Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Get to know: Amanda Hunt Jewelry

The first Amanda Hunt design I saw was a cuff ring in brass with two crescent moons - the texture, the style and the way it suites a pointer finger perfectly convinced me to explore more of her work.


Amanda started taking metalsmith classes as a hobby five or so years ago - at the time she was a dancer and dance instructor. She wanted to transition to a career less taxing on her body but was looking for something that still allowed her to be creative. Because of the positive reaction from her friends and family to her creations, she starting thinking about jewelry design as a career.
 
 
The process: "I always have a sketchbook going for my current collection and a separate one for my next collection.  I sketch all the time.  But I don’t always end up creating all the pieces from the sketches.  A good amount of pieces come from experimenting with wax forms and playing in metal."

The inspiration: Myth, symbolism and nature.

"I love folk tales and talismans and how these things resonate on a deeper level and give meaning to our lives.  I love anything pertaining to the collective unconscious and the knowledge and symbols that we all share as humans.  These things always work their way somehow into a collection. Everything I make always has a story behind it so someone can connect to the jewelry on a deeper level beyond just the beauty of the piece."

Favorite design: "I really love the Two Moon Ring.  It looks lovely on everyone and it is so comfortable to wear yet so bold.  It feels like magic on my hand. "

Favorite artists: "I love Andy Goldsworthy.  I’m obsessed with his documentary “Rivers & Tides” and his process in creating art, and then letting it go so gracefully.  I love the writer Clarissa Pinkola Estes and her book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”.  It has inspired a lot of my pieces.  And I love the German choreographer, Pina Bausch.  Her unique expressions of the basic human experience with themes like life, love, and loss really rock me to my core." 

When not designing and creating Amanda usually takes her dog for a hike, explores the local record or thrift store or reads a book from her massive "to-read" pile. She loves making random wall hangings out of random things in her house. She also loves camping in the summer and dancing, of course.

"I really love to throw a good dinner party. Since I am alone most of the day I like to be gregarious at night." 

Currently listening to:
Band:  First Aid Kit
Song: Manhattan by Cat Power
Album: Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens

See more designs by Amanda Hunt here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Get to know: Freestone Peach

Meet Joel, owner of Freestone Peach and the creative mind behind the most beautiful bangles I have ever seen.


Joel didn't make it through business school, so while figuring out a job he started experimenting in his father's wood shop. Eventually he got the hang of turning wood and polishing gems.

 
The process: First he scrounges for the wood, looking in scrap bins, orchards and in the forest. Her looks for wood with character so he takes his time digging through piles to find the perfect piece. Joel then turns the wood into a rough shape and looks for a figure in it.


 
"I may have a black piece sitting on the shelf for a year before I put a stone in it, I like to contemplate the best matches between wood and stone."


Once he has selected the stone and wood, he builds the bracelet in an organic and freestyle way which is unique to each piece.
 
 
The inspiration: Japanese aesthetics, especially Shibui Arts and Crafts. Also, colorful paintings.

"I practically paint with gems and wood."

He continued on to say, "I think second chances and relationships are fundamentally at the heart of my work. The wood could not stand alone by itself. It is typically next in line for the burn pile. The stones don't make the cut as most cull through them. I take the two imperfect materials and marry them together. The wood provides a darkling and elegant structure that holds the stone together. The gems fill the emptiness of the timber with an astringent spontaneity and new life."

 
 
 
 
 
 
When I asked Joel about his favorite artists and designers he gave me a long list : "Louis Comfort Tiffany. Gustav Stickley. Frank Lloyd Wright. Anything Shibui. Anish Kapoor. Martin Puryear. Roy Lichtenstein. Richard Serra. Maya LinGiuseppe PenoneAnything on @Thirdcoastgems' Instagram feed. Plus, Todd Reed (not sure when I found him, but I love the textures in the metals that he does!)"

Music he is currently listening to in the shop? Loscil on Pandora. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Designer love: Solange Azagury-Partridge

 

Thanks to the February issue of Elle magazine and Lena Dunham, I have a new jewelry designer obsession - Solange Azagury-Patrige, a London-based designer whose jewelry was used in the punk-rock styled shoot.
 
These earrings in particular caught my eye:
While Solange's designs seem to be all over the place, the more I looked, the more I noticed the nuances that connected all of the designs. She has a clear vision with multiple collections. Whimsical, edgy and colorful - fun fine jewelry, if you will.
 
 
I really love her use of hearts, and I'm not typically one for heart jewelry.



 

 
Whimsical enamel animal rings, these are my two favorites.
 
She also does stunning, huge, interesting pieces so well.

 

 


 
 


 
And the statement necklaces!


 
See more designs here - the newest collection is called "Chromance", a love affair with color!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jewelry stores to visit in and around Los Angeles

On a recent trip to California I had some free time to visit a few jewelry stores, here are the three I loved the most. My list of stores to visit on the West Coast is still very long, but I'm checking them off slowly.  



August is one of the chosen stores that carries Gabriella Kiss and Ted Muehling, so before visiting, I was pretty sure I'd love it. I always expected these stores to be a bit stuck up, not sure why! Perhaps the minimalism and elite nature of being one of the few stores selected. However, the sales gal, Regina, and owner, Bill, were amazing. Very nice, very interesting and, to top it all off, pet lovers!This shop is a must visit for lovers of high-quality fine jewelry.



Also, a few of my favorite pieces from the store, including some Gabriella Kiss designs I had never seen before!
Ted Muehling earrings - the way these clasp is amazing, a flawless part of the design.



 Three Gabriella Kiss pieces I had never seen before. The top mushroom bracelet incorporates raw diamond cubes!
 And my dream Gabriella Kiss ring. Look at that moonstone!


And, speaking of moonstones, these Nicole Landau earrings are perfection.






This store is a must visit! So many books and gifts and jewelry! When visiting I purchased a pair of gold safety pin earrings by Loren Stewart. I also discovered this ring by Conroy And Wilcox.




If you're in Venice, specifically on Abbot Kinney this is a store you need to stop in, they have amazing collection of jewels. While visiting I met co-owner, Ritz. She was kind enough to talk to me about the designers she carries and why she loves them. Ritz is drawn to big statement pieces. I was thrilled to see that she carries a favorite of mine, Jacqueline Cullen, who creates amazing pieces out of jet and black diamonds! Also in the collection, more favorites of mine,  Polly Wales, Satomi Kawakita and Kathleen Whitaker

New favorites from the store: