4) The Exhibition

Kellie is the love of my life and the woman I am about to marry. She is incredible in so many ways. I wanted to propose to her in some special way and to create a special moment and the only way I thought I could accomplish this was though the element of surprise. I being an architect and artist wanted to do something creative. Kell is very difficult to try and pull one over on, and the upcoming engagement was no surprise. We have been looking at engagement settings and talked about marriage for some time now. I had no idea what I could do to creatively surprise Kellie.

One Saturday I was walking to get a coffee in our town of Mt. Lebanon, PA and decided to pop into one of the local art galleries which was open. I befriended art gallery owner, Steve Denenberg. We started talking and some how or another the conversation turned to my relationship. He said "so when is the proposal?" I said, "funny enough, I just ordered the ring yesterday." I thought of doing an exhibition, but of what? Kellie was leaving town in 1 week for 3 days. This was my only window of opportunity to create this piece. Steve had given me the green light to come up with something to put into the gallery. I still wasn’t sure what it was going to be. My typical medium is painting, but I have modeled in the past throughout school.

Meanwhile, I have ordered the setting, but the family friend from whom I was getting the center diamond through was on her very own honeymoon. I had to place the order and do it soon. First she sent me brilliant cuts when we were looking for princess cuts. Then her buyer couldn’t find any princess cuts. We finally found the absolute perfect diamond for her ring ever, but it was being shipped from Belgium!

I decided to do a shadow sculpture out of plastic silverware. WOW! there I said it. My exhibition was going to be a sculpture created entirely of plastic cutlery, fashioned together by hot glue. I got the idea after looking at case studies by Tim Noble and Sue Webster who professionally create amazing life-like shadow sculptures. A light source projected through the sculpture onto a flat perpendicular surface casts a strategically placed shadow . Until the light is turned on it will look like a pile of rubbish. Within three days I had stealthfully taken profile pictures of each other and composed an image for which I was going to turn into a slide. You have no idea how difficult it is to find someone who can make a slide within 24 hours do you? Anyway, between calling people from the north side all the way to west Virginia I finally found someone. I found my projector and I found my side kick Anthony who I have to give the respected credit too. Without his assistance this would have never been able to take place.  I went through 2 projectors, 2 projector bulbs, and bought Walmart out of plastic silverware.

The event was to take place on First Friday when all of the art galleries are open late to the general public and many serve wine and cheese and listen to the band play out on the street. Create A Frame Hand Craft art gallery was our last stop which is where the sculpture was already set up. I received the diamond in the mail Thursday afternoon. Luckily I had found someone who could set the ring in mere hours on Friday the day of the proposal. Steve had a special bottle of wine and a camera waiting for us there. He captured a few great pictures during the proposal. The look on Kellie’s face I believe tells the story.  

Please view the pictures of the sculpture and us on our special day:

Proposal Story by:

Jonathan Nickovich

Pittsburgh, PA


The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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