It might seem strange, but most of my designs come to me while I’m sleeping. It’s true!
I’ll dream about a shape first, then later it becomes a rough design, or sometimes the designs are obvious, and I’ll wake up, draw a quick sketch in a notebook I keep next to my bed, then drift off back to sleep. There’s nothing worse than losing an idea that has great potential. I’ve learned this lesson before, so when inspiration strikes, I make sure to document it; otherwise, it may be lost forever.
My designs are influenced by architecture, modern art, geometric shapes, and nature.
I process the world around me, translating structures and objects into small wearable pieces of art.
I’m inspired by modern art and artists such as Mark Rothko, Sonia, Robert Delaunay, and Alexander Calder, who is mainly known for his large-scale mobiles, but was also a jewelry artist. I also find inspiration from the works of African American modernist jewelry designers Art Smith and Winifred Mason (who were jewelry designers in the 1940s and 50s).
Art Smith was influenced by surrealism and primitivism and considered the human form in every aspect of his work, from design to being worn:
“A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are. Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with. It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”
Winifred Mason, a mentor to Art Smith, worked primarily in copper. West Indian cultural traditions heavily influenced her designs, and she later went on to sell her one-of-a-kind pieces in several premier department stores. Mason was the first commercial African-American jeweler in the United States.
My contemporary and minimalist jewelry is influenced by many diverse sources.
My designs are all structural, linear, and contemporary - inspired by my love of science and my affinity for art, architecture (especially mid-century modern), nature, and African and abstract objects. Buildings, bridges, or wrought-iron gates help me envision the elements that could become a necklace, earrings, or a bracelet.
It’s not difficult to see the influence of other artists, art and architecture in my work.
My idea for a piece often starts with a single beautiful gemstone, which inspires the design around it. After a design is conceived, I use hammers, punches, and dies to form shapes using recycled sterling silver wire or sheets. I’m always striving to design jewelry incorporating elements of movement and flow.
Inside my Studio before a Show
When I’m getting ready for a new collection, or an in-person show, I’m usually head down at my bench for weeks, getting everything exactly as I want it. It can get a little bit chaotic in the studio when creative juices are flowing. I spend my days ordering materials, gemstones and am absorbed in designing and making. I'm also fulfilling orders from collectors who saw my work at a show, went to my website and placed an order.
Below is a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes pre-show chaos:
The James Renwick Gallery JRA Day Show
I’m very excited (okay, I'm over the moon) to share that I got accepted to the James Renwick Gallery JRA Day virtual and in-person shows in November and December.
The James Renwick Alliance is the membership arm of art enthusiasts, collectors, artists, and educators for the James Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. It is the Smithsonian museum dedicated to contemporary American craft.
This prestigious art show is similar to the Smithsonian Craft Show. These types of shows require more artistic jewelry pieces, which are perfectly aligned with my work. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m honored to be included. At the in-person show in December, I will be launching a new collection in 14K solid gold.
For more information about the JRA show: https://www.jra.org/jra-day.html.
If you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, I’d love to see you at an upcoming show:
I hope you will come to one of the shows. I would love to meet and show you my jewelry line in-person.
Can’t make it to a show? Check back often to see what’s new in my online shop!Continue reading