• 'Faberge Rediscovered' On View at Hillwood Museum

    This Faberge Music Box is on view at the Hillwood 'Faberge Rediscovered' exhibition Faberge Music Box, 1907 (Henrik Wigstrom, workmaster). Made in St. Petersburg for for Felix and Zinaida Yusopov. The music box is one of the highlights of the 'Faberge Rediscovered' exhibition at Hillwood Museum. Photo used with permission.


    The 'Faberge Rediscovered' exhibition at Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C. promises a "fresh look at the works of Faberge, revealing new information, attributions, and provenances for Hillwood's objects..." {1}


    Marjorie Merriweather Post

    Marjorie Merriweather Post had exquisite taste in objets d'art. Her fondness for Russian decorative arts prompted her to collect hundreds of Russian works over her lifetime. She displayed her collections in her Washington, D.C. home which she called Hillwood.

    Hillwood served as her private residence for nearly 25 years. There, she hosted lavish garden parties during the spring season. The estate sits upon 25 acres of land in a natural woodland setting. Visitors can meander through 13 acres of formal gardens, including Japanese and French parterre gardens. In 1977, following Ms. Post's death, Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens opened its doors as a public museum.


    Faberge Music Box

    This year, Hillwood Museum pays tribute to Peter Carl Faberge, the most legendary Russian jeweler of all time. His commissioned pieces filled the treasuries of Russian royals, and reached beyond the borders of Russia into the UK, France, and much of Europe during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    In 1927, Marjorie Merriweather Post brought her first piece of Faberge art to America. Pictured above, this exquisite amethyst quartz music box was fashioned by the house of Faberge under the direction of workmaster Henrik Wigstrom. In 1907, Felix and Nikolai Yusopov commissioned Faberge to create the music box as a gift for their parents' (Felix and Zinaida Yusopov) 25th wedding anniversary.

    The music box represents what is undeniably the finest example of Faberge enameling. Decorated in the Louis XVI style, the music box features six sepia enamel panels feature renderings of six of Yusopov palaces. The thumbpiece bears the Roman numerals XXV set in diamonds. Each family member's initials appear in the lower four corners of the octagonal box. When opened, the music box plays the march of Prince Felix's regimental march, "The White Lady."


    Faberge Rediscovered

    The Yusopov Music Box is just one of over 100 Faberge works on display at Hillwood Museum during the Faberge Rediscovered exhibition. These important works include the greatest examples from Hillwood's Faberge collection, as well as important loans from private collections and other museums.

    Certainly, in keeping with Ms. Post's standards, every piece is beautiful, exquisitely crafted, and associated in some way with royalty. Curated in three distinct sections, Faberge Rediscovered will, without a doubt, delight visitors at every turn. The first section draws you into the 19th-century showroom of esteemed jeweler Peter Carl Faberge.

    Since no artist is without his muse, the exhibition focuses first on Faberge's inspirations. Hence, they invite you to explore the process and creation of works that Faberge would have drawn inspiration from. Additionally, you will see original drawings from the Faberge workshops that have never before been seen by the public.

    Following Faberge's inspiration, step into the second section, where official commissions from the Russian court, the aristocracy, and foreign royals hold center stage. Undeniably the most exciting portion of the exhibition, this is where you will see Faberge's exquisite works up close and in person. Highlights of this section include three Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs and the Yusopov Music Box.

    Finally, the third section focuses on Faberge's Russian and foreign contemporaries and competitors. Works by Ovchinnikov, the Grachev Brothers, and Cartier carry visitors through to other important pieces fashioned in the context of war and revolution. In the light of such a tumultuous time in history, the museum emphasizes the importance of American art dealers and collectors. Without them, Faberge's influence may have ended with the fall of the Russian imperial regime. Highlights of this section include an egg-shaped basket and bell push attributed to Faberge's most exacting workmaster, Mikhail Perkhin.


