Category Archives: Inspiration

Live Action Haute Mess

If you’re prone to seizures, you probably shouldn’t view this post. This past spring, my Pro Nailz knuckle dusters were featured in a Vogue Italia editorial. The article  has garnered a lot of attention for being a controversial photo shoot. The concept of saturated extravagance has been articulated through gender bending women sporting candy wrapper weaves,  cupcakes, and pounds of jewelry. This issue has been very difficult to get ahold of in the states, but I found these GIFs to share. To me, the models are combination of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and New York City club kids.

You can seem y rings being prominently displayed by the Guinevere, in the middle GIF.

Haute Mess, Abbey Lee Kershaw by Steven Meisel

 

Haute Mess, Guinevere van Seenus by Steven Meisel

 

Haute Mess, Joan Smalls by Steven Meisel

Galerie Louise Smit, Amsterdam

I’ve been saving the best for last. Out of all the galleries that I visited in The Netherlands, my favorite was Galerie Louise Smit, by far.

This Gallery, located on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterday, has been open since the mid 1980’s. Louise Smit specializes in contemporary studio jewelry, and hosts 10 solo shows in their small space while still keeping a large collection of contemporary work on permanent display. Additionally, Galerie Louise Smit publishes beautiful catalogues to accompany their solo exhibitions.
The gallery’s collection of permanent work, including pieces by Doris Betz, Seth Papac, and Edgar Filipe Silva Mosa, represents a broad perspective. The ‘result is a comprehensive and representative overview of the national and international avantgarde.’ The Gallery has a great sense of exhibition design, and really let the artists install their work in non-traditiona ways, as you can see by the photographs of Volker Atrops‘ exhibition, Immortality, below.
Also, the galleriests on hand at Louise Smit were so gracious and helpful. The gallery seemed incredibly invested in the field of Contemporary Art Jewelry, and were also very knowledgeable about their house artists.

Rings: Globes/Fragmented 2011
Boxwood, colourd glue

Necklace: Untitled 2011
Boxwood, gold, silk

Necklace: Untitled 2011

Wood from a still living taxus(Eibe/Yew)tree mother plant, silver, pariser oxid

Galerie Rob Koudijs, Amsterdam

This post is late… but, I still wanted to take the time to share some of the images and impressions of Galerie Rob Koudijs from my recent trip to Amsterdam. Galerie Rob Koudijs is located on the beautiful Elandsgracht canal, in the historic gallery district.


A small exhibition space, the gallery is laid out smartly, presenting the mostly european jewelry in a variety of manners, from conservatively placed in class cases to curating open air custom pedestals. There is also a smaller gallery section in the front of Rob Koudijs which features rotating solo shows.

From the website: The gallery specialises in contemporary art jewellery which communicates ideas, has sculptural qualities and an innovative use of materials. The gallery represents a very motivated group of jewellery artists who produce work challenging the borders of the applied and the fine arts.

As these artists come

from all corners of the globe, the latest international developments are
on display in regular solo shows and in the stock presentation of the gallery.

On display in the front gallery were some playful pieces by Felieke Van Der Leest (The End brooch pictured at right), that featured brooches, necklaces, and figures made of seed beads and repurposed plastic toys. I thought that the gallery used the color of the works that they had on display very well; the jewelry was like candies on display. I also appreciated the selection of works, as they utilized unique materials and were quite playful and experimental.

Finally, the owner/manager of Rob Koudijs was very helpful and knowledgable. I wish that I lived closer, because the upcoming shows look amazing. the Galerie will soon be showing Karen Pontoppidan, Ruudt Peters, and Mia Maljojoki: all artists that I adore!


Ruudt Peters, Lapis Prima Materia, gold, silver, copper.

Jantje Fleischhut, Thunbergia Grandfloria, gold, tourmaline, cork, resin, plastic.

Karen Pontoppidan, Boy Looking Down, silver, niello.

Galerie Ra, Amsterdam

Half way through my epic vacation, my travels have brought me to Amsterdam. I’ve found The Netherlands to be an amazing country, steeped in history, culture, and creativity. Straddling the past and the present, it seems like every corner has a plaque commemorating a historical even as well as a piece of contemporary public art. Amsterdam is also a special city because it’s home to three phenomenal jewelry galleries, Galerie Rob Koudijs, Galerie Louise Smit, and Galerie Ra. This week I’ll be visiting each of these contemporary art galleries, and will be posting images from each trip.

