Ancient Wisdom

I’m like a ferret.  Dangle a shiny thing in front of me and you have my attention.  It could be a button or it could be a diamond.  It doesn’t really matter.  I have numerous childhood memories of rifling through sewing boxes, old jewelry boxes in attics, or long-forgotten purses under beds. All in search of something that might adorn.  Strung on a string or wrapped around a wrist.  Anything might be possible.  I spent a good deal of time in the care of other people as a kid and letting me search for treasure (read: junk) was the way to engage me.  Looking back, engaging me might not have otherwise been the easiest thing to accomplish.

In my personal psychology, the drive for things of adornment might have been about a lot of things.  A creative outlet or even a way to bond with women who were not my mother but nonetheless my temporary caregivers.  But, I think we all know the desire to create and wear jewelry is not unique to me or our time.

A brief search of Ebay easily bring up items such as these:

While I cannot verify the authenticity of any of these items, I have no reason to doubt it.  Of course, there are places all over the world that buy and sell antiquities and, certainly, sometimes those items are jewelry.  For me, setting aside the flat-out weirdness of being able to buy, from Ebay, the personal item of someone who died centuries ago, it is interesting to connect with the idea of adornment as simply a human thing that refuses to be defined by time or place.  It is just something we do and, seemingly, something we have always done.

For more on this topic, check this out:

Egyptians Created Jewelry From Meteorites

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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

 

 

“There’s a certain shade of limelight …”

(Extra credit to anyone who can name the movie from which I took this post’s title.)

When I first got engaged, I would come home and report in what light my ring looked best.  I experimented for a while but, as it turns out, it was the elevator in the building where I was working at the time.  It had that low-bright light of a good jewelry store.

The memory of my early engagement got me thinking about jewelry photography.  While I am sure that there are people who specialize in photographing jewelry, I am not informed in that regard.  So, I will have to leave the topic of famous jewelry photographers for another day.  Instead, I would like to talk about some of the things I like to see in photos designed to sell jewelry — the information I think the pictures should impart.

As the pictures below make clear, I think jewelry should be modeled on a person.  As I have mentioned, as far as I am concerned, the fact that it is worn is what makes jewelry a special art form.  It is an extension of the human body like nothing else.  Secondly, when photographed on a person, the jewelry’s scale and proportion becomes clear.  Of course, the up close, magnified shots are useful to show quality and I understand why jewelry designers take them — it is damn hard to make a piece of jewelry and one wants to the show the detail.  But, at the end of the day, that is not how we truly experience jewelry.  We experience it on people and in the world.  Movement.  Light.

Silver Custom Initial Ring by Soo on Etsy.
English Rain Necklace by Sarah Rock on Etsy

The Year of the Dragon

The Chinese New Year was on January 23, 2012.  This year is powerful in the Chinese zodiac — the year of the Dragon.  In honor of this, I went on a hunt for an elusive beast — tasteful dragon-themed jewelry.  Fortunately, I am happy to report that it exists!

So, to all my dear Dragon friends, Happy New Year — make it a great one!

Beautiful Music

I can’t take much credit for uncovering the gorgeous work of Loek Sia in her Etsy store, Minicyn.  The good folks at Etsy were clever enough to make her the featured seller this week.

Loek Sia’s pieces are unique and reflect a special vision but it is the stamped designs on her pieces that really got my attention.  If you could see music, it would be like that.  The patterns that Loek Sia stamps into her work are abstract, well-balanced, and suggest an unspoken meaning — like a beautiful melody.


A Diverse Vision

Artists, Gil and Irena Tsafrir, have used their respective skills to create a beautifully varied and diverse line of jewelry. Their line, which is available in the Etsy store, zulasurfing, is full of unusual ideas — it is fun, bold line.

Don’t Forget Valentine’s Day!

Hearts?  Um, no, not usually.  It is a perfectly lovely shape but it does not normally speak to me from a design perspective.  However, Sandra Russell took the heart and made it her own by turning it, elongating it, and adding texture and pattern.

Perhaps, the more common the shape, the bigger the challenge it is to breathe new life into it.  Sandra has managed it with the heart.  Her designs are dynamic and eye-catching and wearable.  The great pieces featured here and more are available in her Etsy store, slradornments.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day.