Category Archives: Articles

An Interview with Providence Monthly

I recently sat down with Elyena de Giguel for a chat that was featured in the most recent issue of Providence Monthly Magazine.

Sometimes being a jeweler means that you’re leading a solitary practice, sequestered in your studio without much creative input our output. So, it was a great change of pace to be able to dust off my archive of work and look back into the evolution of what I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. Over the course of a bottle of wine, we talked about my studio practice, jewelry as an art form, my work at the Steel Yard, and more. Check out the full article here.

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An Interview With Winter Moon

I was recently visited in my studio by Olivia from Winter Moon Blog for an Islay Taylor Winter Moon Interviewinterview. Olivia and I chatted about jewelry, design, and what I’ve been making as of late. Here are a couple of my favorite questions that Olivia asked me:

How does an idea become a piece of Jewelry?

“For me, it’s a process of day dreaming, sketching, building, messing up, remaking, finishing, and then putting it on! There isn’t a step-by-step route to transform an idea to a piece of artwork, I find that good ideas just sort of take root and grow into finished products all by themselves.”

tell us about your studio and what you’ve chosen to surround yourself with.

“It’s really important for a studio space to not only function well, but to also be a place that you want spend time in. Our studio is very functional and comfortable, and reflects what each of us is currently working on. There are a ton of tools, machines and materials, but there’s also a common space and lounge area. Frequently, we’ll gather together to share wine and food, talk about art, and then begin collaboratively making new pieces together. Our studio is very fertile!”

As always, Olivia was lovely and we have a really great conversation. It’s always interesting to hear about your interests and goals through another persons filter. To get inside my studio and my head, you can read the full interview here.

Winter Moon Islay TaylorPhoto taken by Olivia Mansion.

Chromophilia Reviewed!

I’m excited to have Chromophilia get a review in one of our local papers, The Providence Phoenix. The article, by Greg Cook, highlights some of the work in the exhibition and touches upon the aesthetic of the show. Personally, I’m always so glad to have contemporary art jewelry written about, because it hardly ever happens and I appreciate that critics are willing to learn about this emerging field and present it to a larger audience. I’ve posted Greg’s review below, or you can read it here.

Review: ’10 Most Endangered Properties,’ plus ‘Chromophilia’

The title of the “Chromophilia” exhibit at Craftland (235 Westminster Street, Providence, through October 10) focuses our attention on the bright colors of contemporary studio jewelry, which follows the 1980s revival — a la American Apparel — throughout fashion. But the bigger trend that curators Devienna Anggraini and Islay Taylor identify is a Post-Modern, catholic use of a wide variety of non-precious materials.

Mike & Maaike, a San Francisco studio led by Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers, fashion flat leather necklaces and broaches based on pixilated photos of famous jewelry (Daisy Fellowe’s “Tutti Frutti” necklace, Imelda Marcos’s ruby necklace, the Hope Diamond) found via Google image searches. Mariana Acosta Contreras of Providence strings folded leather into scarf-like necklaces resembling strands of flowers or shelf mushrooms. They often have a neutral main color (gray, white) with bright hues (reds, greens) flaring from inside folds.

Islay Taylor of Providence crochets webs of thread to hold cascading strands of orange and red beads. San Francisco’s Emiko Oye turns Legos into bright, blocky, fun bracelets. One cheekily puns on Mondrian’s blocky early 20th-century abstractions. RISD-trained Jimin Park’s broaches look as if she’s fashioned bits of metal and fluorescent plastic junk she picked up off the street into Post-Modern tribal talismans. Oye and Park’s work highlights a distinguishing characteristic of this jewelry: a spirit of play.

SO Rhode Island Interview!

I was recently interviewed for what I thought was going to be a short side-bar piece about myself and my role as Gallery Director at Hera Gallery… However, when I picked up the latest issue of SO Rhode Island Magazine, a local Arts & Entertainment Monthly, I was surprised to see a full page portrait of myself smiling (awkwardly) back at me.
Despite the intimidating full page photo, the writing is very generous and references some of my aesthetic philosophies, inspirations, and recent works. They also make note of Chromophilia, which was a great free plug for that show. I’m pretty flattered to have been featured in this months paper, and really appreciate the opportunity to talk about the artistic interests that I’m involved in.

Click on the photo above to enlarge the image and read the article.

Art New England Article

There’s a really interesting article in this issue of Art New England about the Providence art scene written by Doug Norris. Doug is a wonderfully observant art writer who primarily reviews for the South County Independent, and freelances for national publications as well.

In Providence: The Artists’ Nest, Doug describes the Providence art-scene as a incubator focusing on experimentation, collaboration, and community. This mentality is particularly fostered by the local artist run organizations such as AS220 and The Hive Archive. He also elaborates on Providences thriving anti-establishment art subcultures; artist developed micro-communities built around performances, parties, live music, daily creation, and shared spaces that emphasized the collective nature of making things. An example of this would be Fort Thunder. Fort Thunder refers to an illegally artist occupied warehouse which has recently been developed into gentrified condo space. With the eviction of the artists, Fort Thunder has come to describe a group of people (artists, makers, musicians) tied together by their beliefs and interests, but with out a tangible locale. Exhibitions and events are stages across the city in warehouse, peoples apartments, or unoccupied loading docks (which I’ve seen temporarily transformed into elaborate stages for plays), information about which is spread the old fashioned way by word of mouth and screen printed posters. One last local organization that the article mentioned is the Dirt Palace, a feminist collective operating out of a re-purposed Library building. The Dirt Palace is a space that promotes personal growth for individuals, and an environment conducive to challenging thoughts and radical actions.

