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.

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.

Texture and Context

Textured metal in jewelry can be a bit predictable.  But, when it is good it is very, very good.  The designers at the Etsy store, Mika Scott, do it very well.  Their unexpected and bold textures take the next step and become essential design elements.

Midwest Amazing

I have mentioned the wonders made by Midwest Alchemy in the past but that incredible Etsy store really deserves its own post.  I am utterly amazed by the effect created by electroforming the metal around beautiful raw stones.

Midwest Alchemy helpfully describes electroforming for us on Etsy:

Electroforming, in the simplest terms, is the intricate process of controlling a metal deposit of copper and onto a conductive surface whether it be an organic or inorganic material. This process is similar to plating…but is done over a much longer period of time – and can be anywhere from 2 – 12 hours. Basically a thick “skin” of metal is built up into a rigid surface – which in this case is the ring or pendant form. Various patinas and finishes are possible after the initial electroforming process is complete.

I love that electroforming manages to make the rings look like they were chipped from a crystallized rock.   They look like natural items that happen to be suitable to be worn.

Here is a sampling of Midwest Alchemy.  It was hard to pick just a few — each one is as amazing the next.  While I am at it, allow me to add that I love copper.  I love to see it used in jewelry.

Hey, Midwest Alchemy, I’m a native Ohioian!  “Midwest Ohio” where?  Just curious.

Many Words Come to Mind

Clever, tactile, real, polished and raw.  These are all words that come to mind when viewing Vicki Pellegrini’s work in her Etsy store Alegra Jewelry.  Her work displays a great sense of shape and scale.  Every design has the kind of visual punch that only comes from good design — each piece is surprising but remains wearable.

All Jewelry Needs a Home

So, I wonder, if have I encouraged anyone to buy a new piece of jewelry or make something?  If so, perhaps that next question is:  “What do I do with this lovely new piece?”  If you are anything like me, you have faced the problem of jewelry storage more than once.

Enter Jessica Farmer, of the Etsy store Bluebirdheaven, with her ingenious solution.  She makes beautiful, display-worthy jewelry storage pieces out, wait for it, vintage printer’s drawers.  What a great idea!

You can have it all.  You just need somewhere to put it.

By Hand

In this blog, I have used the descriptor “hand drawn” a few times.  By that, I mean that the jewelry designer has created a three-dimensional object — an unyielding form — that also manages to have the charm and spontaneity of a drawing.  It can mean that the designer has tactfully left something looking less finished or added details in a way that seems so fluid and casual.  For me, it is among the highest design compliments.  While, of course, I didn’t make up the words hand drawn, I sort of feel as if I made up its use in this context — I suppose it was time to define it.

Laura from Octopus Studio has a line available on Etsy which displays the best of what it means for jewelry to have a hand drawn quality.

I Like This Stuff

Hello All:  Yesterday, I posted by 50th post!  Just saying. Thanks for reading, sharing and re-posting!

So, on to today’s post.

Normally, I try to find a theme for my posts — bracelets, enamel, lost wax casting etc.  Maybe, I am just tired but I’ve found this wonderful designer who I’d like to write about but I can’t find a unifying theme.  So, rather than try to create a tortured context, I will just share some of the beautiful pieces of anatomi in her Etsy store.

Maybe it is the awesome selection of stones.  Maybe not.  I just like this stuff.