Sunday, December 22, 2013

When art talks - the language of texture

A Sterling Silver necklace by AKVjewelry 
A soft bathrobe, a rough stone, a vintage filigree brooch, a Van Gogh painting - 
what do they have in common?


It sets the mood, invokes memories and feelings - in a subtle, almost unconscious way.

Texture, as a language, a way of communicating – picked my interest when I started to experiment with molten metal and the wonderful texture it creates.
Since then, I started noticing the crucial role texture plays in communicating messages in the world of art.

Irises, by Van Gogh
Take for example my beloved Van Gogh.

A few weeks ago, at the Los Angeles Getty Center, I was able to stand as close as it gets without actually touching - to some of his wonderful paintings.

Look at texture of this painting and the energy it projects – it speaks volumes of the stormy feelings inside the painter.

It almost feels like Van Gogh was compelled to paint it - it was his way to manage internal storms.

Is it a wonder he painted so much - sometimes a painting a day?

Another corner of this wonderful painting. Just look at the earth.
It lives and breathes
Can you imagine how different his paintings would be in watercolors?

Keep the colors, even use the same brushstrokes – just take away the texture.

In Van Gogh's case, I think, texture acts in a similar way to body language. It reveals so much about his inner world.

The other time I was amazed by how expressive texture can be, was when I visited the Accademia museum in Florence Italy.
The corridor in the Accademia museum 

Tenths of people, standing in line to get into the museum and see one of the most famous sculptures in the world -  David by Michelangelo. 

David stands at the end of a small gallery – demanding your attention from the minute you walk in.

But despite its beauty, what caught my attention were 4 unfinished sculptures – the slaves.

'The awakening'
Commissioned by Pope Julius as part of a majestic tomb he was planning for himself - plans which ironically - were changed by his ...death.


Michelangelo never finished the slave sculptures.

You can see the powerful body, the taught muscles, the huge calf or shoulder - but the body is trapped in the stone.

Rough, heavy, immovable stone. 

You can FEEL the slaves are trying to break away, but are imprisoned in stone, held by everlasting marble chains.

While I am sure these sculptures would have been magnificent if finished – I think the sense of being trapped into a situation you cannot escape from – could never be as powerfully conveyed as it is today by these unfinished masterpieces.

To me, the use of texture in art and jewelry making in particular - unveiled a new and fascinating language.
The first time I consciously used texture in my jewelry making, was in my branches collection, where I leveraged the reticulation technique to create abstract winter pictures of tree branches and snow.
A necklace from my 'Winter Branches' collection
Lately, started to play with different ways of using texture as means to convey a natural, worn, stand the test of time kind of feeling.

Learning the alphabet of textures, and starting to spell my own words.

Form kept simple, colors provided by purple plant and rain.
Texture takes center stage
As always, glad to hear your comments and thoughts –
.....wishing you a great end to 2013, and a wonderful 2014 :)


Monday, December 9, 2013

More than meets the eye - Narrative jewelry by Sarah Joyce

What makes a piece of jewelry valuable to us?
The worth of its diamonds?
The superior craftsmanship?
The artist signature?

While all the above certainly contribute to its value, it is my personal belief, that the piece of jewelry we never want to take off - is the one with which we made a personal, intimate connection. 
Whether it reminds us of a person, a place or a time that is dear to us - this necklace or brooch tells a story that strikes a chord in our heart.
Black Jet Victorian Mourning Buttons and original thread..with initials

As an art history and visual arts major, Sarah Joyce has a deep understanding of the world that hides behind the aesthetics of an art piece.
Taking a course called ‘conservation of antiquities’ channeled her attraction to historic figures and their stories, into a career dedicated to saving fragile, vulnerable objects.

After years of working in museums, galleries and conservation projects around the world, Sarah went beyond saving other people’s art, and started to create jewelry.

