Three weeks ago I attended Pratt’s Junior Jewelry Exhibition on its Brooklyn campus, which featured the amazing work of twelve talented juniors. Monday night I had the pleasure of attending the annual Pratt Senior Show, a huge exhibition of work by hundreds of seniors with various majors, in the Hammerstein at the Manhattan Center in NYC.
The night I attended the exhibition included a champagne reception for industry professionals, and all the students had resumes and business cards at the ready next to their work. It was a bit like a reverse job fair, with professionals seeking out students to talk about potential jobs. Since it was a special reception, we also received some very cool swag:
Can you think of any better promotional gift at an art college exhibition than a sketchbook? As a bonus, this Action Journal (made by Behance in collaboration with New Leaf Paper) has a section on the right side of each page for listing the action steps needed to make your ideas come to life. Very excited to try it out!
After powering through the intense crowd huddled around the crackers, cheese, and vegetable platters (college students are like my cat; they act as if they’ve never eaten before!) I made my way through the works from various departments on display. I wish I could tell you about all the amazing work I saw — one of my favorite project themes was a rebranding and reimagining of current mainstream brands — but this is a blog post about the jewelry department. I will tell you that this cut out of Tom Selleck, part of Michael J. Silber’s thesis “Digital Humor Theory”, made me very happy:
Now for the really fun stuff, the jewelry! Eleven seniors showcased their thesis jewelry collections, and each had a very clear vision. Let’s start with Sara Cochran, who is greatly inspired by insects, and her beautiful Tarsus bangles in silver:
I really loved these bracelets from the moment I saw them. They are immediately recognizable as bug legs. But because they are created in silver with a patina that gives them a gold sheen, it elevates the look and makes it sleek and wearable. You could wear these with an edgy jacket or a summery dress. So versatile!
The next piece is by Simonne Feeney from her collection “Atomica”. This necklace is a take on the traditional 1950’s pearl necklace:
The necklace is hand crafted using brass wire that is then powder coated. It gives it a white wicker effect and felt very much like a piece you would wear in the springtime. Simonne created the necklace to show an Atomic Era take on the jewelry status symbol of that time. I am guessing she did not necessarily set out to design it as the fun and playful necklace I see, but I can’t help it! I bet it looks especially great on the neck, since the open spaces in the rounds would show your skin underneath. Very pretty and cool!
Kelly DeKenipp, whose collection was titled “Adornment and Torment”, created this “Splitter Bracelet”, a spikey-cool silver bracelet with gold leaf:
The gold leaf is in the inner edges of the spikes and gives them great dimension. Plus Kelly filed down the tips of the triangles, so when you wear the bracelet it doesn’t scratch at all. I love how this bracelet can be interpreted in so many ways. It could be a monster’s mouth with the top and bottom teeth bared… or perhaps it is more structural, like a bridge turned inside on itself? No matter what you see in it, it’s sure to get compliments!
Next up was Lia Branning-Chen and her collection “Scales on Scales”. I fell in love with this trio of copper and powder-coated bracelets:
These bracelets are inspired by scales and the Chinese dragon, but I actually fell in love with them because they reminded me of beautiful lace doilies, especially the center one. Can you see it? The powder coating gives them this really nice soft and smooth finish. So delicate and feminine!
To finish off this jewelry love-fest is the “Porous Gold | Precious Ruins” collection by Jenna Pierson, and her fantastic necklace:
I purposely didn’t tell you the official name of this piece, or what it is composed of. Can you guess what those crinkly rosettes are made from? Bottle caps! This Golden Bottle Necklace is handmade from bottle caps, 23 karat gold, and silver. Isn’t that so cool! It is so beautiful in person and such a great use of an otherwise discarded material. Who knew bottle caps could be so chic?
One of my favorite things about the work that I have seen from Pratt’s jewelry design students over the past few weeks is that it truly reflects the students’ creativity and tenacity. Patricia Madeja, a Professor and the Fine Arts Jewelry Coordinator at Pratt Institute (who is an incredible studio jeweler as well) encourages these qualities in the students, which I really appreciate. There is plenty of time for these students to create commercial jewelry in their future jobs. For now they get to have artistic freedom. What’s better than that?
Which is your favorite of the bunch? I’m not sure I can really pick a favorite — I made sure to show you all the ones I adored! If you want to see these in person, the Pratt Senior Show runs through Thursday May 8th here in NYC and is open to the public. Go check out these and all the other fabulous pieces I didn’t have room to cover here!
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!