Concrete Facts

DrCraze is doing some amazing things with an unusual jewelry material — concrete.  By filling in his pieces with pigmented concrete, he creates an effect that is somewhere between enamel and mosaic.  The results are clean, colorful designs.

Golden Orange Bracelet

Olive Green Concrete Teardrop Necklace

Pink Ruby Heart Necklace

These and other pieces are available in the DrCraze Etsy store.

“There’s a certain shade of limelight …”

(Extra credit to anyone who can name the movie from which I took this post’s title.)

When I first got engaged, I would come home and report in what light my ring looked best.  I experimented for a while but, as it turns out, it was the elevator in the building where I was working at the time.  It had that low-bright light of a good jewelry store.

The memory of my early engagement got me thinking about jewelry photography.  While I am sure that there are people who specialize in photographing jewelry, I am not informed in that regard.  So, I will have to leave the topic of famous jewelry photographers for another day.  Instead, I would like to talk about some of the things I like to see in photos designed to sell jewelry — the information I think the pictures should impart.

As the pictures below make clear, I think jewelry should be modeled on a person.  As I have mentioned, as far as I am concerned, the fact that it is worn is what makes jewelry a special art form.  It is an extension of the human body like nothing else.  Secondly, when photographed on a person, the jewelry’s scale and proportion becomes clear.  Of course, the up close, magnified shots are useful to show quality and I understand why jewelry designers take them — it is damn hard to make a piece of jewelry and one wants to the show the detail.  But, at the end of the day, that is not how we truly experience jewelry.  We experience it on people and in the world.  Movement.  Light.

Silver Custom Initial Ring by Soo on Etsy.
English Rain Necklace by Sarah Rock on Etsy

The Year of the Dragon

The Chinese New Year was on January 23, 2012.  This year is powerful in the Chinese zodiac — the year of the Dragon.  In honor of this, I went on a hunt for an elusive beast — tasteful dragon-themed jewelry.  Fortunately, I am happy to report that it exists!

So, to all my dear Dragon friends, Happy New Year — make it a great one!

Beautiful Music

I can’t take much credit for uncovering the gorgeous work of Loek Sia in her Etsy store, Minicyn.  The good folks at Etsy were clever enough to make her the featured seller this week.

Loek Sia’s pieces are unique and reflect a special vision but it is the stamped designs on her pieces that really got my attention.  If you could see music, it would be like that.  The patterns that Loek Sia stamps into her work are abstract, well-balanced, and suggest an unspoken meaning — like a beautiful melody.


A Diverse Vision

Artists, Gil and Irena Tsafrir, have used their respective skills to create a beautifully varied and diverse line of jewelry. Their line, which is available in the Etsy store, zulasurfing, is full of unusual ideas — it is fun, bold line.

Don’t Forget Valentine’s Day!

Hearts?  Um, no, not usually.  It is a perfectly lovely shape but it does not normally speak to me from a design perspective.  However, Sandra Russell took the heart and made it her own by turning it, elongating it, and adding texture and pattern.

Perhaps, the more common the shape, the bigger the challenge it is to breathe new life into it.  Sandra has managed it with the heart.  Her designs are dynamic and eye-catching and wearable.  The great pieces featured here and more are available in her Etsy store, slradornments.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The Mark Poulin Interview!

Hello Readers:

The very talented and prolific jewelry designer, Mark Poulin, kindly agreed to answer some (slightly odd) questions for Bread and Cake.  I think you’ll enjoy this window into his jewelry-designing mind.  His work can be found in his Etsy store and on his website.

Enjoy!

B + C: How would you define “jewelry” to someone from another planet?

Jewelry is an object we wear on our bodies as an adornment, it can range from the simple and understated to the flashy and attention grabbing. The wearer uses this as an extension of his or her fashion sense and an as expression of their personality.

Jewelry satisfies so many of an earthlings needs. First off, so many of us have a need to collect, and with so many styles of jewelry it is easily collectible. Also we earthlings are a sentimental bunch and jewelry can mark so many of our occasions from our births to our weddings to our deaths. Jewelry also gives us a sense of style and allows us to express our personal taste and sometimes flaunt our status. There are some of us that wear the same jewelry every day of our lives and others who change it multiple times a day.