I actually began making found object jewelry in 1987.  I was in a few exhibitionsand there was interest in my work…but it wasn't the right time for me.   I was working full time at a very demanding job and I found it difficult to sustain a creative practice.  But the thread of Poultice Jewellery is definitely connected to that early work…and extends back to my earliest interest in saving and recombining fragile, vulnerable objects.  I began operating under 'Poultice' in 2009”

The model Ashley wearing Navdanya
Sarah’s creating process starts with research and the discovery of people’s stories, here is an example:

Let me tell you about Lodore, Rescue Chatelaine.  Lodore was the result of my obsession with the story of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.   I had been reading every biography I could and was making  pieces about Mary and Percy Shelley the poet.   I began reading letters between Mary, her family and friends, including some from her mother the amazing Mary Wollstonecraft.   I kept coming across little snippets of information about a half-sister Fanny.
 I went in search of Fanny…who has been largely forgotten in this very famous, creative and emotional family.  When Mary ran away Fanny became very depressed and committed suicide at the age of 22, right at the time Mary was nearing the end of her famous book.  It became very important to me to understand what drove Fanny to take this terrible step. The more I read, the more I began to understand how she must have felt; abandoned, helpless, without hope.  This is how Lodore began; me searching for a vulnerable, lost soul.

Only after the pieces of the stories came together, does the jewelry creation begin.   

I use certain elements again and again as a recurring material language.  For example a white Victorian button always means domesticity or 'women's' rolesIn the case of Lodore the role of domesticity (and the white button) take on a darker meaning.  I've combined it with a hookedforktang…I think it looks a bit like a claw.  I needed a way for Fanny to dig holes so the seeds I have included in the bottle could flower (because she never had the chance). I'm not sure how I arrived at a claw…but it seemed right…and the shape of it feels a bit desperate.  
Lodore, Rescue Chatelaine with the bitten gold heart
Lodore had been sitting on my studio table for some time…I couldn't find a way to finish it.   I kept changing the elements….but nothing seemed quite right.    I was living on a gulf island at the time and a friend told me that an old house was being torn down and they were going to have a big bonfire. The next day he arrived with a box…in it were the most amazing old finds. Delicate Victorian jet beads, other bits and pieces and a little gold heart.  It was obviously a child's necklace…with a delicate gold thread chain.  The heart was covered in tiny bites right into the soft gold.  I imagine from a child teething…I knew immediately it connected with Fanny as a little girl.   I recalled Fanny's mother had written about baby Fanny biting her as she nursed. This letter opened a window to an intimate and tender moment between a mother and child.  So…the bitten heart became Fanny's… connecting herback to her mother…the wonderful Marry Wollstonecraft who died when Fanny was 3 years old.    
Fanny was also a writer…of letters.  She wrote with feeling...and her sweet character jumps off the page. I always use pen nibs to represent writers.   I knew she deserved a pen nib. This nib is bound tightly…as Fanny was bound.  When poor Fanny was found in a hotel room in Wales, she was wearing her Mother's corset.  This was so meaningful to me...I began to do an awful lot of research on corsets of the time.  I worked out how old the corset must be…and tried to find instances of her mother mentioning a corset.  The construction of the corset-like form around the bottle has the appearance of being locked…though I have added a little jewelled hinge…but I've also added a partial key.  There always has to be a key to desperate situations.  The whole necklace refers to the domestic Chatelaines women wore around their waists.  So that is how Lodore came to be! 

Every one of Sarah’s pieces is accompanied by a card that tells the piece’s story. 

I create a card containing the narrativeOn the front is a unique collaged image that relates to the piece of jewelry. Because they are one-off cards I just go to our trusty printer and have a couple printed at a time.  One card stays with me, one goes with the piece of jewelery. “ 
A narrative card for Endymion

In a world filled with mass produced jewelry, where every piece is exactly what meets the eye – how wonderful is to find pieces of wearable art, that beyond adorning our favorite dress also expand our world intellectually and emotionally?

