Blog > July/August 2006
When I grow up, I want to be Bing Bang. I seriously covet every single piece made by Brooklyn's Anna Sheffield and that's saying something, because her collection is extensive. Named for the sound of a hammer hitting an anvil, her line is a must-see for fans of the elegantly edgy "asymmetrical dripping chains" look; it's heavy on necklaces and earrings but there are some cool rings to be had as well. (If you don't see it on your screen, scroll down a bit to access the page navigation.)
Denmark's Kirsten Bak invents jewellery out of "both precious metals and useless materials," though neither is present in the wood and plastic rings pictured here. See more of her work at BRDKD as in BRazil, Denmark and Deutschland, the homelands of the three collaborators (Cilmara de Oliveira and Stefanie Klemp being the Brazilian and German artists, respectively).
September is just around the corner, and she is always so punctual. Made of warm wool but hand-dyed with bright summer colours, these yarn rings by Vadis Turner are the perfect transition pieces (US$17 or US$25 for beaded version). Buy the bracelet and she'll donate half the proceeds to Publicolor.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously stated that "perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." I'm sure some bank accounts would disagree, but it's a useful thought nonetheless. Oliver Haardt takes the maxim to heart (pun and reference to early '80s Robert Wagner vehicle not intended) with this ultra minimal porcelain ring. Arranged neatly in rows, it's easy to see that they were modelled after giant satellite dishes.
Grenades, swords, handguns... you probably won't want to wear this jewellery to the airport, and not just because it might set off the metal detectors. DJ Jules Kim of Bijules NYC (that's her on the website modelling her work) creates wearable weaponry for the urban masses. Her higher-end "Family Julz" line has diamond-encrusted pieces in the thousands-of-dollars range which means fifty years from now, some lucky girl in Brooklyn is getting a vintage 3-carat rocket launcher pendant from her grandma's estate. Aww.
If there's an English word that means "of or relating to hunters, deer, polar bears, ballerinas, snowflakes, seashells, palm trees, penguins, ships, pirates, harps, hearts, swords, alarm clocks, fishbones, doves, grenades, maps, chalk outlines and packs of wolves" (like in the ring pictured here), that word would describe a fraction of what's going on at Atelier 11, a collective of three designers: Elke L. Peeters, Ludovik Colpaert and Flor Janssens and here ends my single-sentence post on these creative Belgians.
Edinburgh jeweller Susan Kerr is a new favourite of mine. Her work is clean and simple, but in quite a distinct way; browse her collection and you can see how it'd be easy to identify her work in a gallery without having to perform neck acrobatics in an effort to read the attached tag which has been purposely positioned so you can't see the price, annoying you because all you want is the artist's name, and when you think you've managed to make out a few letters reflected in the display case window, it turns out it's just part of the SKU code, damnit. Ahem. The rings pictured here don't do her much justice, so please visit the gallery. I especially admire the earrings.
Wire-wrapped rings are a common sight, but here's a ring that skips the wrapping and lets the wire speak for itself. This piece, from New York-based Ayazakura's fall 2005 "Infinity" collection, comes in 14k gold (US$230), gold-filled wire (US$55) or sterling silver (US$50). If you prefer a little adornment on your wire, don't fret you'll find plenty of gemstone cluster rings on the site, most notably the pieces from 2004. (I know, I said "wire" and "fret" in the same sentence; there should be a joke involving a guitar in there somewhere but... there isn't.)
When I think red, white and black, I think "The White Stripes." But now, I also think "chunky resin rings from architecturally-inspired Australian designer Philippa Frecklington". These pieces (US$55 each) were inspired by the glass panels of the Prada building in Tokyo.
These resin "wobble" rings might look sweet, but they've got hearts of cold, hard STONE. Magnets, to be exact. The detachable magnetic pebbles (see them? how cute!) allow you to play with different looks; just pile on whatever sizes and colours suit your mood. This "wearable toy" jewellery is the brainchild of Edinburgh's Kaz Robertson, one third of the Diverse Workshop group of designers. Visit their site to view pieces from the other members, Donna Barry and Sally Moore, who do beautiful, modern metalwork.
Bonus link for the weekend: the playful earrings and necklaces of London's Emma Burgin (click "showcase"). She does have one lone ring in her vast collection, so it's not really cheating.
