Saturday, December 29, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Wrought Massive Bracelet One
In the meantime, I figured out a strategy for photographing my newest bracelet (above). I bought a tube of white stage makeup, and applied it to my arm. Since I fit the bracelet onto my own arm as I made it, it seemed appropriate to use my arm as a photo prop. I have a new appreciation for makeup artists, as I has to apply the makeup four or five times to get a reasonably even color. Now, I am thinking about other pieces that might benefit from this photo treatment. After all, the jewelry comes alive when it is worn as intended, not when it is sitting on a sheet of white paper.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I heard this story in the spring, many months ago. It struck me, because sometimes in the middle of my frenzied jewelry making, running to the post office, making sure all of my bills are paid up, I start losing the connection that jewelry has for the people that wear it. For all of the brave Iraqi women wearing this pendant, you are in my heart, I think of you as I work.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The material is blackened silver, and the name has yet to be decided. I have a simple hinge on one side, and the bracelet stays closed by means of two tabs that stay in place through the tension of one part of the bracelet on top of another. It is a heavy piece, but I think the weight can give one a feeling of power and confidence.
I am going to experiment with more photography for this piece and will post the results when I finish.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
One would think that I would have been taken aback by the appearance of the building. I think that it would be hard to find a more foreboding building. I once saw signs on the lamppost outside reserving the parking spaces for the crew of CSI. Yes, this is where they hide the bodies.
To add to my discomfort with the atmosphere in the building, it was, at the time, only occupied on part of the eighth floor, a fraction of the fifth floor, and there was a moving company in part of the first floor. The front door was also unlocked at all times.
With my studio on the eighth floor, I had to walk up through the empty building, since all of the freight elevators were broken, walk across an empty wing of the building, with just a lightbulb hanging on a string in the middle. Once in, I would lock the door behind me as fast as possible with my heart pounding. Then I would proceed to my unheated space in the back of the wing.
As the photo above demonstrates, I didn't stay long enough to get the studio organized properly. I had found some shelves and a table in the bottom of the building and had plans for setting up the rest of the studio. However, some complications came up about us renting there, and the situation managed to save me from my bad decision. I don't know how much good work I could have made, as the heavy atmosphere in the building and the exhaustion of being cold all day sucked a lot out of me.
Now, I am happily settled in a studio in Brooklyn that features heat, ample locks and a nice atmosphere. I came away from the old studio with a good dose of wisdom and a great story.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
gold, blackened silver and rubies
by Karin Worden
Although I won't be at the Washington Craft Show in person this year, I wanted to highlight the work of one jeweler who will be showing. This is one of the best craft shows in the country, with a small group of jewelers, making mostly one of a kind pieces. It is from November 30th through December 1st.
18k, blackened silver and ruby
Karin Worden makes small poetic pieces, including many brooches. She uses a combination of fresh flowers with twigs and other elements such as small boats. The piece above has a tiny boat near the bottom of the twig. Her work is very sculptural, with a lot of contrast in color and texture.
Flowers and Leaves Brooch
18k, blackened silver and mixed sapphires
Last year, she had a series of brooches like the one above, with a variety of colored flowers, such as one with flowers of pink gold, which happened to be my favorite. All of these pieces are one of a kind, so those that fall in love with one, but decide to think it over for too long, will likely be disappointed to find that "their " brooch has sold.
Karin will also be in New York next week to show her work at the new Couture Jewelry Award and Sale, which is December 8th at the Pratt Mansion, across from the Met.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
In the case of the red doors, I am glad to see that some people aren't afraid to go with bold colors for their entrance (although, this might not be allowed a few blocks over the the historic district). The red contrasts nicely with the tracery of the wrought iron gate in front of it.
This door is my favorite so far. The wrought iron is nice and heavy with some tapering. The other highlight is the addition of the stars into the iron with more stars on the bottom of the doors. With the warm colors in the vestibule shining through, this looks like a very inviting place to come home to on a cold November night. Below is a close-up of one of the window panels.
Below is a new piece in the Brocade collection, which incorporates details derived from wrought iron decoration. The curls overlaying the gold pattern are not symmetrically covering the entire piece, but it is intersting to compare it with the photo above.
Brocade Oval Large Pendant
18K and blackened silver
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This weekend, the catalog and internet art retail company, called The Guild is hosting their first retail show in NYC. I have some work that will be in display and will be at the show for some of the hours that it is open.