    Exhibition Details

    Faberge Rediscovered is on view until January 2019, at Hillwood Museum, Estate, and Gardens. Located in Washington, D.C., Hillwood Museum is open to the public Tuesday - Sunday from 10am to 5pm. For more information and directions, we invite you to visit Hillwood's website.


    1. Kate Market, Hillwood's executive director, quoted on Hillwood Museum's webiste. Accessed August 15, 2018.

  • Cassandra Vitiello Begins Her Jewelry Career at CJExpo in Toronto

    Cassandra Vitiello exhibits "Stars, Hide Your Fires" this month at CJExpos in Toronto, Canada. Cassandra Vitiello exhibits "Stars, Hide Your Fires" this month at CJExpos in Toronto, Canada.


    In 2017, Cassandra Vitiello won the Vaccaro Family Scholarship with her entry called "Stars, Hide Your Fires." To emphasize the year's theme, "Canadian Elements," Cassandra fashioned the pendant out of sterling silver and embedded three bezel set garnets in the sky. She sculpted the silver hills using the lost wax method with a cuttlefish bone.


    Cassandra Vitiello, Canadian Jewelry Designer

    Cassandra Vitiello immersed herself in the study of art, beginning at John Abbott College. In particular, she studied painting, printmaking, and sculpture. As a hobby, she made wire-wrapped and beaded jewelry. She soon learned that the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD) offered a jewelry program.

    She recently graduated from their jewelry design and metalsmithing programs. Her first exhibition is coming up this August 12th through 14th. During the Canadian Jewellery Expos, held in Toronto, Canada, visitors can view Canadian jewelry designer's work up close and in person.

    This opportunity for Cassandra to share her work at the "crossroads for the industry" is a testament to her talent and to the generosity and pay-it-forward ethos of the Giovanni 'John' Vaccaro. {1}


    Giovanni 'John' Vaccaro

    John Vaccaro moved from France to Canada when he was just 4 years old. Unfortunately, his father sustained an injury that ended his career in forestry. After that, his father signed up with a governmental retraining program. He chose to learn the skill of jewelry polishing, as did his wife. When John was 8 years old, he began his apprenticeship with his father in jewelry polishing.

    Though he appreciated his father's tutelage, he found that he felt more passionate about diamond setting. After graduating from George Brown College, he secured another apprenticeship, this time with A & A Jewellers. The Canadian manufacturing firm took a chance on him, giving him a small wage and encouraging him to do his best.

    After many years of learning the manufacturing side of jewelry, he and his brother Cosmo wanted to open a jewelry manufacturing firm of their own. Their parents encouraged them to pay their dues on the retail side of the business first. Seventeen years later, they received their parents' blessing to start their own manufacturing company.


    Beverly Hills Jewellers

    Beverly Hills Jewellers opened its doors in 1999. Unfortunately, Cosmo passed away from a serious brain infection in 2006. John struggled with the loss of his brother and business partner. However, after several months of grieving, he rallied himself around the promise they made to each other to keep the business going for their children.

    Despite the loss and struggles that ensued, Beverly Hills Jewellers remains true to their mission to create exquisite, elegant jewelry made by Canadians in Canada using as many Canadian resources as possible. "My parents always said that if it wasn't for Canada, they would not have had the opportunities they had. It was something that was very dear to them and has always stayed with me and Cosmo," John told Jacquie De Almeida. {2}


    The Vaccaro Family Scholarship

    This is the 5th annual design competition sponsored by CJ Expos and Giovanni 'John' Vaccaro, of Beverly Hills Jewellers in Ontario.  John continues to commit himself to the encouragement and mentorship of the next generation of Canadian jewelers. From this desire to nourish up-and-coming jewelry designers, the Vaccaro Family Scholarship was born.

    "The scholarship is about giving someone a chance to be allowed to do what they love doing. There's nothing better than coming to work and loving what you do," John says. {3}

    Without reservation, we invite you to view the premiere exhibition of 2017's scholarship winner, Cassandra Vitiello, on August 12-14. In addition, we hope you will enjoy the exhibition of this year's applicants around the the "Starry Night" theme. Find more information on the CJ Expos website.


