Pratt Institute’s 2013 Senior Show

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.

Image courtesy of Pratt Institute

Image courtesy of Pratt Institute

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:

Action Journal Pratt

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:

Tom Selleck Pratt

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:

Image courtesy of Sara Cochran

Image courtesy of Sara Cochran. Photo credit: Andreana Bitsis

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:

Image courtesy of Simonne Feeney. Photo credit: Andreana Bitsis

Image courtesy of Simonne Feeney. Photo credit: Andreana Bitsis

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:

Spikey bracelet PrattThe 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:

Image courtesy of Lia Branning-Chen

Image courtesy of Lia Branning-Chen

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:

Golden Bottle Necklace

Image courtesy of Jenna Pierson

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!

 

Share

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:

steuben!

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!

Share