The above photo was taken when I was preparing some work for the show. For my small petal-shaped stones, I use a thin strip of silver, fit it around the stone, solder it to a sheet of silver, and then cut it out into all of the little bezel pieces. This is what appears in the photo. All of the cut out bezels lined up in a row next to their corresponding garnets or peridots. These are the styles of earrings I made with these bezels and stones:
sterling and garnet
Streaming Flourish Earrings
sterling and peridot
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Sterling and 24K gold
I have long admired Judith Kinghorn's brooch/ pendants made with a combination of sterling and 24kt gold. I had only seen them in print before, and after having the chance to hold one in my hand, I can say that print pales in comparison. The pieces really look flatter and larger than in reality. The delicacy of this piece above is astounding. The size is only about 2" across. That means that each of those flowers is nearly as delicate as a real flower. The flowers are arranged into a mound as well, so it is very dimensional.
I also had the chance to meet Joanna Gollberg in person for the first time. She has written a number of jewelry books, including The Art and Craft of Making Jewelry , which includes some of my work. Her work includes a lot of movement and some new pieces that have perforated panels. She is another younger generation jeweler that I am glad to see in both the Philly Museum show and the Smithsonian show this year.
Congratulations to Biba Schutz, a renowned jeweler, who won the award for Best Fiber at the Museum show for her sculptural baskets. The way that Biba's work ranges from simple earrings to elaborate bracelets and now, these baskets, is really inspiring.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Here is a little window in to the New York jewelry world, mixed in with a story of economics. http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/11/05/diamond_futures/I wished that they had more audio of the "we buy gold diamonds", guys.
I do shop in the NY jewelry district, although I use diamonds infrequently. There are also colored stone dealers, stone cutters, precious metal dealers, engravers, appraisers, stone setters, casters. You could pretty much make a whole jewelry line come into being by just shuffling from one specialist to another. Oh, and make sure to bring along a lot of money too.
I sometimes love the jewelry district for it's old fashioned way of business, but it is also such a hustle and before the holidays, it can be a hockey match, with everyone pushing each other out of the way...time is money after all.
After time, one can develop friendly relationships with people on the street and it can be pleasure to see them from time to time. However, when I first went to the district, it was a very intimidating place. People asked me if I was a student, and right off the bat, I knew they didn't take me seriously. I have since learned to have a poker face when something is far more expensive than I expected, pretending that it just doesn't quite suit my needs rather than exclaiming that I couldn't possibly buy something that expensive.
I would say that an out of towner that decides to buy an engagement ring from the diamond district is either very brave...or very foolish.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Christy Klug and I are friends, dating back to the first ACC show in Baltimore for both of us, in 2004. Considering her history, her progress in her work and achievement is really remarkable. She has art training in her background, but it wasn't until she became a divorced single mom that undertook the making of jewelry as a career. As she recalled to me, she made five pieces, had them photographed, and got into the Baltimore show on the first try!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The earrings below, by Rebecca Hannon were one of my favorites in the book, and also one of my favorites in the show. I tried them on, and the rainbow refractions from the CD "gems" added a life to the design that can't come across in the photos. Her use of recycled objects in the context of a classic earring shape is very appealing to me.
Rebecca Hannon earrings back view
Rebecca Hannon earring front view
Sculpture by Diane Komater
Another featured sculptor at the gallery is Thomas Hill. He is currently making a variety of bird sculptures and here is one of them surveying the scene from the window of the gallery.
Thomas Hill sculpture
Alan Revere was the juror for the 500 Earrings book and he owns a jewelry school in San Francisco. After meeting him at the opening, he invited me to come to his school to talk to some of the students there. His school is one of the only places in the US that offers a comprehensive training in the technical skills that are needed to work at the bench. Students have diverse goals; working at a jewelry store in the workshop, designing and making their own line, etc. I enjoyed the chance to look at the school and talk with the staff there, particularly Christine Dhein and Ronda Coryell.Revere has all sorts of programs that are detailed on their website. I really liked this wall display of sample projects from all of their classes.
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons
Polyester and cotton with metal rods
The exhibition was unusual in that they decided to forgo the usual label system. The mannequins were set in a dimly lit room with small halos of light around each one. it was only after I had carefully looked at each garment in turn that I realized that there was a brochure that detailed the designer and materials of each garment. After having absorbed the exhibit visually, the written material really did provide a whole other layer of meaning. That is really the way it is supposed to be, but how often do we (as hard as I try to resist, this includes me), walk up to a work on display and zoom in right away on the label.
I also love the way they have displayed their carved stone collection at the Asian Art Museum. Many pieces are hung on a plexiglas wall in the middle of the gallery, so that you can see the carvings from both sides. The inclusion of Bhutanese art and textiles is also a plus. I haven't seen that anywhere else. And of course, I would pretty much like to have their entire bookshop on my personal bookshelf!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
And then one day, a forwarded e-mail from a colleague arrives in your inbox and there it is, a company in India claiming to make your designs and have them available to order. I received that e-mail last week before my trip and decided to talk about it before I got on to the delightful things that I saw in San Francisco.
above: Flourish Earrings
copyright Natasha Wozniak
made in the USA
Not only were images of my work used falsely by this company, but so were the images of other designers. I immediately recognized this necklace by Sydney Lynch (below).
