Pratt Institute’s 2013 Junior Jewelry Exhibition – Round 2

After spending the first half of my Monday at the sparkly and decadent Sotheby’s and Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction viewings, I made my way to Brooklyn for the opening night reception of the Pratt Institute Junior Jewelry Exhibition. This was round two for the students who are competing for The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Design Scholarship, which provides one winning student with $25,000 of financial assistance in their senior year. A very exciting and prestigious prize!

If you don’t know Pratt, it is a private art college in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, NY. It also happens to be the college my Dad graduated from many years ago, so it has an inherent fondness for me! Take the G train into Brooklyn, and when you exit the subway car the platform greets you with a work of art:

clinton washington

At the auctions earlier in the day there were lush bouquets of cherry blossoms and tulips, brought in just for the events. Here at Pratt, the trees were also in full bloom:

tree blossoms

The jewelry exhibition took place at Steuben Hall. You can’t miss it:


The room was packed to the gills with college students checking out the work and noshing on the free food. The students showcasing their work were at each table to discuss their pieces. An especially thrifty student brought in some daffodils and gave one to each of the presenters, so we could all tell who the artists were. Very helpful!

There were similar subjects in each student’s presentations, since the jewelry and art pieces were culled from assignments given throughout the school year, as well as from when they were sophmores. Student Odette Channell presented this lovely trio of silver flatware:

Odette's silverware

I absolutely love how post-apocolyptic they look. And the fact that the outside has a smooth satin finish while the inside is more textured gives them incredible depth. Odette also showcased this trio of silver rings that were given a patina treatment to achieve the yellow and orange hues:

Odette's rings

The reference to flames (and perhaps branches) really comes across, and although each ring would be cool on it’s own, I love the story they tell when shown together.

Two tables away was student Eden Daniell, who captured my heart with this root bracelet:

Eden's root bracelet

This piece is so evocative of ginger root, one of my absolute favorite things to eat. This bracelet was cast in bronze, and the detail is just incredible. Almost good enough to eat! She also had a white resin necklace up on the wall:

Eden's white necklace

Couldn’t you imagine this necklace on the slim neck of a fashion model on the runway? The resin gives a claymation effect, and the texture could be translated as feathers or even the curves of a pinecone. The brass points that hit the indent of your clavicle round out the horned-animal feel of this piece.

In the soft afternoon light by the window, student Lauren Pineda had prime real estate to show off her stunning copper and enamel winged piece:

Lauren upright

I loved everything about this. The femininity of the draped chains, the spritely fairy wing, the shoulder piece that has the strength of armor. She also placed a pin on the front and back of the piece, so you can pin it to your clothes for an even sturdier fit. This photo doesn’t show it well, but the top of the shoulder has colorful enamel work. I could imagine someone wearing this with a white tank top and jeans, or an edgy business suit in a creative workplace, or even nothing at all for a strong and sexy effect!

As you may have noticed by now the jewelry shown at this exhibition, by the young and bright designers of tomorrow, was completely different from the million dollar luxury pieces I viewed earlier in the day at the auctions. I purposely made a point to visit all three in the same day so I could really feel the contrast. These designers are passionate about drawing their inspiration from the organic world around them — there was a plethora of jewelry that referenced sticks, stones, bones, teeth, bodies, fur, animals, and bugs. Each student translated that in their own way. Look out world, there is some untraditional and amazing jewelry coming your way with the next generation of designers!

In a somewhat softer translation of the botanical world around us, student Young-Sun Song created this resin, acrylic, and brass necklace with embedded flowers:

Young-Sun necklace

You can see the delicate detail of the flowers:

Young-Sun close up

I love how she varied the size of the acrylic pieces, and how the brass has a satiny gold look. Wearing this would attract plenty of people to approach you to see the fine detail of the flowers. I think it would look especially pretty with a strapless floral summer dress!

And last, but most certainly not least, was student Shuoyuan Bai‘s winged ring:

Shuoyuan winged ring

In silver with a synthetic alexandrite in the center, this ring has a cool, tattooed vibe. But put the ring on your finger and you will find out the real magic of this ring. Shuoyuan put a mechanism in this ring attached to a second band — press the bottom of the ring, and the wings flap on your finger. I wish I had video to show you of it. The effect is awesome! So clever and fun.

Which are your favorite pieces? As you can tell, I am in love with the root bracelet and shoulder wing piece, but they really are all amazing. Yesterday was the final judging and announcement of the scholarship winner, who was Lauren Curry. Congrats Lauren! In addition to the scholarship from Tiffany & Co. there were three more prizes for students from various jewelry designers and jewelry supply stores. First place was a tie between Lauren Curry and Odette Channell for $1,500 from designer Kara Ross, second place went to Shuoyuan Bai from jewelry supplier Myron Toback, and third place went to Eden Daniell. Congrats to everyone!

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!

All photos were taken by me, but feature the work of incredible artists!


Guys, Don’t (Dis)miss Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the scenario, fellas: It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You’re tired of the commercial push for flowers, jewelry, and a fancy dinner for your loved one. You scoff at what the holiday has become and refuse to participate. When you tell your lady you just want to treat Valentine’s Day like any other day (since you already know you love each other) she agrees that you don’t have to do anything. You made a simple statement, you got a straight answer, case closed.

Nope. You still need to do something for her for Valentine’s Day.

Confusing, right? You thought she said it was cool, that you don’t need to get her anything or do anything special. Sorry, that was just her being nice and agreeable. Most likely she is hoping that your grouchiness is just a charade, so that when you do something special on Valentine’s Day for her it will be a surprise by contrast. This holiday might not have a special meaning to you, but I guarantee that it holds some meaning for her. For little girls, Valentine’s Day is  all about the excitement of giving and receiving Valentine’s cards. As teenagers, the focus is on crushes and whether boys will profess their adoration on this special day. As grown-ups, working in an office where other women are receiving bouquets of flowers at their desks, women wonder if their guy will make the effort too.

Naysayers of Valentine’s Day, you are completely right that the holiday has gotten out of hand, but only if you believe what all the advertising it telling you – BUY this, GIVE that, SPEND this or she won’t know you love her. It doesn’t have to be like that. It can be about showing your love and making her feel special. You might even disagree with the fact that you feel forced to do these special things on a very specific day of the year. Who cares? If you’re being sweet the other 364 days of the year, what’s one more day?

Doing something special doesn’t mean spending big bucks. All it involves is being thoughtful and caring in making this day different from every other. Is there a movie she always wants to rent, but you pass on it because it’s what you consider a chick flick? Is there a jewelry store in your neighborhood where she always stops to gaze in the window? Maybe there’s a recipe she emailed you in the past, with a note about how delicious it looks? Perhaps you work long hours, and you know all she really wants is to cuddle up on the couch with you for a few hours without the beeping of cell phones and email?

Skeptics of Valentine’s Day might also feel it’s unfair that society has put so much of the responsibility of present giving or romantic planning on the guy. Guys shouldn’t fall into the trap of that mindset. Making someone else feel special is completely worth it. It grows the bond between you and your loved one, and you will reap the benefits in the immediate as well as in the future.

Now, if you haven’t already, go think up something sweet that will make her smile!

Guys, do you always make sure to do something for her on Valentine’s Day? Have you ever skipped out on the holiday? Ladies, do you agree that it’s important to celebrate the day? What was the best thing a guy ever did for you on Valentine’s Day?

Card image found here.