The pen nib with burned wings used in the piece 'Caged'
Why would someone spend days, weeks or perhaps months creating one of a kind pieces rather than go for a more commercial approach?

I am happiest when I am being creative.   I prefer being inspired by objects that have past lives and histories, rather than creating new objects.
I enjoy creating pieces about women in history who have faced challenging times. Women who are creative and wear their humanity on their sleeve.  I have a soft spot for the late 18th and early 19th century. I love to immerse myself in this world.  I try to make my pieces intelligent, unconventional…suggestive of something quite magical in the use of combined materials.

Spanish Steps (Angels), a labour-intensive piece.
My approach probably does come at a bit of a price. I work slowly, so my monetary return is probably lower than someone who makes multiples.  Although some pieces come together faster than others…very few of the pieces come together quickly.  The conceptual stage (reading, research) takes a long time.  But research is also a great love.... so I'm quite happy doing it. I do feel I am making art.  I choose to work this way because this whole process I have developed engages me in a very deep way. Every new piece I work on becomes a completely new creative challenge.   The process combines my favorite areas of interest - historic research, writing stories, searching for and combining found objects, telling stories. I don't create with any specific audience in mind …unless I'm doing a commission.  I want to create work that is meaningful for me and then I hope others will like it too.”

Sarah in her studio
As someone who started creating  jewelry just a couple of years ago, Sarah’s voice is an inspiration to me. An acknowledgement that it is perfectly OK not to go with the general design wisdom of selecting your audience and only creating what they want. It is OK to create work that is meaningful to me – and to hope, maybe even actively look for :) people that will like it too.

Thank you Sarah, for inspiring me, and maybe others as well.
I am sure you would like to see more of Sarah work:
Here are links to her Facebook page and her web site,

Until next time,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

From sketch to the finished jewelry piece - join me in my studio!

Handmade fine jewelry, artisan jewelry, one of a kind....
What does it really mean?
What does it take to create a unique piece of jewelry?

Want to take a look behind the scenes, see how I create my jewelry pieces?
Here is a short video for you

Like it?
I hope so.

I would also like to let you know, that for one week only, starting THIS Wednesday, until December 3rd
ALL items in my store are at 25% off AND free shipping worldwide.

Yes, including these flower baskets!

No better time than now, to take a look at my ETSY store and get your favorite piece of jewelry at a reduced price.

Click here to find your new favorite piece of handmade fine jewelry!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Lalique - the art, the artist and ....the moon

Brooch by Rene Lalique

 It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
And in the case of Rene Lalique's work - no words can really describe the exquisite beauty of his art pieces.
this is also one of the cases where it is worth going beyond admiring the art and realize the greatness of the artist.

Rene Lalique was a rare individual: he possessed the ability to pursue and excel in two distinct careers, initially as an exclusive jewelry designer and later as the creator of stunning commercial glassware. - this is how Eric Knowles starts his review of Lalique.


Even more remarkable, is the fact that Lalique's career spanned two artistic periods - the Art Nouveau and the Art Deco - and while he remained loyal to his famous 3 'F' inspiration sources (fauna, flora and female) - his designs evolved and were at the leading edge of both artistic styles.

A gold enamel and opal wooded landscape plaque
inset with diamonds
Above and beyond these facts, there are two things which make Lalique a very unique artist.

The first one is his ability to innovate and reinvent the fundamental assumptions of both jewelry and glass arts.
Just think about it for a moment:
Would it occur to you to value a painting based on the price of the paint and canvass used to create it? Sounds silly, right?
But in the jewelry domain, what is more obvious than to price the piece based on the material it's made of?

Lillies of the valley,
horn, gold, opaque enamel on gold hair comb. 
Lalique challenged this concept.
While he used gold and diamonds in his creations, he loved semiprecious stones, in particular Opals.

He used enamel, glass and bronze in his jewelry pieces - and created a new standard for judging a piece's worth -
the artistic merit rather than the materials used.

Jewelry becomes Art, not just decorative art.

