I have this giant Orchid Cactus in my studio that’s currently in full bloom. It’s overwhelmingly large and beautifully ominous, I’m actually a little afraid to turn my back on it. What if it’s not a plant and all and is really an angry carnivorous octopus? At fourteen feet in length, that speculation isn’t too far off. I’ve appropriately named it the Audrey II, and plan on offering a sacrifice in order to satiate its hunger for eating lowly jewelers.
I just finished a new necklace! This chain is made out of bone, garnet, horse hair, brass, repurposed toll tokens, and thread. It was inspired loosely by the people documented by Jimmy Nelson in his new book, Before They Pass. I really love how his photos capture the adornment worn by the various cultures that he’s visited. With this piece, and the other ones I’m currently working on, I really wanted to work in a way that was philosophically parallel to the peoples I’m drawing inspiration from. So, many of the materials are repurposed and transformed from everyday objects that I have on hand.
I recently checked out an exquisite book from the library by Dutch photographers Dos and Bertie Winkle, Vanishing Beauty: Indigenous Body Art and Decoration. It’s a compilation of photographs documenting the Winkle’s travels across five continents in an effort to capture the body art and adornment of varying cultures and tribes.
I particularly appreciated the neckpieces of the Rendille tribe of Northern Kenya. The armor-like necklaces, pictured below, were originally made of grass beads, leather, and elephant hair. Now that elephants are no longer plentiful, the pieces incorporate palm fibers instead of hair. Traditionally worn by women, these collars indicate marital status.
I really like the use of pigments, the structure, and the physical dimension of these pieces. I have more horse hair in my studio, and I can’t wait to see how these pieces inspire my upcoming work. For more information about the Rendille, you can click here.
photos: Dos and Bertie Winkle
I’ve been working on an engagement ring for a couple that I absolutely adore. When I was approached about this project, the only guidelines that I was given was to do whatever I wanted and keep the cost low. What an amazing and intimidating opportunity! What I decided to do was to take all the gold scrap I had in the studio, alloy it into an ingot, and then roll it out to a thin ribbon. I’ve riveted the ribbon with a sterling silver tube, which will eventually have a diamond set in it. I’m officially over the intimidation, and am completely in love with this ring… here’s hoping that the couple likes it too!
As I was looking into the fashion photography of Emma Summerton, I came across a story from Vogue China that’s heavily inspired by baroque styles. The waifish models used in the campaign are dressed in dark garb and heavily adorned, both aspects indicative of the baroque period…
But, there’s a decidedly modern take. Also, the adornment that the model has been styled with feature ornately fashioned gold and pearl elements that just overwhelm the image with opulence. I’ve paired three images from the photo shoot below with original design drawings of baroque jewelry. Enjoy!
I’m completely in love with this winter campaign from the December issue of Vogue Japan. The ornate prints paired with opulent furs and luxe styling makes the models look like a modern, living, matryoshka doll or Faberge egg. I’m particularly taken by the juxtaposition of colors and textures; the layering of clashing elements is sublime. All photos are by Emma Summerton, garments from D&G and Louis Vuitton.
I’ve been quietly poking around in my studio trying to reconnect with some unfinished pieces… At the same time, I’ve been hunting for inspiration and trying to shake the cobwebs out of my brain. During a recent reorganization of the odds and ends that I keep lying around, this necklace emerged… I’ll be putting it together shortly and can’t wait to see what other pieces emerge as a result of this one.