You know how sometimes, in the old-time movies, you'd see someone bite down on a gold coin to make sure it was real?
I think you can see where I'm going with this.
Following-up my fat-free post is the decadent chocolate bonbon ring by Germany's Katja Hunold (warning: site plays muzak).
If you're completely fat-free, you're just skin and bones. So, maybe it makes sense that a line of skin jewellery Italian lambskin, to be specific is called, you guessed it, Fat Free. While only the feather-, heart- and wing-shaped earrings are available for purchase online, the collection does include some leather-adorned rings, like the floral pieces pictured here. The handmade pieces also incorporate Swarovski crystals, 14k gold and sterling silver.
With its cool, studded texture and rock 'n' roll vibe, you might expect this ring to come from the latest up-and-coming NYC designer. The man behind this sterling piece, however, resides just a bit southeast of New York in Bali, Indonesia. "Sand Dunes" ring by silversmith Ketut Suliasna, available at Novica. If you wear size 5, it's your lucky day the ring is a mere US$19.95.
This one's for anyone who thinks jewellery is purely frivolous. Surpassing even the bottle opener ring in points for practicality is this utilitarian marvel, the toilet paper ring. Never again be caught without a square to spare! Come to think of it, if you're getting a lot of use out of a bottle opener ring, odds are you'll be in need of a toilet paper ring sooner or later. Ring by Kristiana Spaulding of silvertrailer, which also specializes in trailer-themed jewellery. Yes, trailer-themed. Read her bio to find out why.
We all know paper beats rock in "rock, paper, scissors" but can the same hold true when it comes to jewellery? It can in the hands of Pica Design's Susanne Zöckler, who favours colourful, meticulously-folded sheets over diamonds or rubies when adorning her rings. The German papersmith (that really ought to be a word) also creates paper packaging for her pretty paper wares. How perfect. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pick a peck of pickled peppers. Have a great weekend.
When balls and tubes come up in conversation, as they so frequently do, I think of that old Seinfeld joke about how commercials for medicines always reduce the human digestive system into a cartoon ball (stomach) and tube (throat/oesophagus). Munich's Monika Jakubec, unlike me, has an imagination that extends beyond the comedy stylings of 1996 and uses geometric forms like cones, balls, cylinders and tubes as the basis for some fantastic jewellery like this piece from her Röhrchenringe (tube ring) collection.
Jennifer Howard Kicinski's entire portfolio is amazing but I especially love her work from 2002-2004. The artist (and current president of the Seattle Metals Guild) somehow transforms such earthly materials as silver, silk, nylon and resin into otherworldly sculptures including hearts as you've never seen them before. The ten rings in her "blood and ice" series (sterling, hand carved acrylic, paint and resin) are beyond stunning. They might, in fact, be what kids these days refer to as "the shiznit." This photo doesn't do them justice but the other photo on her website just might. You'll have to visit and see for yourself.
I bet I know Tina Lilienthal's favourite Kevin Spacey film. The German metalsmith, now a UK resident, has a collection of jewellery (and underwear) based on the se7en deadly sins. For those moments when a "sloth" necklace just isn't appropriate, there are also the "seven heavenly virtues" rings, like the "chastity" piece pictured here. All the virtue in the world isn't enough to keep me from lusting after the real kicker of her portfolio, however: the "bones and cherries" collection. Because it's got bones. And it's got cherries! Win-win.
Dusseldorf jeweller Monika Seitter gives acrylic some serious respect by pairing the usually non-precious material with brilliant precious stones. The rings pictured here are on the muted end of the spectrum but visit her site and you'll see coils of intense fuchsias, violets and limes paired with gems in a rainbow of eye-catching hues.
It only makes sense that a jeweller who designs on a computer would create these silver and steel pixelated rings. London's Jo Hayes-Ward uses modelling software to realize her creations which, currently, are based on "mathematical principles like repetition, rhythm and geometry." Her tessellated rings are carefully crafted to be interlocking when desired. So, you see, there is method to her mathness. (Ouch! Who writes these things?)
These loopy, Cheerio-y "crocheted" rings are actually silver and gold-plated silver. They're by Lina Peterson, a Swede who's at London's Royal College of Art. She likes to mix metals with crochet (real crochet, of the wool variety), paint, and sometimes even big hunks of bread. Jewellery and carbs... together? There really is a god! And she's Swedish!
