Cufflinks 2009

Finally a post to help y’all with your Christmas shopping for MEN! I think they deserve some jewelry-attention. Caroline van Hoek Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition devoted to cufflinks, traditionally worn by men. Again, I’ve chosen two works, this time by two different artists.

The first cufflinks are by Lisa Walker, and linked with nostalgia, since she has used ‘vintage’ playmobil parts for her contribution to the exhibit. I still remember from my own childhood, that all the boys in my class played with playmobil. Those boys have now grown up, and are probably the men that could use some cufflinks. By wearing these, they can keep their inner child alive.

A whole different kind of historical connection is found in the second pair of cufflinks of Willemijn de Greef. She has worked with the shape of ‘Zeeuwse’ buttons, a traditional kind of button from the South-West of the Netherlands. The buttons were used for all kinds of adornment, and were also worn by men as a sort of belt-buckle. This explains their size, the biggest half of the cufflink is as big as a medium sized adult hand. The form is hollow, so not as heavy as it looks. It is an invitation for men to wear a part of Dutch history in the shape of contemporary jewelry.

This exhibition is showcased on Klimt02.


Than oars divide the ocean, too silver for a seam

Not one but two pieces this week, because they are so wonderfully done.
When Leslie Matthews stumbled upon a beautiful collection of 19th century Dutch clay pipe bowls, she was drawn to their small, delicate shape. Keeping them in mind, she created a whole series of silver forms. Their surface is embossed with Japanese rice paper to give them their fragile impression. Each form is inspired to complement the following one, as the two above show so well.
The title is a line from a poem by Emily Dickinson, who is a favorite of Leslie Matthews. She lives in Australia, so the sea is never far. I love how the forms are elongated by the waves of the silver necklace. And also how the color of the silver, reflects the different colors of the ocean, white for the foam of the waves, and black for its’ endless depth. On all these different levels,they really interact with each other! So for me, the work triggers an emotional response, which what Leslie Matthews is interested in.


Bull ! 2008

I have been admiring Felieke van der Leest’s work for quite some time now. When I saw her upcoming exhibition on Klimt02, it was just what I need as an excuse to write about it. The exhibition “F.I.B.S. (Festival International de Bêtes Sportives”) starts on the 27th of November until the 13th of December at gallery Deux Poissons in Tokyo.
The title of the exhibition is French for ‘international festival of sporty animals’. It refers to the Olympic games that were held in China in 2008.
This brooch is called Bull ! 2008, and refers to the Olympic sport of Archery. Here, the bull, is the ruby nose of a tiger. The perfect golden arrows, all the neatly sewn green sequins and the beautiful crochet work show that the brooch has been very well made. If the tiger doesn’t attract people’s attention then its sparkle will.
Tigers, are a protected and endangered species. In China, they are a symbol of power, energy and bravery, as well as good luck. Their skin is a status symbol and their bones are said to have medicinal power. Unfortunately many of them are shot for these reasons and not much is done by Chinese officials to stop the killing. The very surprised looking tiger in the brooch has just been hit by six arrows!
It is hard not to take the message seriously.


Biopsy II

In a lot of cases a biopsy is done with a hollow needle. This means that the sampled tissue that comes out, is round on the outside. What the sample looks like under the microscope, depends on lots of things. I could not have imagined it looking like this brooch ‘Biopsy II’, by Islay Taylor.

One of the most striking things about this brooch is the reflective property of some of it. All the rougher parts, and the wires sticking out, reflect light. This is shown in the top photograph. It must have been something very dangerous coming out of that body! No matter what the medical reasons are, I love the way it looks. The rest of the brooch is white, still, not a color you’d expect of a piece of tissue. But I don’t mind, it works really well in combination with the reflective bits. So beautiful, to see the color white used as the darker part of the piece.

Another interesting thing about this work is the suggestion that something has been taken from inside the body, and then it is worn outside of the body. It is all about the luminescence of inner beauty!