    1. Sabharwal, Kavita. "Giving Back." Canadian Jeweller, December/January 2014.
    2. De Almeida, Jacquie. "Beverly Hills Jewellers: Paying it Forward." Jewellery Business, May 1, 2014.
    3. Ibid.

  • Pacific Northwest Jewelry Artists Exhibit at BAM

    Pacific Northwest Jewelry Artist Una Barrett Necklace BAMArts Fair 2018 Una Barrett Exhibits this Necklace at the BAMArts Fair 2018 in Bellevue, Washington.


    We invite you to see the work of several Pacific Northwest jewelry artists. Every year, the Bellevue Arts Museum showcases the artwork of more than 300 American jewelry artists during the annual BAMArts Fair. This year, Pacific Northwest jewelry artists Una Barrett, Han-Yin Hsu, and Nurit & Mick Vagner submitted gorgeous pieces. They go on view at the museum this Friday through Sunday.

    Pacific Northwest Jewelry Artists

    Una Barrett - Eugene, Oregon

    Una Barrett grew up off the grid in eastern Tennessee. Her parents owned a self-sufficient farm, and Una grew to understand the natural rhythms of the earth. Her sculptural jewelry reflects her intimate connection with these natural processes, specifically the cycle of growth and death. These natural rhythms form the foundation for every one of her jewels.

    In her Eugene, Oregon studio, Una uses traditional, as well as contemporary metalsmithing techniques. In conjunction with her use of mixed metals and other found objects and materials, she immerses herself in the full scope of the creation process.

    Drawn to many different cultures, she is most inspired by the sacred and functional objects used by different people groups. She interweaves her unique interpretations of these objects with contemporary forms associated with industry and architecture. As a result, Una has found a way to cross the divide between ancient practices and modern technology.

    Nurit & Mick Vagner - Oregon

    Nurit & Mick hand fabricate and construct precious metals into 3D organic fluid shapes. Using various surface techniques, they give their jewels rich textures and gorgeous finishes.

    Like Una, they weave together elements from the ancient past with contemporary art principles. They fashion pieces with organic and geometrical lines using traditional, as well as contemporary silversmith techniques.

    The couple states that living in the Pacific Northwest profoundly impacts their current body of work. As a result, they transitioned to fashioning biomorphic scultpural jewelry. Biomorphic jewelry is jewelry that includes design elements reminiscent of nature and living organisms.

    Han-Yin Hsu - Seattle, Washington

    Han-Yin Hsu moved to the US from Taiwan. After graduating with a Master's in Architecture, she worked for many years as an architect and interior designer. After a while, Han-Yin realized she needed a way to express her ideas more intimately. She wanted to use her skills to design jewelry that could be seen, touched, and experienced physically.

    As a result, she founded her jewelry design firm, ANNXANN Design, in Los Angeles in 2013. Han-Yin later moved her studio and business to the greater Seattle area. She continues to use her architectural training, including techniques and her unique sense of space. These techniques, in combination with 3D-printing, allow Han-Yin to create jewels that embody the personalities of people she experienced in life.

    She looks at the human body as a landscape for jewelry. Her designs express the elegance of the body as a landscape, as well as the gesture each element of her jewelry makes as it rests upon the skin. Han-Yin considers her jewelry a way for the wearer to see herself in new, unexpected ways. She hopes that her designs will inspire people to imagine possibilities they have never known before.

    BAMArts Fair This Weekend in Downtown Bellevue

    This weekend, visit BAM for a look at Pacific Northwest jewelry that is directly inspired by life in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about Bellevue's Arts Fair weekend, we invite you to visit the BAMArts website.

  • Eastside Jewelry Artists at the 6th Street Fair

    Custom aqua blue necklace by Eastside Jewelry Artist Cheril Cruden Custom aqua blue necklace by Eastside Jewelry Artist Cheril Cruden.


