First Friday Art Walkers ought to consider stopping in at Daunis Fine Jewelry on upper Congress Street to check out the leading edge of the Portland jewelry scene.

Daunis hosts an exhibition, “Driving Culture,” that includes a mix of work made by members of the Portland-based Metal Heads Redux Collaborative. Holly L. Gooch, a 2008 Maine College of Art graduate in metalsmithing, curated the exhibition. She is a member of the collaborative and a Daunis employee.

Gooch timed the show to coincide with the Craft Organization Development Association international conference, scheduled from June 8-11 in Portland.

The exhibition exposes the diversity of the collective’s membership, she said.

“I wanted to show some of the jewelry and jewelry-art that is being made here in Maine. Some of it is traditional and some of it is more edgy,” Gooch said.

“There are just so many people making great work around here that just doesn’t get into shows. I think it’s important to get this work in front of people so they can see the breadth of what is going on in jewelry in Portland.”

Artists in the show include:

• Naomi McNeil, who makes butterfly-like torso clamps from gold, silver and steel. When removed, the clamps leave markings on the skin.

• Michael Hofheimer, who creates traditional jewelry with sea themes. He is best known for his work at Sandpiper Jewelry Gallery in South Portland.

• Ivy Derderian, who displays a book she created based on a story about a sentient Linotype printing press. Derderian, who works with master printer David Wolfe, printed her book on a similar press, and surrounded it with copper hollow-form sculptures with block letters floating from them.

• Josh Dallaire, who created miniature colored-pencil renderings of gemstones.

• Gooch, who adorns a heart set made with fresh beef and garnets.

• Patricia Daunis, who displays a necklace made from a 331/3-RPM vinyl LP and set with rubies, sugalite and turquoise. It was created to celebrate a client’s 331/3-year anniversary. She also shows a white gold necklace set with scarlet Dove Chocolate wrappers, reflecting a client’s college colors.

Daunis has operated her business for almost 30 years, and has become one of Maine’s best-known designers. While some of the work in “Driving Culture” represents the outer edge of jewelry and metalsmithing, she said it reflects the kind of work that many people are accomplishing in Portland and across Maine.

“I like to think of the art of jewelry as opposed to just wearing something. That has always been our premise,” said Daunis, who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and taught jewelry design at Boston University for several years.

“We’re capable of craftsmanship and quality, but have the eyes of artists,” she said. “We see the form as it looks on the person, and we like to make things specifically for individuals.

“When I design something, I like to know the person’s lifestyle. I want to know how they are going to wear it. I view jewelry as site-specific sculpture.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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