Chestnut animal

There is some thing about fall that seems to cross the border of countries, languages and traditions. Children everywhere love the magic of chestnuts. My sons have come home with so many this fall, they could hardly carry the load. I also remember collecting them as a child, taking them everywhere, comparing mine to the ones my friends had collected and, of course, making little animals out of them.
Now I have found proof of it happening in places far away from Antwerp and the tiny Dutch village I grew up in. It has come in the shape of this very cute pin ‘Chestnut animal’ by Estonian jeweler Ketli Titsar. Her fond childhood memories of the things she did with chestnuts have led to her creating this jewel. It is part of the collection ‘Homesickness’, but with so many chestnuts around, the lucky girl doesn’t have to be homesick anywhere!

Ketli Titsar is one of the European jewelry artists selected for ‘Walking the gray area’, an international jewelry project. For this project, 20 European and 20 Latin American jewelry artists have been coupled, to work on a collective exhibition. In order to bring everybody together, the ‘Walking the gray area’ blog has started. It is an interesting way for the artists to communicate, and, at the same time, share their story with the rest of the world. The exhibition will be presented at the Gray Area symposium, taking place in Mexico City in April 2010. To be continued……..

Walking the gray area’ is also featured on Klimt02.


08Brooch 2009

I was really surprised how attracted I was to the work of Austrian jeweler Petra Zimmermann. The brooch is made of sparkles and gold embedded in a handmade plastic background. The image gives you a good idea of what her work is like, but although it is a great photograph, the brooch is not nearly as attractive as it is in reality. The shape of the brooch has a sensuality that very much comes to life ‘for real’. Also, all the crushed pearls, rhinestones, amethysts, gold leaf and fine gold catch light. This makes the whole brooch shine at you, following you, from every side you look at it. It is a good sort of shine, not a blinding one, but a multi-colored attracting one. It was evening-time when I saw the piece, so spotlights were directed at it, possibly partly responsible for the magic. The bright colors of the plastic, ties the piece together. Another background for all the glitter may have been plain kitsch, but the use of these colors takes it to a new level.

This brooch was one of the pieces displayed in Petra Zimmermann’s exhibition, ‘New Work’ at Gallery Caroline Van Hoek. All the pieces were nicely spaced out, and the gallery was well lit. Looking around felt like being in a candy shop. For a day-time impression, click here, and just wait until you get to the fourth to seventh photo.

Gallery Caroline Van Hoek is a member of Klimt02.


Coffee & jewels

Another great project by Ana Cardim, who I have previously blogged about. This time, her social concept is on a very intimate scale, the artist and a stranger having coffee. Right now Ana is therefore looking for 15 strangers to have coffee with. Her goal is to meet with a cross-cut of people in society, and a jewel will be made following each individual meeting. This will result in an exhibition of 15 pieces, together with the documentation of the “coffee” they were based on.

The fantastic video above, made by Beatriz Cisneros, is showing the first coffee of the series. Watching this meeting makes me curious for the jewel to be. I also wonder who else is going to have a coffee with Ana. If you are going to Barcelona, you can contact her, and maybe she will design a jewel based on your conversation. If you do, it would be great to hear about your experience, so please leave a comment on this blog.

Coffee & jewels was first presented at Ana Cardims’ exhibition: “Device jewels”, which opened on September 17.
Its opening was simultaneous with JOYA-Barcelona Contemporary Jewelry Week, that consisted of several exhibitions, a small fair, awards handed out, and the start of a jewelry walk in Barcelona. I was very happy to be in the right place at the right time, and see it live! There was a very interesting jewelry-mix going on, all in one beautiful building.

The JOYA-Barcelona Contemporary Jewelry Week was largely organised by Klimt02, congratulations to you two!


