Our upcoming show, You Got the Look, a national exhibition of contemporary art jewelry, highlights artists with bold, handcrafted statement pieces, and we’re pleased to feature three artists in particular that fit that description: Nancy Worden, Andy Cooperman, and Emiko Oye.
Seattle-based artist Nancy Worden is inspired by the events she experiences as an American woman.
This autobiographical journey is intertwined with an exploration of of materials from 20th century American culture and an intensive study of of the history of jewelry design from around the world.
Nancy Worden received her BA in studio art from Central Washington University in 1977 and an MFA from the University of Georgia in 1980. Her jewelry can be found in major public collections including the Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and more. Her piece, Literal Defense, was made for those who are soldiers in the battlefield of arts education. On the neck piece, quotes from arts advocates are stamped into the front and sides. The back contains a passage from Ovid about the Muses, who were the patrons of the arts in Roman mythology.
Metalsmith, educator and writer Andy Cooperman works from his Seattle studio where he builds jewelry and objects for exhibitions and private clients. His work and writing has appeared in blogs, magazines and books, including Humor in Craft, Art Jewelry Today (I, II & III) and The Penland Book of Jewelry and is held in private and public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Central College in Pella Iowa, and the Tacoma Art Museum. As a teacher, Andy’s goal is to help students develop the creative problem-solving tools that will allow them to see beyond standard solutions and open new doors onto the creative process. He teaches and lectures nationally and is available as a visiting artist, curator and creative pot stirrer. Andy’s featured piece, Poison, alludes to poison rings that have appeared throughout history.
I like the idea of improbable, sometimes prosaic materials incorporated into something that can be as staid as jewelry. Poison was on my mind ever since I found a rattle at a Western boot store giveaway. The idea of a ring as a cautionary object, along with being a signifier of status and affiliation, appealed to me.
San Francisco designer Emiko Oye creates bold and colorful jewelry from repurposed LEGO® and precious metals – both ready-to-wear through her brand emiko o reware, as well as one-of-a-kind, conceptual pieces for exhibition. Using such a globally beloved material, she tugs on the nostalgic heartstrings across generations, cultures and genders, artfully embedding memory into conversation-sparking, contemporary adornment. A BFA University Scholar from Syracuse University, her work has been shown in over 97 exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally, including a solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Winner of American Craft Council Award of Excellence for Best Booth Design (2012), designer of the Art Jewelry Forum’s Annual Membership Pin (2015), and recognized as an “Influencer” artist by the LEGO® Group. Her artwork is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.
Her piece, La Cérémonie de la Mémoire (The Ceremony of Memory) is a multi-pendant, convertible necklace, inspired by Cartier’s Ceremonial necklace commissioned by Maharajah Sir Bhupindra Singh of Patiala, 1928. Over time, the Maharajah’s necklace had disappeared, to be rediscovered in 1998, missing the original central stones, including the infamous yellow De Beers center diamond. Cartier took it upon himself to recreate/restore the necklace to it’s previous glory, using synthetic stones as place holders in hopes that the original stones will eventually be found. The design of La Cérémonie de la Mémoire is a deliberate, pixelated replication of Cartier’s 21st century version, mirroring our digital lifestyle, often experiencing life not in the flesh, but via a pixel-rich lens. The mid-section has been omitted, the entire picture “fuzzy”, just like our memories often serve us.