Smashing Color

with Maggie Maggio

Serpentine Gothic

Last week I mailed off four pieces for the upcoming “(in) Organic” show at the Racine Art Museum. Here’s one of the pieces along with a short story describing how it came to be.

I was planning on making a loop on loop collar. I had it all sketched out at full scale. I made an 8′ long pinched snake and laid it out alongside the sketch. As I bent the snake into the tight curves that I needed for the loops I started to think that they reminded me of Gothic stone tracery. So I took it in that direction instead.

20130406_Ely_Cathedral_01Serpentine Gothic

I have to admit that I’m thrilled by this accidental discovery. It combines my fascination with serpentine forms and my architectural background in a way that I never could have come up with in my head or even my sketchbooks.  It wasn’t until I saw it coming together before me on the table that the ah-ha moment came.

I played with a number of variations along the way. Little by little the colors shifted to almost neutral, the curves became more regular and the clasp less complicated.

MaggioRAMGothic2I didn’t like the first four drafts. The final piece ended up a golden stone color and close to symmetrical.

Isn’t it amazing how the best ideas arrive from unexpected directions and bonk you on the head! I can’t wait to start exploring the idea of stone tracery more when I get back to the studio in November.

(in)Organic Gallery Guide
Wikipedia on Gothic Tracery
Photo Credit


  1. Oh wow, Maggie! This big bold direction really suits you. Love this piece. And thanks for showing the inspiration–really resonates.

  2. Great word smithing, too. I love serpentine gothic.

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