Last night I stopped into Galerie Ra, located east of the Dam at the bottom of Nes Street. Open since 1974, Galerie Ra specializes in contemporary jewelry, vessels, and objects. Galerie Ra also has an extensive collection of self published books, as well as catalogues from past shows and artists books.
It was great to get to see the tangible works of artists that I’ve admired for so long. I didn’t do a good job of taking photos while we were in the gallery, so I pulled a couple images off their online catalogue. I’ll be posting images from the other two galleries after I visit them, enjoy!

Julie Blyfield, brooches, patinated and painted silver.

Lisa Walker, Facet pendant, mixed media.

Ela Bauer, ring, Christal, lava, epoxy, bone, yarn, silver.

Galerie Ra interior.

Off to England

I won’t be posting much for the month of May, as I’ll be vacationing in England for a couple of weeks. In honor of my upcoming journey, I wanted to share some images from the English fashion portrait photographer Sir Cecil Beaton. Best know for his theatrical society portraits and stylized fashion photography, Beaton was not know for being a technically accurate photographer but instead focused on staging a compelling model or scene and looking for the perfect shutter-release moment.

I’ve included the images below because of their focus on the fantastical and adornment. To me, these images speak to the nature of the glitz and decadence associate with the era of the 1920’s and 30’s in London. I love the metallic, gem like quality of the sets that the women are posed in, it reminds us that electricity was just coursing through the veins of the metropolis… The women become part of their surroundings, and it’s as if these beauties are physically inside a glittering diamond!

Baba Beaton a symphony in silver

Baba Beaton, Wanda Baille Hamilton, and Lady Bridget Poullett

Miss Nancy Beaton as a shooting star

That Chain So Crazy!

Note: I’ve been working on this blog post for quite a while now, and I’m honestly not sure it’s going to make any sense, so good luck reading!

One of my favorite things about jewelry is it’s role as a communication device which turns the wearer into a billboard expressing the wearers beliefs. Traditionally, jewelry also doubles as a portable asset or an outward display of wealth.
Jewelry in excess is nothing new in the world of hip hop, think back to the iconic images of RUN DMC wearing twisted gold chains, with oversized pendants. Since they first stepped onto the scene in 1984, RUN DMC helped to create an image that has influence generations of musicians after them. It’s been over 25 years since the pioneer of hip hop artists donning opulent gold chains, diamonds, pendants, watches, and other oversized baubles and the jewelry is becoming bigger, brighter, and more expensive.

Today, chains and pendants are becoming so large that they are almost unwearable. Artists are layering them in a melee of gold and glitz. Some things haven’t changed at all, like NAS’s necklace at the right, he could have reached back in time and taken it right off of Jam Master Jay’s neck. But, some things are evolving at a rapid pace. Gone are the days of sporting a stolen Mercedes hood ornament on a chain around your neck as pendants are growing larger and encrusted in colored pave set diamonds.
I have to say that I really do appreciate this hyper-opulence that is being embraced by the hip hop culture. It’s steeped in history (from acknowledging previous hip hop and rap artists to embracing African cultures), and at the same time there is a drastic over-the-top-ness that is so obscene that I can’t do anything but to embrace it. I think that there is a silent understanding that some of these pieces are completely tongue-in-cheek, like the huge dollar sign pendant that Nigo is sporting below… It’s completely a redundant piece (joke?) that is made of money, about money.
I often find myself thinking about menswear jewelry, and what it’s role in society is. The examples in this post are just one facet of that genre.. and such an eye catching, mouth watering facet it is! For more examples of gold, diamonds, and other examples of urban jewelry, be sure to check out one of my new favorite blogs: YOU SEE THAT CHAIN?
Nigo, wearing multiple pave chains and pendants.

Pharrell, Diamond pave pendants and multiple chains.

