Today I made my first Etsy Treasury. I know, I know, I am behind the times on that front, but I thought I would share it anyway.
Today I made my first Etsy Treasury. I know, I know, I am behind the times on that front, but I thought I would share it anyway.
I am over the moon about the work of Ana Hagopian at that moment, found via a tweet by @amalucky. I do love the power of social media.
Ana Hagopian is a jeweler originally trained in Buenos Aires, now working in Spain. Her materials of choice are recycled paper and textiles. Her style is self described as giving the illusion of the natural world.
I think they are certainly that and more. The jewelry shown on her website clearly does depict nature, such as the amaryllis necklace below, but her choice of colors, textures and methods imbues her pieces with a cheerful celebratory feeling. Some pieces remind me of garlands and streamers of a carnival, a summer day in a meadow, Mexican paper flowers, or merely a sweet garden party. Other pieces are more serious in style, like her necklaces of stands of various colored metallic disks, but these too have a richness and luxury that would make any wearer feel pampered happy.
As regular readers will know, I can be a bit of a beading snob, but in my research for blogging over at Craft Gossip, I have come across two jewelers recently who have proven my previous notions of beading totally and utterly wrong. As the exciting this is that they work is very different styles, proving that there are many many ways to create truly artistic and creative pieces in a field of jewelry design which is normally relegated to craft and hobby work.
The first is Laura McCabe, who makes the most intricate and baroque beaded jewels which she describes as:
Elaborately beaded body adornment that combines Native American, African Zulu, and Victorian beadweaving techniques with modern materials and color schemes.
The second beader is Charlotte Hosten a Belgian jeweler who now works out of Montreal. She creates lush sumptuous necklaces that have gotten quite a bit of attention. She works with a wide range of materials from recycled silk saris to Swarovski crystals and semi precious stones. She is creates novel neck pieces with high ruffled collars.
With pieces as beautiful as these, I am happy to be proven wrong, so please if you are a bead artist and want to further prove me wrong, drop me a line.
I love this "Rocket Ring" by Nina Dinoff. So simple and clean and yet striking.
I am really enjoying being in the 'audience' for this challenge. I love to see what people are making when they are feeling really into it and also what they do to keep up with the challenge on those days when they just don't have time or energy to do an in-depth project. I think that spur of the moment ideas are often really inspiring.
I have just come across this artist on Flickr and love her textile pieces which run from simple modern shapes in fun colors to pieces such as this which are complicated and utilize a great color composition.
As usual I am drawn to post this particular image as it includes the drawings for the piece and I just love to see the mental workings behind a piece.
Madeleine Albright's new Book Read My Pins was released late last month. I haven't had a chance to get it yet, but it has gotten some good reviews on Amazon and I will definitely be adding it to my must read list. I am fascinated to see jewelry used in politics. If you are interested in this topic you can also check out Brooching It Diplomatically: A Tribute to Madeleine Albright by Helen Drutt, in which 61 artists were challenged with creating brooches, "themed with Albright's strategic use of adorment."
Here is the book description from Amazon:
Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins."
It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution—Don't Tread on Me.
From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes.
Part illustrated memoir, part social history, Read My Pins provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic—dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms. Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as secretary of state, the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela, and the Valentine's Day heart forged by Albright's five-year-old daughter. Read My Pins features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and often humorous stories about jewelry, global politics, and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats.Also: 200 of Albright's Pins will be on exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design in NYC through Jan. 31st 2010
Growing up I had a subscription to The Lapidary Journal way before I knew I was going to study actual jewelry design. I ordered it because I was interested in beading and was selling easily make stuff at local craft fairs with a friend. It looked like a good magazine for tips etc, and besides I have always had a soft spot for magazines of any kind.
But was I grew to love were the step by step instructions and that photos of different projects. I am sure that this magazine was a major influence in my decision to get more serious about jewelry making.
Now I subscribe to their newsletter, and will most likely buy a "real" subscription again. But I thought that I should share two of the pieces in this month's newsletter as I think that they would hit home with my readers. I will post them here, but you can find the actual newsletter here as well.
These were written by, Helen Driggs is Managing Editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine
Every now and then, I am reminded of why I do this. The other night, I was hammer forming and I crossed over to that very calm, focused and quiet place of concentration where it was only me, my hammer, the anvil and the metal. Nothing intruded – I felt my breathing slow, my vision focus sharply forward, my mind go quiet, and I blissed out. The studio was silent, dark and still except for the sound of hammer strike and torch flame. I totally lost track of several hours' time, and I felt like I’d received a great gift when I came back. The rare feeling of that place is where I am so happy and most alive. It’s where I want to go and stay whenever I can and I fiercely fight for space to get there. It is the place of focus and creativity. It is the place of excellence. I recently sat in on a lecture on becoming a “master craftsman” by Lew Wackler, one of our long time contributors to
The Flash from Helen’s Bench Do you have 10,000 hours?