His innovations in the jewelry field included the use of non-traditional materials, for example horn, as well as technical innovations such as its transparent enamel technique - 'plique-a-jour'.

Which brings me to the second reason I admire Lalique's genius.

The kiss. Brooch in silver and pressed glass.
Swans vase. Blown glass in silver mount.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Lalique mastered two distinct mediums. To most of us, there is very little in common between metal and glass, but let's take a closer look.
Enamel is a vitreous material, basically glass powder.
Lalique's work with glass, started when he perfected his Enamel technique. At some point he started incorporating sculpted glass pieces in his jewelry.
But his innovative mind did not stop there.
He mastered the lost wax technique used in jewelry from antiquity, and applied it to glass - producing vases with unbelievable detail - not really achievable in any other way.
Remember the Opals he loved? - He experimented until he achieved the same type of opalescent effect in glass making use of the interplay between light and the glass transparency

Peacock bodice front. Gold, enamel, opal and brilliants

While there are quite a few artists that mastered more than one medium - take geniuses like Michelangelo as an example - few were able to blend them in such an innovative and creative way.  

Bacchantes. Lalique's famous sculpted glass vase
Two peacocks table lamp. Glass.

Hunt centerpiece, glass

One of Lalique's famous perfume bottles. Another innovation
as until his time, you would buy perfume in plain bottles and
pour it into your decorative bottle.
Are you familiar with the saying:

"Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you will still be among the stars" ?

Well, if there was even an artist I would set as "my" moon - this would be Lalique.

And the stars in this case, are still very far away - but definitely a worthy target.

This post was inspired by a long weekend my husband and I spent in France recently.
While the official reason for this trip was a family wedding, some of its highlights were seeing Lalique's work.

If you are in France, go see the 'Museum des Art Decoratifs' in Paris as well as Lalique's Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder.

Here are the relevant links:
This is the museum in Paris:
This is Lalique museum in Alsace region:

Suzanne. An opalescent statuette, fitted for illumination

Hope you enjoyed the read,
bye for now

Saturday, November 2, 2013

When history, color and jewelry meet

The old city of Akko - A view from the top of the surrounding walls
There are many stunningly beautiful places

Some of them have fascinating stories to tell

…few of these would really inspire you and make you fall in love.

If in the last post I was inspired by people - this time its about a place.

I recently spent a day in one of the most beautiful, interesting and fascinating cities in Israel – Akko (Acre).

Layers of history ( physical layers of the city from Crusaders’ time and Ottoman empire ) – topped with a living breathing city.

"Inn of the Columns". The best preserved khan in Israel
Constructed during the rule of Ahmed Jezzar Pasha in the Ottoman era

 ....Cat napping in the sun on the first floor

Just under the napping cat, an oriental gift shop.

A symphony of color – the cream color of ancient buildings, the turquoise doors ( protection against evil eye) and the unbelievable colors of the fishing port and the old market.

The fishing port. Akko is one of the oldest port cities in the world

Fishing boats, resting now after the night fishing trips
Colorful spices in the old market. Oh the smells ....
 Fancy a fresh glass of red grapefruit juice?
I had one. Yummy!

Exotic fruit in the old market. by this time I was drunk with colors and smells.
Baskets filled with Pomegranates everywhere
Inspiring blend of 4 religions (Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Bahai) and many cultures coexisting, living together.

Muslim prayer - see the plastic chairs just behind him? A family was having an early lunch
were they Muslims? Christians? Jews? No idea. Coexistance

The old clock tower. 
This square tower was build in 1906 to commemorate 25 years of Sultan Abdul Hamid II's rule.

Four clocks were added to the top of the tower in the early 1960s:

On the southern face - Hebrew letters used as numerals.
On the eastern face - Arabic numerals
On the northen face - Western style numerals
On the western face - Roman numerals

I liked Akko when I first saw it, years ago. 
Every time I go there, I discover something new, a new story, a new layer, a new angle of light reveling yet another secret.