    Meet three Eastside jewelry artists at 6th Street Fair in Bellevue. The 6th Street Fair is an integral piece of this weekend's Bellevue Arts Fair. For this reason, visitors expect to find the most talented jewelry artists lined up along 6th Street. These talented designers are tucked among the hundreds of booths featuring arts and crafts created by some of the country's most talented artists.

    We are pleased to highlight three Eastside jewelry artists whose work will wow you. First, meet Cheril Cruden whose studio is right here in Bellevue. Next, Amisha Shah whose workshop is in Sammamish. Finally, meet Lisa Boyce from Kirkland.

    Eastside Jewelry Artists

    Cheril Cruden - Bling! Bling! Bellevue, WA

    Insurance account manager by day, jewelry designer by night. Cheril Cruden draws her inspiration from the beauty of the materials she works with and the playful energy she cultivates.

    She works with a number of materials, including sterling silver, 18k gold, Swarovski Crystals, freshwater pearls, and vintage glass beads from Germany, Czechoslovakia, India, and Japan.

    Cheril aims to create one-of-a-kind statement piece, wearable in both casual and sophisticated settings. She loves playing with color and beads.

    Amisha Shah - Exquisitry Jewelry Designs; Sammamish, WA

    Born in India, Amisha Shah moved to Sammamish with her husband. Her passion for arts and crafts bloomed within her when she was a young girl growing up in India. She learned embroidery from her mother and began designing her own clothes and jewelry as a young girl.

    Once she moved to the United States, she discovered a unique niche for her design aesthetics. She creates a fusion of her East Indian heritage with modern American fashion trends. She demonstrates masterful technique with her materials, as well. As a result, her pieces are truly exquisite.

    She favors Swarovski crystals in a variety of colors, as well as brass and silver mounts. Her work has a timeless elegance that complements any outfit during any season.

    Lisa Boyce - Lisa Boyce Jewelry; Kirkland, WA

    Lisa Boyce is just getting started in building her online presence. Currently, she presents her jewelry weekly at the Kirkland Farmer's Market. Her work is sophisticated, bold, and beautiful.

    She specializes in statement necklaces which feature large stone or jeweled pendants accompanied by beads of varying colors. Her pairings demonstrate her artist's eye in form, texture, and the use of color.

    She also makes earrings, bracelets, and rings, all with the same sophisticated aesthetics. You'll have a chance to talk with Lisa and get to know her better this coming weekend in downtown Bellevue.

  • Meet Washington State Jewelry Artists This Weekend

    Raven brooch by Washington State jewelry artist Ruly Deen Raven Brooch. Legacy Series by Ruly Deen of Silver Element Jewelry in Spokane, Washington. Photo used with permission.


    Meet three Washington State jewelry artists at the Festival of the Arts, this coming weekend in Bellevue, Washington. First, Ruly Deen fashions sculptural, wearable jewelry art in her Spokane workshop. Second, Michele Raney carves and paints her exquisite designs with glass in her Port Townsend studio. Finally, in her studio in Shoreline, Melanie Brauner handcrafts wearable (and durable) jewels out of metal forms cast in delicate handmade paper.

    Meet These Washington State Jewelry Artists

    Ruly Deen - Spokane, Washington

    Ruly Deen combines astronomy, biology, mathematics, spirituality, and metaphysics in her conceptual drawings. From these drawings, she carves intricate, miniature sculptures into wax. Using the lost wax casting technique, she pours molten silver into molds. She then solders the individual parts together to make her gorgeous wearable jewels.

    She draws her inspiration from the scenery in Spokane. "There are so many rivers and tributaries winding through the rolling hills. Beautiful mountain ranges are covered with deep forests, and there are a multitude of lakes where they meet," she writes on her website.

