University of Kansas in 2007 and received an MFA in metals from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2014. In this time and afterwards, craft schools like the Penland School of Craft played a central role in his development as an artist and jeweler. Around 2018 Dory developed his processes for stainless granulation in his studio in Savannah, GA.