Needless to say, at the end of this day, the thought of creating an Akko inspired jewelry collection crossed my mind.

And speaking of jewelry, I thought this is a good time to share with you one of my necklaces that was inspired by ancient designs.

Rest your eyes after all these colors with monochrome silver,
Stay with the intricately combined layers – this time woven loops of fine silver wire
Ancient design, from Etruscans and the Roman times
A handmade. fine silver Roman chain necklace,

In a unisex version -

And in the artisan version, combined with a one of a kind pendant that doubles as a clasp.
What do you think of it?

Hope you enjoyed this short virtual trip.
And if old colorful historic places inspire you as well, why don't you share with us in the comment?

until next time,


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beautiful inside and out - inspiring ladies with silver hair

A few months ago, I started this blog in order to share with like minded people things that inspire me.
In most cases it is the beauty in unexpected places that delights me, the discovery of a story I did not know before.

It is very seldom that I stumble across something that is as beautiful as it is inspiring.
Something that provides an answer to a question we have all been asked when were children:
"What do you want to be when you grow up"

When I saw the 'Fashionistas 2013' video last week, I was inspired and moved by these women.
By their love of life, positive energy and hope.

Before sharing this video with you, a personal note:
This post is in honor of my grandmother, who passed away 16 years ago at the age of 93.
Raised to be a lady, well read and versed in the art of playing the piano and making beautiful embroidery - she had no problem moving to a new country when she was in her sixties, work as a nanny to supplement her meager income and marry when she was well in her seventies.
Her white silver hair, her hugs and smile will stay with me forever.
Thank you grandma, for being you. I love you and I miss you.

...and now, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy!

The Fashionistas

Until next time,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Latte and more, for the creative mind ;)

Let's play a game.
When I say art, what are the first 3 words that come to your mind?
Waiting .....
Is trees on your list? Latte? Perhaps bears?
If not, you may want to read this!

Coffee art by Kazuki Yamamoto
Let's start in the morning. What do most of us do?
Have a cup of coffee, right?
How about one that looks like this?
Quite a way to start the day!

Kazuki Yamamoto, a 26 old barista from Osaka, makes 3D latte sculptures.

Do you think this is less of an artwork than the ones hanging in a gallery?
I don't.

In some ways I even like it better as it is way more creative to sculpt with milk foam than with more traditional materials.

See more pictures below, as well as a nice article if you want to read more.  

Giraffe latte sculpture!

This one is my favorite :)

Fishing cat latte art

Enough coffee for today?
Let's take a walk, and since we can choose any place we like, why not the Chinese district of Shijiazhuang? 
You have a dog? Take it with you, as he may also like this :)

Painting on trees by Wang Yu
23-year-old art student Wang Yu is transforming the streets into an open air gallery with her beautiful tree paintings.
The paintings are mostly of animal and plants, maintaining a naturalistic look.

And, not to worry, the paintings have been approved by the environmental protection bureau who confirms the paints do not harm the trees.

A beautiful combination of art, nature and out of the box thinking.
I love it!

Fancy a good cold German beer now, after all this walking? 
Let's go to Frankfurt, Germany and look for a nice place in the downtown. 
No beer, but look at these bears!

These pictures were taken by me in a recent trip to Frankfurt. 

Artistic bears (and some rabbits) wonderfully crafted to
the last detail. 

Amazing work.

Took a lot of will power to buy only a small puppet!

See the pictures below and you will probably agree with me.

Can't remember if this one was Bach or Mozart...I should have taken notes ...

Another beautifully detailed bear. Just look at the lace collar!

Creativity comes in so many shapes and forms, and inspiration is literally all around us.

Waiting for us to take the time and pay attention.

If you love inspiring and unconventional pieces of art,
you may enjoy my post on painting with stone.

Register for the email updates, more inspiring things on the way! 

Go be creative, and have a wonderful day!

Until next time,