    Ruly's jewelry combines cross-cultural symbols with natural forms. She might etch these symbols into the wings of a bird, onto the surface of water, or into the bark of a tree. It is these concepts, which span epochs of human history, that remind us that we are connected to nature and humanity in all its manifestations.

    Michele Raney - Port Townsend, Washington

    Michele Raney works with a revised version a centuries-old French enameling technique called Basse-taille. She begins with an original design carved into graphite. From this carving, she makes a die and coins a blank in fine silver or 18k gold. She hand tools and polishes a base which she then enamels. It is the application of enamel which adds depth and light to Michele's jewelry.

    Her featured piece for the Bellevue Festival of the Arts catalog is the Celtic Cross Enamel Relic pendant. This gorgeous pendant features a brilliant blue enameled Celtic cross framed in a free-form silver frame. She bezel set what looks to be a blue garnet into the center of the cross. She inset another bezel set blue garnet (or possibly Montana blue sapphire) into the silver bale.

    This cross pendant is part of Michele's Enamel Relics Collection. For this collection, Michele drew inspiration from ancient artifacts. These included objects from the Egyptian pyramids, stone shards from Celtic ruins, architectural carvings on Roman ruins, and old coins from the Mediterranean. In addition to ancient relics, Michele also draws inspiration from the natural beauty around her, including the sea flora and fauna near her home in Port Townsend.

    Melanie Brauner - Shoreline, Washington

    Melanie Brauner works as a metalsmith, bookbinder, and papermaker in her studio in Shoreline, Washington. Her handcrafted jewels combine the sinuous lines of Art Nouveau design with the elegant details in nature. She draws inspiration from dewdrops, spider webs, flowers petals, leaves, the night sky, the curves of a river, and so on.

    Her jewels are created using a technique similar to the one she uses to make handmade paper. However, the result is a 3-dimensional wearable jewel. She begins with a form cast in metal wire. The metal form is then dipped into a pulp made from water and the fiber of the abaca plant. Between each dipping, the fibers cling to the metal and shrink as they dry. After several successive dips, a translucent paper skin builds upon the form.

    After she completes this stage, Michele then dyes each element by hand and then seals the piece thoroughly. This ensures each jewel is water resistant and durable for regular wear. The piece she selected as her showpiece for the Bellevue Festival of the Arts is a delicate flower with opaque leaves edged in green with three baroque pearls at its center.

    Meet The Artists

    This coming weekend, July 27th - July 29th, visitors to the Bellevue Festival of the Arts will have the chance to meet these three Washington State jewelry artists in person. The artists will be at their respective booths throughout the weekend, ready to answer questions and tell their stories.

    For more information, we invite you to visit the BFOA website.

  • Collaborative Art Jewelry by Cynthia Toops & Dan Adams

    Cynthia Toops: Two Faced Horn Amulet, Necklace in polymer, horn, glass (by Dan Adams), and sterling silver. Pendant is 7" long. 20" glass beaded necklace. Cynthia Toops: Two Faced Horn Amulet, Necklace in polymer, horn, glass (by Dan Adams), and sterling silver. ©2018 Photo used with permission.


    Cynthia Toops and Dan Adams work in polymer clay and enameled glass. Their Two Faced Horn Amulet represents their collaborative process perfectly. Dan flameworked (lampworked) all the enameled glass beads, as well as the enameled horn amulet, the two-faced head embedded atop the amulet, and the enameled face on the clasp. Cynthia used polymer clay to embed the double head into the horn and then added mosaic elements to the amulet.

    The Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project

    Today, this stunning necklace is on view at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery. The amulet necklace traces its origins back to a drawing Cynthia Toops made for the Sketchbook Project. The Brooklyn Art Library in New York welcomed the submission of complete sketchbooks from tens of thousands of artists for the project. Library staff then designed a cozy sitting room with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Visitors can spend hands-on time with the sketchbooks in this unique and intimate way.