Do you like Venn diagrams? Mitosis? The old MasterCard logo? Then act fast, because New Yorker Lisa Jenks, having said goodbye to jewellery design and hello to a contract with Origins, is no longer making pieces like this "bubbles" ring (US$220). Her remaining jewellery is being sold off online. "Off online"? Does that sound weird? Me talk pretty one day.
I've mentioned Ruth Tomlinson here before but I didn't direct you to her personal site. For that, I owe you at least ten bucks because, her portfolio, it is breathtaking. Her aesthetic strikes just the right chord with me particularly the porcelain pieces of her "flora" collection, a sampling from which I posted a picture last time (don't tell anyone, but it's really the earrings I love most). If you're lucky enough to be in London, you can view her work up close at the locations listed on her site.
Remember that "toy" that was basically just a drawing of a man's bald head, and you'd use a magnet to drag metal shavings around on top, giving him various mustaches and hairdos? (Boy, life before Playstation was tough, wasn't it?) Seattle artist Patty Cokus gives new life to that idea with her amazing "attraction" ring, featuring boro glass with steel filings inside and a magnet on the outside (pictured at far right, US$250). Also pictured here is her "growing grass" ring, US$200; when worn, the grass-filled tubes push up, like they're sprouting from your hand.
Closing out our inadvertent double theme week: double-sided convertible rings (US$80) from Portland, Oregon's lickingpants. Speaking of Portland, I might be heading there-ish next weekend so if you know of any ring shops, let me know!
I just noticed a "double" theme in all the rings posted this week! Well, if you like this silver and enamel double-headed "Nero #2" ring by German Yvonne Les Crinier, be prepared to double your ususal surfing time if you want to view her full portfolio. Her website is packed with playful expressions in matte gold and silver, like the "Ententanz" (duck dance) ring and these double-creepy be-scarfed angels.
These rings are like those shoes you shouldn't have bought: maybe not so comfortable to wear but, oh, so pretty. England's Amanda Doughty finds inspiration in "simple, repetitive, mostly man-made features in the landscape," as is evident in her clean, modern, architectural jewellery.
Andrea Frahm must be a neat freak. The German jeweller's portfolio reveals tidy rows of pearls and beads tucked away inside clean, symmetrical rings and earrings; her matte gold bracelets and necklaces are similarly well-ordered with their repeating patterns and balanced proportions. My favourite is the brilliant silver and coral ring pictured here. It's like a fresh pomegranate bursting with yummy seeds... as long as they're bursting in perfect formation, of course.
"I love making rings." So declares Dahlia Kanner, and it shows. The Rhode Island artist textures her pieces with bumps, striations, facets and crevices, resulting, paradoxically, in a look of cool refinement. Pictured here, clockwise from top left: horn, wide saw, bumpy spiral and two-finger spongy ring.
Inspiration is everywhere but the kitchen sink! Right? Not so if you're Katherine Koehler. The New Yorker (by way of St. Louis, Oregon and RISD) behind this US$200 cream and orange plexiglass ring drew inspiration from "the overlapping shapes found in household sponges." This piece is from her brand new "sponge" series but, if Scotch-Brite isn't your style, she's got a dozen other fantastic collections ranging from the stark to the colourful. Each is worth a long, wistful stare.
Though her jewellery is sleek and modern in shape, Germany's Petra Giers inlays her rings with images more suited to Arthurian times. Dragons, crosses, roses and signets abound in her collection of rings and pendants. Pictured here is a phoenix, which appears to be etched in an appropriately red gemstone.
What to do if you're about to tie the knot and you're (a) on a budget, (b) worried about the ethics of the diamond trade or (c) both, and have exceptional taste, to boot? May I suggest this perfect sterling knot band? It's called a "pretzel twist" but, come on, it's so an understated knot. Or it could be a figure "8" on its side, which is funny ha-ha, because the ring costs only US$8. For real! Buy one at Garnish.
Apparently, there's a shop in Tokyo that sells almost nothing but acrylic jewellery. Fittingly, it's called "Acrylic." Very unfittingly, I missed it. Judging by the map, I walked right by it. And I missed it. Every time I think about this, an angel loses its wings... or something. See how these fabulous acrylic and urushi lacquer rings mock me? Ring prices range from ¥5,000 to ¥10,000 (~$50-$100).