B + C: Please describe the place where you make your creations. What do you like to keep around you for inspiration?

I love my West Oakland workshop. It has the space to spread out. Separate places for soldering, polishing, enameling, photographing, designing, and for my piles of unfinished projects. All I really need for inspiration is a good sound track and a sketchbook.

 B + C: Do you have a favorite type of jewelry (e.g. ring, bracelet, necklace, etc.) to make? What is it and why?

 I love rings. I really love rings. Even though I’m known more for making necklaces, there is something about rings that fascinates me. They seem to carry an intimacy with them.

B + C: What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you ever made? Where is it today, if you know?

The first ring I ever made. I still have it. It was a simple cut out of hammers and nails on a wide band.

B + C: What is your favorite technique to use in your jewelry making and why?

I just love enameling. Fusing glass to metal will always amaze me, as will the possibilities that that can produce. I think this passion comes from all the years I worked as a ceramicist, clay and glaze, enamel and metal.

B + C: What theme or vision do you feel that your line reflects?

I feel like I’m trend based, but not in a shopping mall kind of way, rather in an underground crafty kind of way. I appeal to the people who like quirky. Everything I make is a little off kilter, made to steal hearts like an old dog at the pound you just have to take home and love. I am that little bridge between the cartoon world and the jewelry world.

B + C: Do you have a favorite jewelry designer?  Who is it and what do you like about his or her work?

I’m more inspired by illustrators and painters than jewelers. Right now I’m obsessed with Deth P Sun and with Luke Chueh. In my opinion both painters have elevated a cartoon style to a higher art. Both are prolific and draw all the time. Both are very down to earth.

B + C: Predictions? Plans? Are there future projects, shows, or sales that you would like to share with us?

I’m excited about 2012. I’ll be releasing ten new sterling silver mother and daughter charm sets, a new cartoon glass jewelry line. I’m really expanding my pure-modern jewelry shapes and adding some exciting color combinations. I’m also drawing some images for a puzzle company geared towards kids. That should keep me busy.

Dad Redux

Hello All:  What follows is my dad’s response to yesterday’s post.  While it is not about jewelry, it is informative.

Noelle:

In the picture of your mom in the basement at 602 Audubon [Youngstown, Ohio] is a California type case with individual pieces of type called foundry type. They were assembled by hand it what was called a “stick” and picked from the type case one at time.

The two pieces were from Linotype machines and were called “Matrixs” or mats. On the thin side was the mold for the hot lead and the opposite was a visual of the letter for the machine operator. These were assembled and cast into one line of type instead of individual pieces.

Dad

Hi Dad!

My sweet father reads this little blog every day.  This one is for him.

In various ways, I have ink in my blood.  For his entire career my father worked in the newspaper business.  My mother (an artist) and her sister (a writer) had a great love of amateur printing.  They had both been members — my aunt a life long member — of the shadowy, sinister organization known as American Amateur Press Association.  (I kid, I kid.  Check out their website and you’ll see how funny that is.)

Marge (Adams) Petrone, Writer & Ginny (Adams) Powell, Artist
My mom, Ginny (Adams) Powell

In honor of the family love of printing, my dad once played jewelry designer with this ingenious idea.

These are pieces of type once used in a newspaper printing press.  I imagine that my dad got these from work when old equipment was being replaced.  (If I am wrong, I am sure that he’ll let me know and I’ll issue a correction.)  In any case, dad saw the beauty in the shape and the symbolism of the items themselves.  He selected a “V” for my mom, Virginia, and a “M” for her sister, Margaret.  He had the type plated and a bale added so that they could be worn as pendants and, indeed, they were both worn by two stylish, strong women.  Beautiful, stunning, unique items.  I am honored to be their caretaker.

Playful Textiles

We are going to venture beyond metals once again with the playful, sculptural, fiber pieces from Mandy Besek‘s Etsy store .  I didn’t think that I’d write something about non-traditional jewelry materials again so soon.  But, Mandy’s work really caught my attention with its bold forms and flowing spontaneity.

OK, I know this last one is a purse but just look at those colors.  It would be like being able to carry your lipstick around in a watercolor painting.