    One of the drawings in Cynthia's sketchbook features a sorceress. In designing this amulet necklace, Cynthia imagined that the sorceress would wear a piece just like this one. She drew the design and then took it to her partner, Dan Adams, to realize it in 3D glass and polymer clay.

    Once the glass beads and amulet were finished, Cynthia assembled the necklace and decorated the enameled horn with simple mosaic threads. Amulets provide protection, and the horn symbolizes strength for the wearer.

    Cynthia Toops & Dan Adams: A Collaborative Process

    Cynthia Toops and Dan Adams have collaborated on their jewelry art for over 30 years. They share a passion for ethnic art, which fuels their individual and collective aesthetics. Before they fashion a piece, they spend time researching, either at the public library or in their home library.  Over the years, they have come to understand and appreciate each other's processes and materials. They are almost always on the same wavelength from the conception to the completion of a piece.

    The Two Faced Horn Amulet Necklace is currently on view at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in downtown Seattle. This and several of their other pieces are on display as part of Facere's Something Wild This Way Comes exhibition. This Wednesday, Cynthia Toops will share more of her sketches during the exhibition's gallery reception.

    For more about Facere's exhibition, we invite you to visit their website.

  • Meet & Greet Local Jewelry Artists July 27-29 in Downtown Bellevue

    Necklace by BAMArts Fair Exhibitor Una Barrett Necklace by Una Barrett. Copyright 2018 BAMArts Fair. Used with permission.


    On July 27th, downtown Bellevue plays host to a weekend filled with art, food, and merriment for people of all ages. It began when the prestigious Bellevue Arts Museum launched the first annual BAMArts Fair in 1947.

    In the 1980s, two more arts fairs launched. The Bellevue Festival of the Arts is sponsored by the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest. Also, the 6th Street Fair, sponsored by the Downtown Bellevue Association.

    Together, these three independent arts fairs bring almost 600 US artists to downtown Bellevue for a weekend designed to connect attendees face-to-face with the most talented artists in the country.

    BAMArts Fair

    First is the BAMArts Fair, which features the work of 300 artists in a series of outdoor booths located in Bellevue Square. The BAMArts Fair aims to attract the nation's most talented artists to our region.

    To this end, the show will feature paintings, fiber arts, 2D and 3D mixed media pieces, ceramics, drawings, furniture, glass works, and of course jewelry. Forty-two jewelry artists from across the US, including several from the Pacific Northwest, created works specifically for admission into this show.

    Most notably, from Washington State, are designers Han-Yin Hsu and Martha Collins, and from Oregon, Una Barrett and Mick & Nurit.

    This year the fair celebrates its 72nd birthday with free programming for all ages. Events during the weekend include a lineup of 300 outdoor artist booths, indoor museum exhibitions, KIDSfair, the Sound & Movement Stage, and enough food and fun for everyone.

    Bellevue Festival of the Arts

    Second is the juried fine art and craft fair, Bellevue Festival of the Arts. This open-air art exhibition allows visitors to meet the artists and craftspeople in person. The festival features 175 of the most talented and popular artisans from around the country.

    These artists sit in their booths during the festival, awaiting the opportunity to show their wares. They revel in telling amazing stories and visiting directly with attendees. These artists submit their work ahead of time and endure an exacting screening process before acceptance into the show. Selection criteria includes the artist's creativity, technical skill, and presentation.

    This portion of the Downtown Arts


    weekend features 2D and 3D mixed media pieces, ceramics, digital art, drawings, glass work, metalwork, paintings, photography, sculpture, printmaking, wood and textiles/fiber, and, most certainly jewelry.

    Forty-six jewelry artists, many of whom are from the Western United States, will set up booths along Bellevue Way and NE 8th, just north of Bellevue Square. Most notably, from Washington State, are jewelry designers Melanie Brauner, Sharrey Doré, Michele Raney, and Ruly Deen.

    This is the festival's 34th year bringing amazing artwork, music, food, and family-friendly fun to Washington's Eastside community. The festival is organized by local artists, produced by the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest, and dedicates a portion of the proceeds from the festival to local charities.