Lew’s concept made perfect sense to me because traditional art school training set me up to expect to invest lots of time making bad art to get good. I’ve been lucky enough to have studied with masters in every creative arena of my life: painting, dance and metals. The masters I’ve respected, become awestruck over, and have admired most were artists who had given up everything to focus on the one thing they wanted to excel at. They had the talent, desire, drive and dedication to do only “the one thing.”
Most people, myself included, could not do what they had done. Even if you are bursting with natural talent, you may never get there. It is very hard to abandon a “normal” life and do “the one thing” without diverting energy on family, friends, a home, stuff. And I will be very un-PC here and say especially for a girl. Sorry. It’s just a biological fact, so please don’t send me a nastygram.
I am too interested in too many things to choose only one. I love my son and my friends and family, I like to cook, paint, work on my house, garden, dance, and I have a genetically driven need to constantly make things with my hands. Happily, I’ve become accomplished at many of those things, but I have given up other things I passionately loved because I knew that to get good at them it would take more life than I could possibly give – so I abandoned them rather than do them badly. But I can’t imagine doing that for everything but “the one thing.”
I don’t have forever in front of me like I thought I did in my art school days, and I want to make the most of what I do have. It’s hard to give things up. But it is worth it sometimes, and choice is what makes us human. I figure I’ve spent roughly 3,500 hours so far on metals. I’m not even halfway to becoming a “master” yet. There are processes and techniques out there I’d like to try, and I fully enjoy every moment I spend at my bench. Yes, I hope I get to 10,000 and beyond, but to tell you the truth, I don’t even care. I love working in my studio with the skills I have. I'll just love it more with more and better skills.
To me, the funniest thing about it is that someone quantified it, and I’d never really considered it in those terms before. And it would be cool if you got a gold medal when you clocked 10,000 – but silly for a metalsmith, because they would probably just melt that medal down to make something. Sort of the point, right?
Every now and then, I am reminded of why I do this. The other night, I was hammer forming and I crossed over to that very calm, focused and quiet place of concentration where it was only me, my hammer, the anvil and the metal. Nothing intruded – I felt my breathing slow, my vision focus sharply forward, my mind go quiet, and I blissed out. The studio was silent, dark and still except for the sound of hammer strike and torch flame. I totally lost track of several hours' time, and I felt like I’d received a great gift when I came back. The rare feeling of that place is where I am so happy and most alive. It’s where I want to go and stay whenever I can and I fiercely fight for space to get there. It is the place of focus and creativity. It is the place of excellence.
I recently sat in on a lecture on becoming a “master craftsman” by Lew Wackler, one of our long time contributors toLapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. His main point was that for someone to reach master status, they had to practice their craft for at least 10,000 hours. He’s done that and beyond.
I bet more than a few of my readers are familiar with the feeling that Helen describes in the first piece. I sure remember the best days at my bench in college being when I would look up and suddenly realize that it was almost time for the building to close for the night and I had no desire to leave.
The second piece, I posted because I think that it makes some interesting points about mastering your field. I don't necessarily agree that it is harder for women to master a field, I think historically it has not been as acceptable for a woman to give up other interests and responsibilities for their art or any given field for that matter, but I think that things are changing. I have met many women who are dedicated to their work as much so as men. It is all about finding a balance that works for you and what you are trying to achieve. Not, that I have managed it myself, I grapple daily with how much time I want to spend on creativity versus other responsibilities, but my hope is that someday I will find a good balance and feel at peace with the choice that I make. What do you think?
This ring by 2Roses Jewelry caught my attention when it came up in the Fine Art Jewelry Flickr Pool. It is the product of an artists swap, which is really interesting. Made out of sterling silver, plastic, resin and fire opal, it came about when the artists were sent pieces in an artist to artist element swap. What a way to get unexpected inspiration.
In looking at their Etsy shop, Flickr Photostream, and website, it turns out that they are quite and interesting duo who work together to create an outstandingly varied collection of exciting jewelry. Check out a few of their pieces.
I love that they have included notes about the creative process, materials etc, with their Flickr pics, they also have included pictures of their studio, in progress pieces and each other, really interesting to be able to have a little peak into their world.