Friday, January 30, 2009

Reverie Jewelry by Alison Woodward

If the arts and crafts movement is indeed in revivalist mode as many predict, putting vintage Koos van den Akker jackets, mixed print and quilted, front and center along with Mary McFadden braided belts, then surely chunky jewelry is going to stick around for a while. Good news for Alison Woodward, who skillfully crafts large-scale pieces that are highly ornate and rich in tone.

Woodward’s forte is re-thinking the contextual nature of vintage elements, changing their lifeline through reconfiguration. Shells, color-drenched with paint, are arranged in a flower formation and dressed up with vintage ribbon…a brass mechanic’s shop plaque is given new life with 1950s rhinestone adornments. Some of the pieces are more straightforward, but all will have you daydreaming, just as the designer predicts with the jewelry line’s chosen name – Reverie.

To view styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Web site.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blue Bayer

Long time East Village resident Blue Bayer spent many, many years crafting smoking pipes and selling them to locals until he meet a young kid entranced with Steam Punk and everything kind of fell in to place. As if destiny itself was calling, the encounter lead Bayer to become re-inspired with his youthful obsessions like turn-of-the-century science fiction, and he started translating the gruesome design aesthetic he used in his pipe-crafting into wearable jewelry assembled from found objects.

Bayer’s line, called Assemblagio, flaunts pieces that marry clock parts with hand-blown glass eyes, and dangle hummingbird skulls cast in 18k gold. Many designs have been enhanced with modeling clays and aging solvents to impart an antique appearance. But here’s the best part – Blue writes like Bukowski, on full display in his Etsy store listings. From Pat (a battle scarred old guy from Queens) to Stone Gnome (a lady who sells him gemstones and adopts a lot cats) Bayer has stories, lots of them, and he tells them in such a real-deal manner that you can become distracted and forget how frickin’ amazing his jewelry is…almost, but not quite.

To browse styles visit the designer’s Web site. It’s connected to his Etsy store.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yasmin Kuhn Design

Perhaps it's winter doldrums nipping at our psyche that has us turning our thoughts, ever so early, to the coming of spring (the dance of bright colors, the wispy feminine fabrics, the sprightly footwear). So, yes, perking up is in order, and Yasmin Kuhn's cheery jewelry pieces are a flawless tonic for battling the blues.

Emulating flower lei silhouettes, Kuhn, a RISD graduate, bundles clear and frosted acrylic beads in chunky arrangements, some monochromatic, others with scattered colors. Most selections are available as a single 20" or in a longer 36" length that can artfully be wrapped around the neck several times.

To view styles and store listings, visit the designer's Web site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Metamorphosis of Gauged Jewelry

Will the mainstream fashion industry forever turn a blind eye to the mounting popularity of gauged jewelry? Maybe, maybe not, but the reality is that more and more designers are artistically moving beyond industrial ear plugs, and producing more palatable pieces.

One of our favorite stores Robot, nestled in Portland, has amassed a worthy online collection of ear adornments from local designers such as Lobey Wan, who produces pretty elements in shapes of frogs and angel wings, and Cheryl Lisowski, whose line Heart of Metal flaunts hoops intricately woven with brightly colored thread (above right).

To browse styles and purchase, visit Robot’s online store.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Specimen Jewelry

Designer Carrie Yee is an ardent enthusiast of anthropology infusing her Specimen jewelry line with elements such as coyote teeth (paired with Indian glass beads) and shark vertebrae (nestled with skulls carved from nuts).

Of course, lots of on-trend feathers make an appearance in her pieces, as well as shells and semi-precious stones, but it’s her arrangements that are bewitching, such as the Hawaiian Fish Hook necklace, flaunting an off-center bone pendant on chain braided into cord.

Until recently, one had to visit Yee’s booth at the Brooklyn Flea to snap up one of her creations, but no more…a just launched Etsy shop offers a chunk of the Specimen collection online.