Friday, October 22, 2010

Lark Books

I just found out that the new Lark Books publication, 500 Silver Jewelry Designs, will feature two pieces, both bracelets. This will be the third book that I have been featured in!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Let me blow the cobwebs out of here for a moment...
In one month, I took two trips to the west, both of which brought new partners to work with, mostly in California. I will be announcing some exciting news about stores that I will be working with soon.

I had my first trip to Vegas during the annual gathering called "Jewelry Week". There is a huge show, called JCK, which has every stripe of jewelry vendor you can imagine. Another show, called Couture, is where you will find the most established designer collections, mostly high end. I opted to show my work with a new show, NICHE: the show, produced by the same people that I exhibit with in Philadelphia every year.

As the upstart show, we were uncertain how the attendence will be, and also whether the attendees are the appropriate audience. Well, the first day of the show, there was a tidal wave of people coming down the aisle. That day, I was constantly talking to people that were interested in my work. Over the course of three days, the number of people at the show came in waves, but I was pretty consistently talking to buyers that were seriously considering representing my work. As a show that was representing only N. American handmade jewelry and other crafts, this was a good place for me to make my Vegas debut.

Recently, some of my jewelry was also featured in the JCK magazine, in a fashion shoot put together by Jennifer Heebner. My bracelet and rings can be seen on the model in this photo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

NYC Event

Since hosting an open studio last year in the spring, I haven't had an event in NYC. This weekend, I will be participating in a show with four other jewelers at a loft on 24th street. I am looking forward to re-connecting with the New York audience!
Here are the details:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gemstone Jewels

I recently received a copy of the book 500 Gemstone Jewels, by Lark Books, which includes two of my pieces. The book, juried by Cindy Edelstein, presents an amazing array of what is being done with gems today. It ranges from very dazzling pieces with rare gemstones by well-known designers, to very experimental pieces which combine gems with non-traditional materials. I found that this book brings together high-end jewelry design and art jewelry in a way that that rarely happens.

Here are the pages featuring my work:

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Traditional Asian Jewelry

Natasha Wozniak with Akim Funk Buddha at BAM in November

I love traditional jewelry from many places in Asia, including India, Nepal, Tibet, Thailand and Indonesia. Before I became proficient in metalsmithing, the intricacy of these pieces seemed magical and mysterious to me. Since then, I have used my fascination with these styles of jewelry to drive me to master techniques like filigree and repousse. I have always had the urge to make a reproduction of an antique piece for myself, but never had a specific reason to do so. With so many things to do all of the time, I never fit it into the schedule.

Some readers of my blog may know that in addition to being a jeweler and metalsmith, I am a dancer. One of the dance styles that I am regularly asked to perform is traditional Balinese dance. Most of the costume pieces from Bali are made of leather with gold paint or gold leaf, which is pierced. I have most of the costume pieces that I purchased in Bali, but I lacked a neck piece. When my friend Akim Funk Buddha, asked me to perform with him at his show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, last November, I decided that this was the occasion for which I would make a piece of traditional jewelry from Asia, in this case, Bali.

preliminary sketches for my Balinese collar

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I was using a book called Jewelry of Southeast Asia and a starting point for the design. I then made sketches that combined some elements of the 19th century Balinese pieces pictured in the book.
Top: metal being worked from the back
Below: metal being worked from the front

I decided to use copper with gold leaf applied to the surface with lacquer. Copper has the best working qualities for the predominant process of repousse that I used. The vines and leaves are worked from the back with shaped and rounded tools and then the everything is defined from the front with sharper liner tools.
Balinese Collar, copper, gold leaf, tourmaline, chrysoprase, moonstone
by Natasha Wozniak, modeled after antique Balinese jewelry

As with many jewelers, I have a stash of stones in my studio and from those, I picked out these carved tourmalines, chrysoprase, and moonstone to add color to the piece.

It was a really nice moment when I got into my costume and put on my handmade collar, which is actually nicer than the neck pieces currently used in Bali. As with most things, I am sure this project will work itself into something in my regular jewelry collection. Moreover, I thought it was a great way to bring together my dance and my jewelry careers.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Lotus Lamp by Natasha Wozniak
silver, brass, cast glass

Before I started my jewelry business in 2001, most of the work I made was holloware. There were lotus sculptures, Japanese-inspired vases with delicate piercing, simple bowls of hammered metal. I also taught holloware at the now-defunct Craft Students League in midtown Manhattan. I really loved the contrast between the people in their corporate offices across the airshaft, and the studio in which I was practicing a craft that originated thousands of years ago. My students would come in from their high-stress jobs, and after 3 hours of meditatively hammering copper, would feel calm and rejuventated.

Before I began the craft business, I thought that there might be a chance to create holloware and make a living by selling it. Unfortunately, in the US, there is very little interest in holloware. This, coupled with the lack of support for young artists while developing a body of work, in terms of equipment, space and time, led me away from this aspiration.

Silver vessel by Hiroshi Suzuki

With all of this personal experience in mind, I was delighted to see, in The Economist, of all places, an article about a Japanese-British artist that has had success in holloware. His name is Hiroshi Suzuki and he is having a retrospective in London of his work. I had seen his work at the annual Sofa show in New York, and was always drawn to it, because of the beauty of his style, but also because it is so unusual to see silver vessels anywhere in the high-end craft world.

Silver sculpture by Junko Mori

He is represented By Adrian Sassoon gallery in London, also representing another Japanese-British artist, Junko Mori. She makes elaborate sculptures out of silver, and I remember seeing her work for the first time. I kneeled on the floor in the aisle of the show with another silversmith friend in order to see all of the pieces that were tucked away on a bottom shelf. I later found out that her early work was sponsored by a silver supplier in the UK. That is when the lightbulb went off and I realized once again that a little support for a young artist can lead to really sublime things.

Remember while admiring a beautifully crafted object the next time, that the concept of patronage should be a prominent thought in the decision to buy. The artist will be able to make something even more extraordinary the next time!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ACC Baltimore

I am not in Baltimore right now, but some very cutting edge and innovative artists are there right now for the American Craft Council show. Aside from the Sofa shows, The ACC Baltimore show has the highest number of artists making one-of-a-kind jewelry, using both traditional and unusual materials. Here are a few colleagues that will be there showing some great work:
Christine Simpson-Forni
uses sterling silver, a variety of stones, and enamel.. In the pin above, she has created a representation of coral using metal with enamel. I had the chance to visit her studio in Chicago last year and wanted to take a number of photos, only to find my camera battery was dead. The feeling I get from her work, is inspiration from nature, but in a dark, almost gothic way. She focuses on the things that are less-admired, things hidden in a dark tidepool. I wish I could see her work at the show, as I know she always makes great efforts to make many special pieces for this show.
Joanna Gollberg
has been making work from a combination of stones and glass. She uses an array of materials to create a variety of colors and textures in her pieces. There are uncut stones, as well as stones that she cuts in her studio. Her work has always had a lot of movement, and while the current work has less actual moving parts, it has a great movement through the combination of 3-dimentional structures and vivid color.

Andrea Janosik has become a specialist in working with leather. Using a variety of leathers, including cords and flat pieces, she created very sculptural pieces. Many pieces are made rolling the leather into shapes, such as the cones in the necklace above, or other techniques of folding or bunching the leather. Her work is very laborious as she spends hours precisely cutting and shaping the leather pieces.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Work and other things

Pictured above is a new piece I made this year in advance of my trade show. It is always a good motivation for making new work. I decided to try out a material called bi-metal, which is a laminate of 18K gold on top of silver. It allows me to do the reverse the silver with gold accent look, without a huge hike in the price of the materials.

I wanted to call attention to a campaign that the sponsor of this trade show is doing. She is willing to go to jail for us! Wow, that is some commitment. I know that she has been to the halls of congress already, but has failed to get attention paid to the fact that all of us craft artists are employing ourselves as well as, in many cases, assistants. From the side of the client, true value lies in artisan wares made in the US, rather than "luxury" goods that are well-marketed, but were made in China just the knock-offs on Canal Street!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Show Preparation

I am in the midst of designing new work, which will be shown for the first time at the Buyer's Market of American Craft in February. In between making new pieces, I also made a postcard to let stores know where to find me. Here is my postcard image, with a few favorites from my ring collection ,mixed in with a few brand new designs.