Lil Wayne, Diamond Grill

Kanye West, Horus Necklace by Ambush

Kanye West, Eye Am Not Alone Ring by Ambush


Soulja Boy, The Work Is Yours Necklace

Soulja Boy

David LaChapelle

I’ve been away from my studio for a bit, and have been spending more time ‘doing research.’ Maybe I’m trying to justify my growing obsession with pop-culture, but I find myself recently attracted to highly saturated images and colors, high gloss, sparkly jewels, gold and diamond encrusted medallions, and just really extravagant objects and imagery. I’m not quite sure what it is about these stereotyped displays of wealth and culture that I find to enticing, but there is something about how these commercial goods and images so bluntly stroke my sensibilities and entice my inner consumer.

On a recent trip around the Internet, I came across this imaged by David LaChapelle. I have really always liked his use of hyper-saturated colors, and the high sheen that everything in his images seem to have. His subjects become plasticy objects, and everything is equalized into a glossy visual melee. Bordering on pop-grotesgue, he creates images that are visual cacophonies which seem to be suspended from time and place.

Davids imagery has the ability to transform even the classiest subject into an objectified commodity. The people in his photographs uncannily seem to lose their identity and morph into anonymous objects that could almost be mass produced.

More I WANT, I WANT, I WANT

I just came across an amazing designer, Walid Al Damirji, whose pieces interpret vintage fashions while using embroidery, fur, beaded fringe, and lace appliques.

Lately, I’ve been interested in incorporating fur components into my jewelry, and have been using old fur coats and stoles as my source material. I literally chop up vintage pieces of fur in order to have material for the jewelry that I’m making. Walid does the opposite. He doesn’t source the fur into his jewelry, but actually bejewels the fur. The resulting adornments are conglomerations of materials invoking concepts of nostalgia, opulence, and romanticism.
Be sure to check out his designs for CotureLab, which is very much in the same antique revival vein as the images below.




I WANT I WANT I WANT

So, I get all anxious and whiney and desperate when I find ingenious pieces of jewelry on the internet. I’m in a tizzy that I don’t think I can live without these smart knit pieces below. I can only justify my obsession by stating that it’s getting cold out, and jewelry that can double as outter-wear seems to be utilitarian, and therefore, I must own it!
This chain from Yokoo is so gangSTAR! I love the size, the texture, and the oddly 80’s Run DMC influence of this piece. You can visit Yokoo’s store on etsy.com, where she has tons of cool stuff available.
Another cool find on etsy.com is this knitted power cord necklace from knitknit. I love the simplicity of the piece, and how much it still resembles an actual power cord. It’s such a clever translation of a crocheted tube into something playful that just wants to get wrapped around a neck.

I really like wearable textile pieces, and I especially like it when artists incorporate age old traditions like crocheting. But sometimes crocheted elements in jewelry can look like grandmothers doilies ended up on the body… I found this set (Ok, I know it’s not technically jewelry, but I’d love to adorn myself with this Ol’ West Parure) by Inger Carina as I was browsing around for neat-o things on the internet. Inger is a Swedish textile artist, and you can see more of her amazing work at Hello Craft Lovers!

ELISE GOLDIN

A jewelery collection where the pieces bond two or more people together, to force interaction amongst the participants in a society where we are becoming increasingly void of real human interaction.


This morning I’ve been wasting time skimming the back-logs of some blogs that I like to read… when I came upon the work of Elise Goldin. Elise is a multidisciplinary designer, focusing primarily on creating artifacts and functional objects. She combines a bold aesthetic quality with unique materials to articulate her ideas. Her explorations with process, technique, and material enable her to create contemporary works that require the active involvement of the viewer.

I came across her ‘Knotted Collection,’ and clearly fell in love. She has used the laser cutting process to create smaller knotted links, then these rope like units are strung together to create wearable pieces. Her idea for this series started with the desire to physically bond two people together, therefore creating the more couture pieces pictured below. Eventually this concept evolved into a more wearable series like the chest plate pictured to the right.
I appreciate the graphic quality of her work, the knots reference old ‘how-to’ maritime diagrams. I also appreciate her ability to move beyond the smaller individual units and link the pieces together to create larger pieces that also reference historical pieces of jewelery. By moving the utilitarian into the realm of the decorative she has allowed the viewer to focus on the beauty of the alternative.