A Lovely Holiday Party at Shibumi Gallery

Last night we attended the holiday party at Shibumi Gallery, which is April Higashi‘s place.  As I’ve mentioned, this is my second experience here.  On both occasions, I’ve noticed that events here are very well attended and they should be.  The jewelry offerings from several different designers, including April herself, are artistic, bold, and stylish.  April, with her jewelry and in what she gravitates toward in other artists, seems to appreciate bold, unique design that doesn’t get in the way of its wearability.

April was there last night and gracious as always.  Thank you, April, for another lovely visit to your beautiful gallery.

As part of the holiday party, the featured artist was Karen Gilbert.  Her work is meticulously assembled with metal components and glass.  Often, the metal in her pieces involves incredibly tiny fabrication.  The glass, sometimes vessels and sometimes other shapes, seems to take the place of where stones would typically go.  But, the glass works better for the overall aesthetic.  I see a botanical influence, I see the artifacts of science, and I see modern sculpture.

The images of Karen Gilbert’s work were found on her website and one from the highly informative, The Jewelry Loupe, website.

At the show, I was able to observe Karen Gilbert’s pieces on people who were trying them on.  These clever sculptures turn into very flattering jewelry with movement, that catch the light, and remain bold yet understated.  It was nice to see a range of scale in her line.  There was everything from incredibly dainty to larger eye-catchers.

The Effect of Bracelets

There is something more personal about jewelry that is worn on the hands.  Perhaps that is because the wearer can see it do what jewelry is designed to do — to be in and interact with the world.  You can see how your bracelets move and how your rings break the light.  I am sure that seeing your jewelry behave as mobile art changes how you feel about those pieces.

While rings are by far my favorite type of jewelry, bracelets have a special place in my heart as the first type of jewelry I tried to make as a child — friendship bracelets and bracelets made out of coiled wire, to be specific.

Bracelets are very expressive and different bracelet styles contribute different things.  Cuff bracelets add a visual break and can foreshorten the arm — much liked cropped pants do for the leg.  Bangles can be musical and dramatic as they orbit around a wrist adding movement.  Then, there are chains with focal points and charms. They swing and sway and add length to arms and hands.  In addition, each type can change a great deal depending on materials.  A leather cuff, for example, is very different in overall effect from a beaded cuff.

Blue Keum-Boo Cuff -- by Judy Parady

Twisted Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelet with a Gypsy Set Blue Sapphire - by Two Trick Pony

Woodland Love Charm Bracelet - by Mark Poulin

These fine examples of fun bracelets can be found here: Blue Keum-Boo Cuff — by Judy Parady; Twisted Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelet with a Gypsy Set Blue Sapphire – by Two Trick Pony; and Woodland Love Charm Bracelet – by Mark Poulin.

Alternative Materials by Cla Contemporary

When making jewelry, there are no artistic talents that goes to waste.  You can bring skills from all different disciplines to the jeweler’s bench and find them useful. Chelsey, who is the creative force behind the Etsy store Cla Contemporary, proves that point by adding her own handmade ceramics to her pieces.

Ceramics in jewelry can get mixed results.  It can be earthy but it can also be clunky and messy.  Cla Contemporary is something else in entirely.  It’s true to it’s name.  It’s modern and clean.

I think the ring is sculptural perfection.  It’s a nice, clean design but it is not short on personality.

Nicely Done Found Object Jewelry by Jacobsen Design

I love the idea of found objects and I’ve used them a bit in my assemblage art.

Specimen I - By: N. Powell

Clock - By: N. Powell

It can be a slippery slope, though.  At least for me, when I am contemplating found objects, I start to have square-peg moments.  My mind continues to insist that this little something-or-other belongs in a piece of art — even after the object has told me to go to hell.

But, back to jewelry.

I think it is something special when found objects are used well and appropriately in jewelry.  I happened to notice this collection by Jacobsen Design on Etsy.  I think this stuff is very cool.  Here’s a sample:

Green Frequency Crystal Bracelet - By: Jacobsen Design

I think Jacobsen Design has made some attractive and, yet, funky jewelry out of found objects, which largely appear to be small electronic parts.  I think the pieces work so well because there is a nice eye for color and scale being applied here.  The objects that were found are right for some cool jewelry — no square pegs here.  My one concern, if I had one, is about the pieces’ durability as the jumprings don’t appear to be closed.  That being said, the pieces are priced low (most around $12) and there very well might be a very good reason that the jumprings cannot be soldered closed due to other materials used.