A couple of weeks ago I attended an evening lecture and jewelry showcase at Pratt Institute — two exciting and thought-provoking events! The first was a talk and book signing with Damian Skinner, the editor of Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, a newly released book in collaboration with the Art Jewelry Forum. His information about contemporary jewelry along with the discussion that followed with the audience was fascinating. It is a solid book with a lot of topics to consider. Keep an eye out for my review of it in the coming months!
The second part of the evening was a jewelry showcase that featured work created by faculty, alumni, and current students. It was wonderful to see these pieces all exhibited together. A level (dis)playing field of sorts! Here were some of my favorites:
Lauren Curry, class of 2014, “My 1st Time Using Chopsticks”, 2013. Brass, purple heart wood, garnets, emeralds, crushed chicken bones.
You might remember Lauren’s name from my previous post about the Pratt Junior Jewelry Exhibition — she was the winner of the Tiffany & Co Foundation Jewelry Design Scholarship! Although these chopsticks are more art object than jewelry, I loved them for a number of reasons. It’s hard to tell their scale from the photo but these are actually very oversized chopsticks, which adds to the memory of everyone’s first time with chopsticks. Didn’t they feel enormous and gawky in your hand? Lauren also set a garnet and emerald at the top ends of the sticks, which made them feel very regal and important. I couldn’t help but love that they are made of purple heart wood. Makes it sound like she was going into first battle with a plate full of food, armed only with these courageous chopsticks! And last but not least is the metal chicken head that they rest on. A casualty of the food war?
William Yang, class of 2014, “Black Oyster Necklace”, 2013. Sterling silver, brass, fossilized oyster, green amethyst, champagne quartz, smokey quartz, peridot, black pearl, coffee grounds.
I love how futuristic this necklace is! I can just imagine some distant time when we all wear necklaces like these as a source of power. Energy is drawn from the “fossil fuel” of the oyster shell in the center of the necklace, and using gemstone buttons and cogs it is filtered in pathways upwards. This necklace would have fit in perfectly with the recent LOOT exhibit at MAD!
Alexia Cohen, technician and faculty, “Wrist Expansion 17”, 2007. Gold-plated brass frame, white elastic cord.
Alexia actually had a different version of this bracelet on display, with rhodium-plated brass and black elastic cord, but I loved this lighter gold version that she was wearing so much that I took a photo of it instead. She let me try it on and it was lighter and softer than you might imagine. Fantastically flexible and comfy. It made me feel a bit like a superhero (perhaps it’s all that webbing?) because of the concept that I could extend the size of my wrist into a huge gold outline. For when I need to be extra powerful!
Shuoyuan Bai, class of 2014, “Untitled Necklace”, 2013. Copper, transparent enamel, silver leaf.
Yet another piece that totally could have been at LOOT! I love how each round on this necklace looks like a gorgeous piece of stained glass. The blues and green are so vibrant. Definitely a statement piece!
Taylor Kumiko Hermes, class of 2012, “Letting Go: Anger”, 2012. Cross body brooch. Brass, handmade Japanese paper, fishing line.
Taylor’s body brooch has so many layers to it. I love that it goes across the body (it has pin mechanisms at the top and bottom to hold it in place) in a completely unique and interesting way. The little pieces of paper are feather thin and go from light to dark as they travel down the body. There is so much movement in this — the pieces of paper are literally flying off of you. But the symbolism is what really gets me on this one. To think that this piece of jewelry could symbolize the act of letting go of anger — of taking all those little dark negative pieces that accumulated over time into anger and bursting them apart. It is powerful and artistic and just fascinating. How therapeutic it must be to wear this piece!
Which is your favorite? Would you love to try on that webbed expansion bracelet? Or perhaps the stained glass necklace against a little black dress? Maybe a little catharsis from wearing the body brooch? They’re all so cool. Until next time!
P.S. Although I mention Pratt a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous jewelry created by awesome designers!