Despite it’s gritty appearance, Providence proves to be a ripe locale for embracing and facilitating creative natures. There are so many unique facets to Providences art scene that it’s difficult to distinguish or separate these elements. It’s this influence and contamination of one genera to the next that I’ve always found so appealing about this town. Providence really does makes it easy to be a creator, people support one another and businesses actually cater to artists.

Be sure to check out the article below by clicking on the images to enlarge them to a readable size. You’ll also note that I’ve been quoted in this article a lot! I’m excited to have been able to contribute to such an honest, historical, and observant portrait of the city that I live and work in.




Paris, je t’aime. Not.

So, today I got an email from my Father about a news story that he had heard recently about love padlocks. After scouring the internet, I found an article about the padlocks of love that have been collected on the railings of the Pont des Arts, above the Seine River in Paris. Sadly, Parisian municipal authorities cut off a large portion of the locks late on Wednesday night. According to the Reuters article, tourists and locals were baffled as to why the authorities would want to ruin romance in a city whose reputation as a haven for lovers is a huge draw for visitors from around the world. Only a small number of locks have survived the cull, but since Wednesday some new ones have been put up too. It seems that sentimental love and emotional contagion will overrule the authorities desire for bare railings.

Emily Miranda

I just got a text from a friend, who came across an article from the New York Times featuring the jewelry of Emily Miranda. The text was a picture of the full article, which I’ve posted below. I’m always ecstatic to see jewelers and fine art jewelry featured in the media, as it’s a good way to inform the public about handmade jewelry. This piece of jewelry directly references Henri Matisse’s later series of paintings, whose bold shapes and colors I have always been attracted to. The necklace is created from highly polished brass, and is super-opulent looking. I love the non-symmetrical design, and the way it fills the body space. This work is also reminiscent of the jewelry pieces that Alexander Calder made, utilizing the same nontraditional linkage systems, bold shapes, and sense of movement.

If you click on the image below, it should open larger so that you can actually read the article…

Poor Jewelry Design

I recently came across an interesting article about young contemporary jewelry on DesignBoom. The article, Poor Jewelry Design, focuses on avant garde jewelers who are more concerned with creating objects that communicate issues of value, history, status, or material connotations than following dictums established by previous jewelers. Although I have a problem with the title of the article, the article is a good summary of current investigations in the field. For me, the use of the word ‘poor’ to articulate the work is a tad belittling. Considering the value of the content associated with the work, allowing the material value to dictate the worth is a reiteration on a stale concept of value.

The text from the article is posted below, enjoy! Be sure to follow the link to the article to see more examples of contemporary jewelry.

the struggle of precious with non-precious materials is typical of recent years and has prepared a new way for ‘young contemporary jewelry’. neither preciousness nor eternal preservation seems to be important to this new breed of arty accessories – with its value lying in its communicative potential. within the young international jewelry scene, the new arrangement of everyday materials is a sovereign one and provides pieces with a lively expression. in the middle of the 20th century, a large part of society consisted of middle class people, conservative in their taste and whose ideals were very strong and
deeply-rooted, a society little inclined to change its lifestyle or its symbols. jewelry was often viewed as an emblematic
gesture, a sound investment that could be passed down through generations.

there was, however, another part of society ready for renovation. industry and fashion have changed the approach to jewelry by removing its symbolic and ancestral value. in a society, where great importance is given to superficiality, jewelry has been deprived of any cultural value thus limiting its understanding and consequently its distribution. in this context, the pioneers of the contemporary scene, albeit with some difficulty, had a fertile ground to work on.

does it represent what it did in the recent past? when economy is stagnant, it is obvious that contemporary jewelry is faced with a very difficult challenge. it seems to be a restricted matter, among a rather small group of people and moves in a limited market, for many reasons including the fact that it does not shift a large sums of money. however, it seems the role of jewelry nowadays is not determined by whether the field is restricted, but whether the designers will be able to maintain and develop this specific sector.
often people do not understand why something so minimal and simple, made from materials such as used material, silicone, plastic, glass, and paper should be so ‘expensive’. for most people, ‘contemporary’ and ‘the use of poor materials’ is
equivalent to economic.

so what makes some things valuable and others not? these contemporary accessories are made of innovation and artistic research. a piece of jewelry is not merely a decorative ornament; it usually has a meaning, which might be a celebration of something, or a loss, it might be very personal,
but these meanings can also be universal, recognizable in today’s society. the rigorous monumentality of ‘poor jewelry’ comes alive when it is worn, when the tactile pleasure of the alt
ernative materials comes into play. in the research of innovative materials, the here featured artists’ work is characterized by an empirical approach – solutions are found by direct experimentation.

Images: Hild Dedecker, organic ring; Constanze Schreiber, ornament and crime necklace; Rai Lie, thin ring; and Gesine Hackenberg, necklaces.

New Metalsmith Magazine!

I just found the newest issue of Metalsmith tucked between junk mail and grocery store circulars that were jammed into my mailbox. The magazine seems to be the proverbial diamond in the rough! I’m pretty excited to read the feature article: Objects of Remembrance: Contemporary Mourning Jewelry by Marjorie Simon. ‘Today, as in the past, jewelry proves to be a potent means of tangible solace for those enduring loss and grief.‘ With a teaser like that, how could I not be excited! I’ll post more after I actually read the article…

Auction Bling

I just came across a slide show from the New York Times Online featuring jewelry and jewels that have recently sold at auction.  Basically, it’s a gratuitous menagerie of baubles.  Surprisingly, many of the items were auctioned off at three to for times their anticipated value.  

My favorite item in the slide show is this Cartier art-deco travel clock made of deep green jade.  The face and handle are gold highlighted with black enamel.  I’d probably stop hitting the snooze button for an hour straight, if I was being woken up by a $14,000 clock!