Northshore Magazine

April 2016

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Cassandra Mae Harris loves vintage flatware. So deep is her fondness for it, she has made a business of molding it into inspired pieces of custom jewelry. Inside her rustic little Ipswich workshop, she designs and draws and cuts and hammers and polishes her days away. With a view of her family's Christmas tree farm out back, Harris surrounds herself with sterling silver, dried herbs, warm woods, and soft lights—a magical little nest in which to get creative. And that she does. It was in 2013 that Harris made her first spoon ring. She had just turned 21 and had been collect- ing sterling silver spoons, with a particular penchant for pieces by Towle Silversmiths—Newbury- port's own. Fortuitously, her fa- ther had been saving a gift for her to be given on her 21st birthday. In fact, he had been saving it since he was 14 years old, at which time he thought: Should I ever have a daughter, this will be hers. It was a cuff with a turquoise stone…by Towle. It seems Not So Flatware by Cassandra Mae was preordained. For her first real attempt, she visited Todd Farm, bought seven spoons, and went home to try her hand at ring making. Only two of the spoons resembled rings in the end; the others broke in the process be- cause her tools were so rudimentary. "I didn't have any tools; I was trying to figure out, sizewise, what would fit my sister's finger. I had socket wrenches, which I used to [pound them into shape]." She laughs think- ing of her older pieces, describing them as octangular-shaped. Today, she prides herself on how round and smooth she is able to make her rings—thanks to her custom- designed tools, which she refers to as her "secret." Tired of wrestling with wrenches, she drew a sketch of what she needed. "I couldn't find anything online that was what I wanted," she recalls. So she passed the drawing on to her fiancé (conveniently, a machinist), who made just what she was after. And Not So Flatware was off and running. Harris hand-cuts and hammers each ring—in fact, she does every- thing by hand. "I draw everything out with a Sharpie and just start cre- ating things." At times, with very old pieces, she has to apply heat to get them to be pliable, but generally she just bends them into shape. And, she adds: "I polish to an extreme— I don't want any burrs. I am very particular about them being soft." Not long ago, she moved into making cuffs, then pendants—many of which are fish-themed. She was Harris's workshop is warm, tasteful, and brimming with vintage spoons. 60 | APRIL 2016 nshoremag.com

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