Be good.

In the last week, we had some family in town. Some of that family is young and small. Thus, we took in a lot of family-friendly sights and activities. Twice, we ended up at an aquarium. I guess that stands to reason in San Francisco, what, with all that water. One of them was the impressive aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences. It was there that I spotted some information about coral.  Coral, as I am sure everyone knows, is often used in jewelry.  That, as the California Academy of Sciences explained, is not a good idea for our precious underwater ecosystems.  For more on this, there is this little piece from the amazing designer and all-around jewelry goddess, Temple St. Clair, whose name I only utter in hushed tones.

Declaring Coral Too Precious to Wear — by Temple St. Clair.

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

While we are at it, check out this fun, beaded play on coral!

Faux Coral Beaded Necklace with Matching Bracelet

Beaded faux coral by Threadsandpins on Etsy.

This doesn’t hurt anyone.  This is better.

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The GG Interview

Jewelry designer, GG, was kind enough to share her thoughts with us.  It’s poetry.

Enjoy the interview and feast your eyes on her incredible work available at www.ggoriginal.com.

B+C: How would you define “jewelry” to someone from another planet?

Can aesthetic communication be defined to some thing who is not “one of us?”  Beauty can be a provocation, a nuisance, for those who cannot taste it.  Didn’t the most supreme artist (the one who created human minds, so we can experience beauty, and others can’t) make it this way? Isn’t the human mind can be one of a kind?  Jewelry is a medium used for communication, from one person to another; so can this be shared with someone from another planet? Possibly yes, if they can feel what we feel. Let’s define what we can describe to them: Jewelry can enhance the wearer’s persona. It can be a statement of beauty, possibly prestige, sometimes jewelry screams, sometimes it is  quiet, sometimes it is romantic and intimate, sometimes it is provocative or funny. But jewelry can be annoying, simple, rich, and colorful, all while offering limitless experience, through its forms and pleasures.

B+C: Please describe the place where you make your creations. What do you like to keep around you for inspiration?

Every day, every place, every new friend, each single glaze, a surprised turn of head following a bright sun reflection – all is leading to new discoveries. Walking on the beach, I see the algae on the stones, dry and old. Those gigantic stones, half buried in the sand, like lost sculptures by Henry Moore, and my sad algae so alone, so nicely curved and lonely, I want to turn this feeling in to the jewelry piece. I want to cast those feelings into a silver line. There is a moment when real form, turning around an orbit which is reshaping that form, this is the moment before it ends up in the sketchbook. Composition plays in your mind, and you hear the still music of floating line playing around with the graphical challenges, a game to attain perfect balance.

For me memories, reflections, observations, experiences are priceless. My Infinite Design Studio is surrounding me everywhere, limited only by passing time.

Next, I create my work in my small space under a big Cedar tree, I believe it is Cedar but might be some other majestic, gigantic Californian beauty.

B+C: Do you have a favorite type of jewelry (e.g. ring, bracelet, necklace, etc.) to make? What is it and why?

No, not a favorite type of jewelry but the technique and type of metal I am using, at the moment, is influencing me. I look at the piece of metal and, suddenly, I know what the next project will be like. Sometimes, I feel I want to make a piece very quickly and simply, maybe brutally naive; other times it takes weeks until I see the idea and project, forming on the bench.     

B+C: What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you ever made? Where is it today, if you know?

There was one piece I did – for myself. It was a necklace and earring set made from a simple, forged, rusted iron wire. It’s an experimental set, very modern but also highly ornamental. Small, symmetrical and exposing a lack of exclusivity. I couldn’t display this set in any local gallery. The piece came about when I went to Washington D.C. and visited the Smithsonian Museum. After looking at some strange designs done by my favorite masters, I decided to experiment, myself. I did list this iron set on a jewelry auction, almost as a test. My necklace was sold and to a person from New York, who also purchased a piece by Art Smith on the same day. I do not know who it was, as they were an unlisted “private” buyer, but I realized that even my most crazy and unique creation should be presented to others. Otherwise they cannot come “alive.”

B+C: What is your favorite technique to use in your jewelry making and why?

I love to experiment. Sometimes I work with a simple wire for months, later switching to a torch and kiln, but mainly I look for a melody of the piece. The line composition, emotion, or drama and story behind the piece – some aspect that adds a unique value – which can happen despite the technique I use.

Design is about discoveries. Forging metal is transferring energy and power from the metal into my final piece. So the design is constantly interacting with the metal, searching for its physical limit. Sculpting and casting gives me control over my projected vision, it is much like painting a landscape. I feel all the techniques I use are one of a kind and I enjoy them all.

B+C: What theme or vision do you feel that your line reflects?

I have multiple lines (styles) and multiple “personalities” in my work, but, generally, I classify them into 3 groups: Organic, Modern and Ornamental.

