Monday, October 5, 2009

South East Asian Influence, One-of-a-Kind Jewelry

A few years ago, I traveled with my family to Cambodia and Laos for my mother’s birthday. Travel has always been a source of inspiration for me, however this trip truly influenced my creativity unlike any other. The art and places of worship in this region are truly magical.

Before traveling to South East Asia, I had been thinking about developing a men’s line of jewelry. I wanted to create pieces that would make the wearer feel masculine and strong, so I sought symbols of strength and power. When I left for our trip I was musing about dragons. To my delight, there were dozens of serpent and dragon references throughout our travels. In addition, the beauty of the stone relief carvings prompted me to consider working more sculpturally. I’ve included some photos from our trip and the resulting one-of-a-kind jewelry that grew from the inspiration. 

The Dragon Pendant with Star Ruby and Black South Sea Pearl was designed in my head while I was in Asia; then carved in wax when I returned. It was the first time I ever worked in lost wax, which has become a regular part of my design language. This one of a kind pendant is one of my favorites because it represents a significant evolution in my style.

Interestingly, even after a few years, I am still drawing inspiration this trip. Recently, I discovered a strand of rare, pumpkin-shaped, turquoise beads from the late Qing period. Originally these beads were possibly for a chief or ranking Shaman of the Northland in China. I made similar melon-shaped beads out of sterling silver and crafted a handmade large forged foxtail chain. The resulting one-of-a-kind Sterling Silver Turquoise Necklace has a distinct, albeit subtle, reference to the temples we visited. The hand-carved silver pumpkin bead mirrors some of the same voluptuous curves I enjoyed in the relief carvings.


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