    6th Street Fair

    Finally, the 6th Street Fair promises to showcase another 100 artists in its open-air exhibition. The original work of sculptors, jewelry designers, glass and wood workers, fabrics designers, and more, will be on display for the entire weekend.

    Most notable are the twenty jewelry designers from Oregon and Washington State. These artists make themselves available during the fair to discuss their processes, answer visitor questions, and tell their stories. Of note, with studios in the Eastside vicinity, are jewelry artists Cheril Cruden, Amisha Shah, and Lisa Boyce.

    The 6th Street Fair is another juried show, with awards given for Best in Show, Best Booth, and Best Newbie. Members of the local arts community serve as judges for the show.  Each candidate can earn points from the judges on booth appearance, originality, craftsmanship, and market appeal.

    The 6th Street Fair celebrates its 48th year. The event is hosted by the Bellevue Downtown Committee. The fair board aims to create a colorful and varied display of high-quality, handmade crafts and artworks.

    Visit EraGem in Downtown Bellevue

    Since you will already be in the neighborhood, we'd like to invite you to our beautiful jewelry and gemstone showroom. Contact us today to make an appointment. Call us at (800) 417-1925, or email contact (at) eragem (dot) com.

  • Sculptural Acanthus Ring by Nash Quinn

     Nash Quinn, Acanthus Ring, Small. Sterling silver, 14k gold solder. ©2018 Photo used with permission. Nash Quinn, Acanthus Ring, Small. Sterling silver, 14k gold solder.


    Nash Quinn created Something Wild for the current exhibition at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery. The small Acanthus Ring is a wearable version of his larger sculptural Acanthus series.

    The Acanthus Motif

    Nash shared with me that he decided to distill the over-the-top grandiosity of the ring's siblings into a more wearable format. Hence, the wearer can take with them the "stately, timeless splendor of grand architecture."

    Indeed, the very inspiration behind the Acanthus series is the grand architecture of the Greek Corinthians. Atop each of the ancient columns are plant forms said to be based on Acanthus leaves. As Nash points out, this timeless motif shows up throughout the centuries in everything from architecture to engraved firearms to jewelry.

    Nash Quinn's interest in the Acanthus began with early investigations into ancient decorative conventions in architecture. However, the challenge of imitating the complexities of nature in metal drew him deeply into the exploration of this motif.

    For Nash, the happy accidents along the way are almost as satisfying as accurately capturing the complexities of this beautiful plant genus. He delights in the abundance of satisfying shapes and textures he discovers along the path to creation.

    Nash Quinn's Design Process

    This ring began, like all of his work, as a pen-and-ink drawing. Referencing the rendering, Nash formed the stylized leaves in silver sheet using traditional processes called repoussé and chasing. Once the leaf imagery satisfied his designer's eye, Nash structured the ring base.

    The base is made with rectilinear square wire. For contrast, Nash chooses gold solder to highlight the various bits of metal that comprise the whole. "I always seek to counter the organic components of my work with crisp, architectural framework and structure," he told me.

    "Like stumbling across a secluded green space in the midst of a bustling city, nature is at its most profound when encountered in contrast to the manmade," he says.

    See this perfect amalgamation of human design and nature up close and in person at Something Wild This Way Comes. The exhibit is currently on view at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in downtown Seattle. The ring's siblings are on view, as well, as are several of Nash's other wild designs.

  • Katia Olivova Creates Something Wild

    Katia Olivova: Something Wild Earrings 4, Earrings in mixed metal alloy, sterling silver ear wires and opalite. Katia Olivova: Something Wild Earrings 4, Earrings in mixed metal alloy, sterling silver ear wires and opalite. ©2018 Photo used with permission.


    Katia Olivova is one of nine jewelry artists selected to participate in Facere Jewelry Art Gallery's Something Wild This Way Comes exhibition. On view until August 7, these stunning sculptural earrings belong to a suite of jewels inspired by the wildness of sea flora.