Pieces done with forging, usually have a modern flavor, but often I add organic details or finishes to them. I feel that sculpting shows more organic motives, and the historical knowledge of old artists, I find it so intriguing. I sometimes follow the melody of the old masters to develop pieces which end up in the Ornamental line.

B+C: Do you have a favorite jewelry designer? Who is it and what do you like about his or her work?

Yes, many! Not one, but hundreds.  I believe that an awareness of the work of past masters, the knowledge of beauty and innovation of the past, is important to new design styles in any media.

In many of my designs, I hope to reach the contemporary human mind with a modern vision of past beauty. I love art, as I believe that knowledge and appreciation of extraordinary old trends guide and strengthens new creations.

To express what I value the most, I will choose as an example work by Art Smith, Margaret De Patta and René Lalique. The first two are Modernists, while Lalique is an Art Nouveau Master. They each have very different styles, but their work shares the most important and priceless value – it is built upon an Artistic Idea.

B+C: If you could go back in time and observe a specific jewelry making technique (e.g. cloisonné, casting, etc.), done at a particular place and time in history, what would it be and why?

I am currently interested in anti-clasting, synclastic techniques. Forms created in this specific style are so beautiful and so honest. I hope to collect all the necessary tools (sinusoidal stake, specific hammers), soon. Right now I still don’t have these in my studio. There are a few metal smith masters whom I admire, and I wish to be able to join their studios for an internship.

B+C: Predictions? Plans? Are there future projects, shows, or sales that you would like to share with us?

Contemporary jewelry creators should be searching for new styles, new visions. My challenge is, not only, to make more “new” rings or necklaces, but constantly update. Jewelry trends should influence others. Jewelry trends should help to create new and different lines of clothing. I look to jewelry to add a new shine on our futuristic silhouette.

 This week I started a new website to document of my past and recent work. I will be looking to network with clothing and product designers in order to cooperate on development of new styles. I am hoping to find more friends and clients ( on Etsy, at shows, in galleries, via web and this blog) who are share these same passions.

Yours, GG

 

 

The Mark Poulin Interview!

Hello Readers:

The very talented and prolific jewelry designer, Mark Poulin, kindly agreed to answer some (slightly odd) questions for Bread and Cake.  I think you’ll enjoy this window into his jewelry-designing mind.  His work can be found in his Etsy store and on his website.

Enjoy!

B + C: How would you define “jewelry” to someone from another planet?

Jewelry is an object we wear on our bodies as an adornment, it can range from the simple and understated to the flashy and attention grabbing. The wearer uses this as an extension of his or her fashion sense and an as expression of their personality.

Jewelry satisfies so many of an earthlings needs. First off, so many of us have a need to collect, and with so many styles of jewelry it is easily collectible. Also we earthlings are a sentimental bunch and jewelry can mark so many of our occasions from our births to our weddings to our deaths. Jewelry also gives us a sense of style and allows us to express our personal taste and sometimes flaunt our status. There are some of us that wear the same jewelry every day of our lives and others who change it multiple times a day.

B + C: Please describe the place where you make your creations. What do you like to keep around you for inspiration?

I love my West Oakland workshop. It has the space to spread out. Separate places for soldering, polishing, enameling, photographing, designing, and for my piles of unfinished projects. All I really need for inspiration is a good sound track and a sketchbook.

 B + C: Do you have a favorite type of jewelry (e.g. ring, bracelet, necklace, etc.) to make? What is it and why?

 I love rings. I really love rings. Even though I’m known more for making necklaces, there is something about rings that fascinates me. They seem to carry an intimacy with them.

B + C: What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you ever made? Where is it today, if you know?

The first ring I ever made. I still have it. It was a simple cut out of hammers and nails on a wide band.

B + C: What is your favorite technique to use in your jewelry making and why?

I just love enameling. Fusing glass to metal will always amaze me, as will the possibilities that that can produce. I think this passion comes from all the years I worked as a ceramicist, clay and glaze, enamel and metal.

B + C: What theme or vision do you feel that your line reflects?

I feel like I’m trend based, but not in a shopping mall kind of way, rather in an underground crafty kind of way. I appeal to the people who like quirky. Everything I make is a little off kilter, made to steal hearts like an old dog at the pound you just have to take home and love. I am that little bridge between the cartoon world and the jewelry world.

B + C: Do you have a favorite jewelry designer?  Who is it and what do you like about his or her work?

I’m more inspired by illustrators and painters than jewelers. Right now I’m obsessed with Deth P Sun and with Luke Chueh. In my opinion both painters have elevated a cartoon style to a higher art. Both are prolific and draw all the time. Both are very down to earth.

B + C: Predictions? Plans? Are there future projects, shows, or sales that you would like to share with us?

I’m excited about 2012. I’ll be releasing ten new sterling silver mother and daughter charm sets, a new cartoon glass jewelry line. I’m really expanding my pure-modern jewelry shapes and adding some exciting color combinations. I’m also drawing some images for a puzzle company geared towards kids. That should keep me busy.