There were also images that I am sure were taken from other designers webpages, I just don't happen to know the designers. Is there anybody out there that can tell me who made the jewelry in the following images?
Here is the e-mail that accompanied the images:
Dear Sir/madam ,
We are the leading Manufacturer and Exporter of Sterling Silver, Gold and Diamond jewellery from last 25 yrs. We are the 100 percent export oriented company with the workforce of 350 artisans, who are working under the trained & skilled supervisors who are having good experience to serve the overseas market with the quality products and time bounded delivery system.
Kindly�go through our website http://www.vedansh.com// and let us know your feedback.
If you have any other query, please feel free to mail us.
Looking forward to hear from you.
With warm regards
at left: Foliage with Dew set
copyright Natasha Wozniak
made in the USA
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I am off today to the beautiful city of San Francisco. Tomorrow night (October 19th), I will be attending the opening of the 200 Earrings show at Velvet Da Vinci from 6-8PM. You can see a number of images from the show on their website. The earrings above are a new pair that I made to replace the earrings that were featured in the book 500 Earrings, as those had been sold.
I will also be stopping at the studio of Diana Fayt (no, not a jeweler, I know), and checking in with Rena Tom from Rare Device. She is opening her San Francisco store on the 25th of October. She has had a store in Brooklyn of the same name for a few years, which is where I discovered the talented jeweler Abigail Percy. Hooray, managed to tie jewelry into that one.
If time allows, I also intend to visit DeNovo in Palo Alto, which has a great collection of jewelry.
Next week, I will have to rant a bit about a couple of issues that have me really riled up, but for now, I have to get my suitcase zipped up and be on my way to JFK.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Forbes Worst Jobs for the 21st Century
Yes, it is a tough field. Even though I think this is focused on the bench jeweler rather than the independent designer/ maker, it spells out what many of us in the field can tell from our experience.
At the same time, there is a huge number of people wanting to follow a passion for jewelry making. I get e-mails all the time asking for my advice. It starts with stringing some beads and progresses to the point where the maker wants to drop their career and follow the passion of jewelry to a career.
Better be sure the passion is so consuming that it hurts not to do it. It is almost an affliction that many of us has regarding this line of work.
What is it that we can do that will make our jewelry so compelling that the imports don't matter?
Sunday, October 07, 2007
After pushing out the design from the back, the front is ready for the detail work.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
In my own generation, there is a new wave of craft whose goals and means seem fundamentally different from mine. They seem to be after a granny's church craft fair with a twist aesthetic.
The work of this new wave craft movement seems to embrace amateurism and an outsider artist ethos. However, it is not true outsider art. So much of it is derivative work. Irony trumps craftsmanship. Wouldn't be so much more subversive to be a master of a difficult medium, leaving the viewer startled by the convergence of mastery and message?
I have a hard time relating to the new wave crafters; in fact, I don't even know what to talk about when I meet them in person since I really don't have an inclination to make cute things with skulls on them in the name of being subversive.
Where does this leave someone in their 20s or 30s seeking to become a master of their medium first and foremost? (I am not promoting a message with my work at present, but who is to say that it won't happen as time goes on?)
Sunday, September 23, 2007
silver and suede
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I have been noticing this misappropriation of words for some time now. Starbucks likes to bill it's lattes and frappaccinos as "handcrafted". Yes, indeed it is made by hand, but aside from those automated machines, how else are you going to make a latte? It is stating the obvious and making the word less powerful.
Another prevalent misrepresentation was discussed in an interview with author Dana Thomas on the Leonard Lopate show, which aired on WNYC. If luxury is massed-produced and marked up, where is the luxury in that. I think true luxury comes with having your purchase attended to by the maker or a representative of the maker, with very little remove between the oneself and the originator.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
As I previously mentioned, the move to Park Slope in Brooklyn has been making it's impact on my work. Brownstones, wrought iron, bluestone sidewalks, all giving me a push into new territory. The Wrought Collar, pictured above, is one of the new pieces in the collection. It hangs asymmetrically, with the center curl resting just to the right of center. The curls undulating above and below create three dimensionality in an otherwise very graphic piece.
Here is the corresponding Wrought Cuff bracelet. Same concept as the necklace, but with more symmetry. I made the sample in my size and I love wearing it. It has a definite presence.
I was on fire with this new collection and there is more to come in the next few days. I have finished my two back to back shows and will be travelling only to trunk shows for the rest of the year. More time to make an abundance of new designs in this vein.