Tuesday, November 9, 2010

jewelery designers with whom i am falling in love

These are in no particular order. I can't rank one above another, because I love them all, sometimes for the same reasons, sometimes for very different reasons. You wouldn't say you had a favorite pet, or a favorite child, would you?

#1 Edward Everett Oakes.

Bio: Born in Massachusetts in 1891, Oakes was a second-generation Arts & Crafts master who had the good fortune to study with two beacons of the movement -- Frank Gardner Hale and Josephine Shaw.

In 1923, the year he won a Medal at the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Oakes was pleased to learn that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had acquired a pendant of his for its permanent collection ("the first such purchase made from a living American craftsman" according to Edith Alpers in the British Jewellery Studies, Vol. 3). This was a source of pride -- in a small catalog of wedding rings that he issued, the last page included a photograph of the object with the caption "A MASTERPIECE BY EDWARD EVERETT OAKES IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART."

Why I'm in Love: His love for all forms organic, asymmetrical and whimsical totally woos me. Also, he frequently bezel sets his stones, which to me gives the pieces a feeling of delicate sturdiness, and a lack of pretentiousness, which is needed for something you'll love so much you'd wear it every day. If his stones aren't bezel-set, you might find them peeking out of what seems to be a bouquet of leaves (a more romantic image than what first came to mind, ET's face poking out of a pile of stuffed animals) floating in the form of what it seems magically collided into a piece of jewelry. Can't get much more lovely than that.

#2 Joanne Cooper.

Bio: Joanne is an expressionist painter. A sculptor. A jewelry designer. And somewhat of a Renaissance woman. Her work is alive and bold, full of pure energy and raw emotion. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, the daughter of a noted Professor of Marketing and Economics, Ms. Cooper initially followed her father’s lead and studied economics at Northwestern University. But ultimately she moved to New York to follow her passion as an artist. Studying painting at the Art Student’s League, she was soon exhibiting her artwork in shows throughout the Northeast; winning National Competitions in juried shows at the National Academy of Design, Newport Festival of the Artist; and one-woman shows in galleries in New York, Chicago, East Hampton and throughout the East Coast.

Ms. Cooper started her career as a young painter back in the pre-feminist mid-60’s trying to balance her creative vision with her responsibilities as a young wife and mother of two. Painting 5-6 hours a day while her children were off at school, she stole time in her studio between preparing meals, doing homework and managing a family and household.

Moving between painting and sculpture, Joanne eventually applied the movement and flow of expressionism to the ornamental medium of jewelry design. During a successful 20 plus year career creating what she calls “Body Sculpture” working with semi-precious stones, silver and gold.

Why I'm in love: What's not to love? I'm a sucker for leaves, and it seems, so is Ms. Cooper. This cuff bracelet rocks a personality that I imagine to belong to a ballerina on an archaeological dig. It's bold, beautiful, soft and intricate. It looks like it was made in a similar fashion to that ceramic pot in the movie, Ghost-- a mystical spirit guided the artist's hands through a sexy art-making moment of zen. Oo! Sign me up!

#3 James Meyer.

Bio: Mr. Meyer got started making jewelry "relatively late in life" in his thirties. After diligently studying classical languages and history at Haverford College, he decided not to go to law school (as he had been encouraged to do) but went instead to the wonderful Rhode Island School of Design to study sculpture and drawing. He married in 1962 and after some twists and turns (a Fulbright Scholarship to study art at Athens Polytechneion and some college teaching) he came to jewelry as the way to fulfill his artistic desire and make a living. For almost 30 years, he had a retail shop in Williamsport, PA, specializing in his own jewelry and selling other American Craft items. He says it was a truly amazing period in American history in which crafts were revived and were supported by a wonderfully enthusiastic public. In his shop, a staff of about seven people made production jewelry based on Meyer's own designs for sale to other stores as well as their own; they also made countless one-of-a-kind pieces for the shop.

Around the turn of the century, he had a feeling of wanting to simplify his days and have fewer responsibilities, so he had a big sale (“to the bare walls”) and closed the shop. Since 1999 he has worked on his own in my studio in Bastress Township, about 10 miles from Williamsport, doing one-of-a-kind and custom order pieces only.

Why I'm in love: Milgrain! Asymmetry! Patina! Swirly shapes and organic lines! Oh my! I totally love everything about James Meyer's work. He is also unique in his use of green gold (Wikipedia says fourteen and eighteen carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold) and his interplay of different metals (or colors of gold) in a single piece. He has an incredibly delicate hand in his work, but it never looks flimsy. He's definitely a fan of the bezel setting of stones, but his use of playful and nature-inspired shapes, as well as minute details, breathe life into compositions that could come off as otherwise too cold or modern.

#4 Constance Wicklund Gildea

Bio: I actually can't find anything about her yet. Still digging.

Why I'm in love: What's not to love about this carved gold ring! It has just about all the qualities I've listed above, plus it's hand-carved (the wax from which its mold was made, not the actual gold) and it looks like the sort of ring a fairy queen might wear! I especially enjoy the fact that it has a matte finish, making it look even more like it was plucked right out of a garden, rather than off a velvet tray.

#5 Charles Perrella.

Bio: Charles Perrella joined his brother Genaro in 1928 at age fifteen to master the jewelry trade. Charles continued after his brother's passing and became a Master Jewelry and Designer and later a budding entrepreneur. Perrella has always valued hand-made work and the integrity of jewelry construction. He patented his shop after the European factories where people mastered various aspects in the creation of jewelry. He enjoys working with 14k, 18k, and platinum gold to present the highest quality in jewelry. The careful combination of quality metals and stones results in an inspired collection of timeless sensibility.

Why I'm in love: duh. all of the above.

No comments: