I sometimes read the bios of other jewelry designers and there’s often that stuff about having been fascinated with mom’s jewelry, or collecting tiny, shiny treasures as a kid. Confession: that wasn’t me. I grew up a serious tomboy in the suburban beach town of Old Saybrook, CT — climbing trees and building forts in the woods, playing with GI Joe’s, fishing off my dad’s boat — the idea of someday designing jewelry never entered my mind until about four years ago at the age of 54.
Now, surprisingly, designing jewelry feels like exactly the right thing for a variety of unexpected reasons. Not having been much of a fashion girl growing up, I’ve discovered something that most fashionistas inherently know — that jewelry is about communicating identity, consciously or not. Through this creative process I am exploring and visually articulating my own identity, while helping others express theirs.
The desire for adornment has driven human expression individually and culturally from the very beginning, with jewelry serving as social symbols of conformity, creativity, wealth, and marital status. While classic designs using precious metals, diamonds and pearls will never fall out of favor for those who want to display wealth and status, contemporary jewelry designers have offered so many new and compelling designs and materials, giving us a myriad of new ways to express ourselves. I’ve become fascinated by this aspect of self expression.
My initial designs, those of my “Water” collection, set out to share and express my deep love and gratitude for water — the inherent beauty, power and rhythm of the oceans and rivers. Talk about identity — our bodies are roughly 60% water and 70% of the earth is covered by it. It is the essential element that connects us all at our very core. My Water collection aims to celebrate and remind us of its importance to our lives. While I still adore and evolve this collection, I couldn’t ignore my equally strong love of whimsy and color and of midcentury modern pop, which emerged in my “Bebop” collection. The Bebop collection is about spontaneity and using Polymer clay gives me both color and the freedom to be spontaneous with pattern and design.
Getting into a Groove
This year I have been working on blending these two passions to create something that takes a bit from both — introducing Groove. Getting into a groove — feeling one’s stride or feeling at home with oneself is the emotional part of the idea, but it’s also a literal description of the design itself. Each piece contains a groove that I inlay with colorful polymer clay. At the heart of this collection is the marriage and contrast between “precious” and “playful” — the precious metal (silver) shapes are simple, the inlaid grooves, colorful, playful and spontaneous.
I continue to choose sterling silver as the main element because it’s bright, neutral, and shimmering, mirroring the world around it. It's important to me to own and to create jewelry that's durable and holds its value over time.
By contrast, the colorful element inlaid into the grooves is polymer clay. A type of plastic, polymer clay has a long history of use among artisans since the 1930s when it was developed by a German woman who used it in doll making. It surfaced in the U.S. in the 1970s and, because it's so versatile, has been a popular and respected material in the jewelry community ever since.
Come to a show in June (click to see show list) and get your Groove on! Try on some Groove earrings or a necklace and share with me what it means to be getting into your Groove and receive 10% off.
Hope to see you soon!