I just got back to Towson from the American Craft Council Show, I wish I had more time but, I had other classes I could not miss. First impression, WOW! So much to look out it was overwhelming. The time and care that went in every piece and the shear craftsmanship is something I strive for in the future.
I had some wonderful talks with some of the artists, in particular Jonathan Lee Rutledge (www.rutledgejewelry.com) and Rhonda Storm (rhonadstorm.com). They both seemed generally interesting in the fact we were students and readily explained their processes and techniques.
Johnathan Lee Rutledge has some beautiful swooping hook clasps. I have seen a few of these before, but his were very elegant and well designed to match the flow of the pieces. Talking to him about his clasps, he showed me a bracelet where he had integrated the clasp mechanism in with the bracelet to the point you had to really search to find the opening. It seemed for all the world to be a continuous band. He also talked about a technique where you take gold powered and individually lay pieces of the gold down and then affix it to the stone. It is an ancient technique and he allowed us to hold a piece with this technique on it. His had a pretty neat story of how he became a jewelry which is fun to know that he didn't plan originally to be a jeweler. It was just his calling as he said and it just felt like what he wanted to do. He really had a lovely passion for the work and for the craft.
Rhonda Storm was a fun women and well as her work. She creates these brooches with this chicken figures. They are so interactive with moving beaks and limbs. They shift as you wear them. She explained how they were affixed to each other and how the parts moved on each piece allowing me to look at a few of them in detail. They were lovely and adorable.
I also spent some time looking at the chains and how they linked to each other and how they linked to the main object of the item. A lot of them seem to be doing intricate intertwining loops. I saw quite a few that were interwoven and then rolled through a rolling mill to flatten them which morphed the designs and made them really interested. It gave me an idea to do something with a Celtic knot chain of some sort. I also saw a few that were modeled off of vines were a few strands would weave in and out of each other sometimes becoming knots sometimes being loose. It was quite interesting to see how different artists tackled the challenge of the connections. There was also a lot of rivets, more then I expected really. I guess rivets are simple and easy to do and they are also quick.
Moving on, the show had a new feature of "Green Craft" that highlighted environmentally-friendly processes and techniques. The little sustainable designer in me felt the need to talk to every single booth with this sign. The artists I talked to generally were very receptive and I had some wonderful conversations with them. They didn't seem to mind my million questions about their process, where they got the materials, their technique ect.
Three lovely green designers worth checking out are: Noelle Van Hendrick from (www.zpots.com), Jeff Greengard (drivebybags.com) and Michelle LaLonde (www.michellelalondeaccessories.com).