Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm taking some time out of the studio and away from the gallery this week and have been spending some much needed time river front in the woods. The skys have been superb the past couple of days, here's a picture that I took from our front yard...

Saturday, August 29, 2009


The end of summer means that it's time again for Metalsmith Magazines exhibition in print. This years exhibition, Saturated: Color and Metal, focuses on the visual experience that color brings to jewelry. In addition to displaying the work of 34 artists, Jamie Bennett wrote an article, In the Midst of Color: Reflections on color's inescapable presence, that accompanies the exhibition.

The thesis of Jamie Bennett's article is that color is incrementally and strategically determined, from conception to reception. Color comes preloaded: if you are working with concrete or pollen, the chromatic value is there, but just as significant is the material's associative meaning. Color is colored by the conditions of its embodiment, yet when transformed by inventive and knowing artists it can gain powerful new significance within the context of contemporary metalwork.

Bennett also distinguishes between the use of color as an aesthetic tool and as a conceptual indicator. After reading his article, I decided to map out the characteristics of the two different methodologies. It's interesting how many connectors there are between concept and aesthetics, the two categories pushing against one another, with the only divider between them being intent.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On The Street...

Bill Cunningham is a fashion photographer as well as a style anthropologist. He is a habitual presence in New York City, Paris, and London, and has documented the trends and fashions of the urban woman for over 50 years. A shadow with a camera, he quietly stalks the city, waiting to document beautiful ladies in beautiful clothing. He now works for the New York Times, where he now produces On The Street, a muti-media editorial that recounts and foretells the currents of popular fashion.

This summer he posted an episode of On The Street titled Fashion Fireworks, which highlighted the summertime inclination of women to wear gigantic pieces of jewelery made out of imitation stones and plastic.

These playful and surreal pieces that Cunningham shows remind me a little bit of Alice In Wonderland, and you can check them out here...

Bill Cunningham, On The Street - Fashion Fireworks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

From the studio

Here is a picture of some new memento mori rings that i've got in the works... Actually I just wanted to try to update my blog from my cell phone! I hope this goes through...

Monday, August 24, 2009

More reason for excitement...

Here is the trailer for the upcoming movie called (Untitled), which hits theaters on October 23rd 2009. I can't wait to see it!

Set in Chelsea, (Untitled) stars Adam Goldberg as a experimental sound composer, Adriane Jacobs. Jacobs creates music whose sparsely attended performances involve musicians breaking glass and kicking metal buckets. But, Adrian’s luck appears set to change when he meets Madeleine, a gallery owner. She embraces his work and ask him to perform at her gallery, introducing Jacobs to a world of pretentious art collectors, dueling gallerists and eccentric artists.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kirsten Hassenfeld Installation

I'm very excited about the upcoming exhibition of Kirsten Hassenfeld's new sculptures at the David Winton Bell Gallery. The show opens on the 29th, and runs through the first of November.

I've been a fan of Hassenfeld for quite a while, and am looking forward to having the opportunity to experience one of her installations in person. Hassenfeld creates baroquean installations comprised of clear vellum, paper, and other non-precious materials. She references historical jewelry, decorations, metalwork, and chains. She shifts the scale of the ornaments, the viewer becomes subordinate to the sculptures, most of which are suspended from the ceiling like strands of gems.

It is this scale shift that I especially respond to. Gaston Bachelard dedicates a chapter to the concept of the miniature in his book the Poetics of Space. He states that "the minuscule opens up an entire world. The details of a thing can be the sign of a new world which, like all worlds, contains the attributes of greatness. Miniature is one of the refuges of greatness."

I anticipate that Kirsten Hassenfeld's installation will be just that: a unique and surreal world spawned from the miniature. I'll let you know...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


For those of you who have delicate sensibilities, I want to clarify the use of the term schmuck. In the states, schmuck is a pretty common yiddish insult refering to an obnoxius, stupid, or foolish person. My favorite definition for this pejorative is 'an innocent, gullible dolt.' Despite this offensive definition, the word schmuck is also simply the German word for jewelry! So, try to think about schmuck as a positive word, and forget the definition that you are probably more familiar with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've been working on this mourning necklace for quite a while now. Previously, I posted an image from my sketch book of the design of what I thought it would look like when finished. I always allow my work to evolve during the creation process, I don't try to force the piece to conform to a pre-prescribed notion of what it should be. I like to think of my jewelry 'growing' into a finished piece, and letting the materials help to dictate the form. Sometimes finished pieces look quite different than their sketches.

Surprisingly, this necklace looks very similar to the original sketch. I literally just finished it, the glue isn't even set yet! I can't wait to put it on the body and see how it lays.

I've been liking working with the horse hair, it has a very surreal sensation when it comes in contact with the body the body that I appreciate. It's pretty coarse, so it also doesn't immediately give off a post-mortem feeling; it's actually pretty subtle in terms of content. With the beads on this piece, it also reminds me of a mourning veil or decorative netting.

Beading horse hair

It feels like I have been working on beading this horse hair for ages! I started by stringing a single strand of onyx beads onto two strands of horse hair. Once strung, I then had to individually glue every bead into place, so that they don't slide into a disarray. The whole process was repetitive enough that it became meditation like, allowing me to let my mind roam elsewhere while working on the production of the piece. Check out the video below to see an example of the intricacy of the process.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gabriel Craig's Mobile Studio

I just came across last months issue of American Craft Magazine. There was an exciting article by Virginia based metalsmith and craft activist, Gabriel Craig, titled Studio on the Street. Studio on the Street articulates Craig's investigations in taking his practice outside of his studio and into the public sphere. He started his explorations in a series of performance based pieces where he moved his jewelers bench onto the street for his Collegiate Jeweler performances. Over time, the Collegiate Jeweler evolved into the Pro Bono Jeweler project, which directly engaged public participation.

In today's techno-centric culture, there is a disconnect between how craft objects are actually made and what peoples perceptions of where they come from are. It seems that people have a limited concept of how a hand made object comes into creation, they cannot fathom the processes that come together to create a piece of jewelry. The making of jewelry there for seems more magical and inaccessible than tangible.

I often consider the dilemma that arises from working sequestered away in my studio poses to the education of jewelry buyers and the public. When faced with explaining what I do, I am often at a loss. When trying to explain the basic concepts of metalsmithing, people have no reference for my processes, and consider me more plumber than metalsmith or jeweler.

By changing the location of his studio and engaging the public, Craig investigates the concept of creating jewelery as an educational and performative experience. Usually, the act of creating jewelry is a solitary venture, occurring strictly as an intimate action between the artist and the object. But, when this process is shifted into the spotlight, the creation of jewelry becomes a spectacle. Craig engages the public, encouraging them to invest an equal amount of time and energy into the rings as he does.

The dialogue between jeweler and observer become set in metal, archived in the rings that were made during this experience. And the most interesting part: Craig would give the rings away! The act of giving the rings away to the people who interacted with him allows for the ring to become an index of the experience, a memento that will travel far away from Craig's bench and will still educate people on the field of jewelry and metalsmithing.

This performance pushes against the glass ceiling of understanding where fine craft objects come from. Check out a video of one of Gabriel Craig's Pro Bono Jeweler performances here: