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.

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.

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.

More than Metal

The first jewelry that I was able to make was made of string.  I would spend endless hours trying to keep the string braided while I also managed  to tie it around my wrist.  It usually didn’t work.  It would unravel as I fumbled to tie it with one hand.  To this day, I have a weird allegiance to the world of fiber jewelry.  Fortunately, it is a world filled with much better jewelry than I ever managed to make during Saturday morning cartoons.

There is some beautiful stuff out there these days.  But, as with everything, there are a few who break the mold and make something unbelievable.  Maria João Ribeiro has managed to do this and then some with her inventive, playful line.  Her lovely work is available in her Etsy store, Kjoo.

I’m a Lyric Person

I’ll be honest – I’ve sort of been putting off writing this post.  Why?  There is just too much to say and, somehow, it seems like the pinnacle of my blogging experience and it is just too early for that.  On the other hand, the mental pressure is building up and I can’t hold in my love for Jeanine Payer‘s work much longer.  So, here it goes.

When it comes to music, I am basically a lyric person.  Ultimately, it is the words that move me and stick with me.  Perhaps that is why the work that has made Jeanine Payer famous speaks to me so — it combines words with beautiful, delicate jewelry.  Jeanine obviously has a great love of words which enables her to find the music in quotes that are worthy of being worn.  Beyond that, though, she is a design genius.  She brings subtly and taste to each piece — pure poetry.

I met Jeanine Payer once at the grand opening of Alexis Bittar‘s store in San Francisco.  She was so kind to take a few minutes to talk with me and, truly, I was in awe.  I recall that she mentioned that she wanted to work bigger and begin to stretch the aesthetic of her line a bit.  (I felt so honored to have a discussion with her about her amazing line of jewelry.)   Indeed, her fall 2011 line began to introduce some new elements.

A Man and His Jewelry

Ok, so I’m going to out myself.  I think it’s healthy if I just go ahead and say it.  Here it goes: I am obsessed with Russell Brand.   I am not proud of it.  I am not proud that, at 36 years old, I am obsessed with a celebrity like a teenager.  But, I tell you this, if I had a locker, it would have his picture on it.  Recent events, have put him in the news all the more and, while I am sad for him and his marriage, it has served to feed my obsession.

(To my dear husband, I love you and I am sorry about all this.)

I could go and go and about what I like about Russell Brand (for one thing he’s incredibly bright) but I won’t.  I will get to the point.  Russell Brand is a man who wears jewelry.

Here’s Russell Brand in a People magazine photo. A man and his jewelry.

I’ve attempted to do a little research into the designers that he wears but the information is spotty and dated.  So, rather than take the risk of misinformation, I will allow Russell Brand’s jewelry-laden style to be the inspiration for a post to showcase some awesome jewelry for men that can be found on Etsy.