I have a new favourite ring! Sarah Troper is a Canadian metalsmith, but it's her tiny takes on Americana that are the highlight of her portfolio. Her Wonderbread (pictured here) and picket fences rings are fantastic for the way they turn symbols of ultimate "blah" into jewellery that is anything but.
CucumberLab is Ben Blanc and Andrew Reed, two RISD MFA grads based in Pawtucket. Their design talents are focussed mainly on furniture and housewares, but they also make a mean ring. No, literally this bird might be sweet, but visit their site for other not-so-sweet ring designs. I'd post them here, but I have to pardon their French first. The playful pieces are stainless steel plated in 24k gold. Contact them if you need information on pricing and availability.
Before Microsoft Word had us tearing our hair out over its automatic bullet lists ("Why won't it just INDENT?!") typing was a much more pleasant enterprise, albeit without that handy "undo" feature. To me, there's nothing as satisfying as the sound of a typewriter, keys clackety-clacking and carriages returning. Zurich's Eva Bruggmann pays homage to the old machine with her series of type-inspired "letter rings." Pictured here is "courier 10."
First, she did it with Hello Kitty. Now, Hollywood darling Tarina Tarantino (with partner Alfonso Campos) is at it with Barbie, turning a girlhood icon (like it or not) into a collection of cutesy jewellery. The ring, US$63, comes in four styles, with Barbie channelling a '50s socialite, '60s Hepburnesque miss (pictured here), '70s flower child and '80s surfer girl. And if you have, er, strong negative feelings toward the leggy doll? Tarina's got that covered, too.
California's Kathleen Dughi practices a traditional method of jewellery fabrication, hand-forging metal without waxes or molds. But since forging is much too firey a topic to discuss in this heat, let's focus instead on her quartz crystal rings, like the "Glacier" ring pictured here. Soothing! If Tupperware were to make an ice-cube tray that produced shapes like this, I'd be freezing water like there's no tomorrow... which reminds me, have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? The best part is how it doesn't star Kate Bosworth.
Korean-born New Yorker Kiwon Wang gives us a "rags" to riches story literally by turning old newspapers into precious jewellery. Cut into hundreds of small, uniform circles and stacked together against bits of silver, even newsprint becomes ornamental. Suddenly, you want it to decorate your hands, not just the bottom of your birdcage. Be sure to check out her Paper and Pearl and various other series as well!
I was totally going to make a ring just like this, but my local Michael's was fresh out of human bones! Kelly McCallum, a recent graduate of London's Royal College of Art, combines tiny live plants and pieces of human femur in her "Dust to Dust" collection. As she puts it, "[the plants] grow out of roughly cut rings, which are vaguely reminiscent of rock, but possess warmth from their colour and texture that rock cannot achieve. These are simple, poetic pieces about the cyclical nature of life and death."
This chunk of brushed gold and silver goodness is by Polish artist Hanna Ind, whose work incorporates a lot of bricks, metal grids, chains, links and cuffs. "Hmm, prisony," you might say, and you might not be wrong. But the jewellery is attractive and interesting, which I imagine prison is not... unless it's that prison with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. That one was kind of interesting.
There's a slogan associated with these cute rings: "Covering the World with Style." A nice catchphrase, but it doesn't belong to any fashion or jewellery designer. Those words belong instead to to a global manufacturer of heat resistant, wipe-clean, plastic laminate surfacing material: Formica! London's Katy Hackney combines plywood and colourful vintage formica to create cute brooches, necklaces and rings, like the stacked bands at left. After its early years as an electrical insulator and many decades covering the kitchens of America, it looks like formica may have finally found its true calling. Once again, all paths lead to jewellery. It's always about the jewellery. Remember that.
Though it may resemble a fanned-out stack of thinly-sliced apples, this ring is actually much less vegan-friendly. Berlin's Ulrike Hamm creates lovely pieces by manipulating and dyeing a paper-thin material and combining it with metal. On second thought, "paper-thin" might be an inadequate adjective, since it actually is paper as in the animal kind. As in parchment. As in the skin of sheep. Like I said, not vegan-friendly, but in the most stylish way possible.