    Katia Olivova Has Glass in Her Veins

    You could say that Katia Olivova emerged with glass in her veins. She represents the third generation of Czech glass art masters. Many consider her grandfather, Ladislav Oliva, Sr., the father of contemporary Czech glass design. He earned tenure at the Schools of Glassmaking in both Zelezny Brod and Kamenicky Senov.

    Katia's father, Ladislav Oliva, Jr., also studied glassmaking in Prague. He went on to build his own studio with his brother. Their reproductions and original works emulated the Gothic period. In the mid-1990s, he and his wife opened their own studio. They created an original line of handmade glass mosaics. They also sculpt with glass and make cast glass jewelry.

    All of their children either work with glass or study the art of design. Katia is the only one of them who has moved to the U.S. She moved with her American husband to Wisconsin (and later Alaska), after they completed their schooling at her grandfather's alma maters.

    Jewels by Katia Olivova and Steve Pflipsen

    Together, Katia Olivova and her husband Steve Pflipsen create beautiful jewels, sculptures, and vessels in their studio in Sitka, Alaska. To create her jewelry, Katia uses an original soldering technique she developed after considerable experimentation.

    Each piece begins with a sketch. Next she outlines her drawing with sterling silver wire and copper components. She then drags solder across the piece to fill in the negative spaces.

    Finally, each piece is oxidized, colored, and sealed with jeweler's paint. Her necklaces are strung on round black leather cord. The earrings are hung on sterling silver posts with sterling backs or on argentium sterling silver ear-wires (less copper than standard sterling).

    Many of her pieces incorporate glass pieces often made by her father, semiprecious stones, and mixed metals. All the solder is 100% lead-free. Katia Olivova draws inspiration from her collaborative lifestyle, from the wildness of Alaska, and from her lifelong passion for design and art.

    You won't want to miss seeing Katia Olivova's exquisite, wild designs this month at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle. Visit Facere's website for more information.


  • Something Wild at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery

    Something Wild Necklace 2 by Katia Olivova Something Wild Necklace 2 by Katia Olivova, © 2018.


    Something Wild This Way Comes opens on July 18, 2018, at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in downtown Seattle. Curator and owner, Karen Lorene, invites you to join her in exploring things of an animal nature with nine talented and creative jewelry artists.

    This gorgeous necklace has as its centerpiece a cast and cut opalescent glass ornament fashioned by the artist's father. The artist, Katia Olivova, is one of nine jewelry designers asked to craft pieces that explore the theme of the wildness of nature.

    With a very different style, Tom Hill's wild wooden jewelry evokes the more menacing side of nature. Meanwhile, the animal-inspired knit-leather pieces by Brooke Marks-Swanson conjure spotted leopards, birds in their nests, and playful panda bears. Katia Olivova offers sculpted mixed-metal earrings and necklaces. Her pieces invoke images of sea flora, which no doubt frequently washes upon the shores of Crescent Bay in Sitka, Alaska.

    Jennifer Stenhouse's gemstone and sterling silver brooches transport you to primitive times. Whereas, Maru Almeida's oxidized sterling silver creations soothe the psyche with their modern lines. Meanwhile, Cynthia Toops's figurative micromosaic pieces and beaded necklaces conjure native tribal notions of animals and nature.

    Judith Hoyt's found-metal and copper brooches with animal themes inspire nostalgia, while Sarah J.G. Wauzynski's rich and colorful renditions of animals in sterling silver and egg tempura inspire delight. In contrast, Nash Quinn's bold rings, brooches, and necklaces sculpted in sterling silver inspire adventure and exploration.

    We invite you to visit Something Wild This Way Comes on July 26th, during the gallery reception at 4pm. During the reception, you can browse the exhibit, meet the designers in person, and enjoy a series of artist talks.

    For more information, including directions and featured pieces, we invite you to visit Facere's website.

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