Tools for beating

A ‘parure’ is a set of various items of matching jewelry. It is modular and can be disassembled into different parts. ‘Tools for beating’ is such a parure, made by American Seth Papac. It consists of 5 individual pieces that can be worn separately or all together in their tool bracket around the waist:

‘White knuckle’, a necklace, to me refers to boxing, a western fight sport. At the two ends of the necklace hang oval silver strips, possibly meant to harden the contestants’ hands.
‘Strike’, also a necklace, looks like a pair of nunchaku’s, used in eastern fighting. To stay true to the tools theme, they are made out of steel and wood.
The brooch ‘Club’, a very long, stiff square tube, when worn, starts beating by itself. This is also the case when is attached to the tool bracket.
‘Clench’, a ring, has to be clenched to be worn on the fingers, so the hand forms a fist (for beating).
The last part of this parure is the ‘Empty tool bracket’, which is not actually empty. The leather belt holds a very well made, smooth, spatula- like, wooden shape. Just like the brooch club, it starts beating when worn, but ‘gives’ a totally different, more gentle, kind of beating.

To have a jewel committed to beating is one thing, but 5, even though they can be assembled into one, is a bit much. But the way these pieces are made, with carefully chosen materials and incredible skill, pushes the violent nature of the work to the background. For example, the necklace ‘White knuckle’, consists of white tape, used to tie tight around the contestants’ hands, but it is tied together and carelessly draped around one’s neck. And the material of the top plate of the ring ‘Clench’, steel, could refer to real knuckledusters, or to actual tools. On top of that, its’ shape does not remind of fighting at all. This is obviously also the case with ‘Club’, the brooch.

On top of this, the artist states that this toolset is meant for beating, a fictitious job or ritual to deal with the metaphorical cleansing of his body and not someone else’s! So a very personal piece this week.

Lucky me got to experience this work in reality at Gallery Caroline Van Hoek (member of Klimt02). It is exhibited there, with 2 more parures, until October 24th.


Camée de lait

The most bizarre jewel for this post, in material and in concept.

One of the very first plastics were made out of cow’s milk, so when in 2008 the design team of Duende collective, led by Anthony van den Bossche, were asked to create something around ‘eating together’ by “La Cuisine”, they knew what to do. The plastic pendant ‘Camée de lait’ in this picture is made out of maternel milk. This is what Cécile Fricker came up with: a pendant with your own baby’s face made out of your maternel milk plastic.

Normally you would consider plastic as one of the most ordinary, unnatural materials. Plastic is often associated with cheap, single–use items (i.e. crap), Dropping off a bottle of breast milk, to be made into plastic seems unreal. Casting the plastic-milk in a 3 dimensional mold, the same shape of the baby’s head that the milk was meant for, makes it priceless. Not only is this ‘Camée de lait’ turning the natural into unnatural, it is also turning the ordinary into something luxurious.

To me, this is the ultimate jewel to keep the memory of breastfeeding your baby alive; it is made out of breast milk and has the shape of your own child. Finally, when you wear it, judging from this photograph, it dangles happily where it came from, your breasts!


How to become an elephant

Sometimes a jewel can make you curious for its’ story, and sometimes a story can seduce you to love a jewel even more. The last is the case for me with this jewel ‘How to become an elephant’ by Portugese Manuel Vilhena. Of course now I’ll let you in on the story he wrote with the jewel:

And which flower is the most delicious? - asked the man. The one on the left, of course replied the elephant. How do you know that? First, you grow a long trunk. Then, you grow large ears like mine and a, hum, quite short tail. Ah!, and you forget nothing. Is that how one becomes an elephant? The elephant looked the man in the eye, then looked down, gently picked up the flower and said - You need patience...
in „How to become an Elephant“, M.V. 2009

A very sweet story, about how to become a jewel, by Manuel Vilhena. Starting by slowly growing all the trivial bits, without losing sensitivity towards certain areas, and not forgetting anything, to make a fully finished piece.

I can totally see the elephant in this brooch look people in the eye, while it is telling the most wonderful stories. It gets my fantasy going about great, story-telling jewels to keep you company.

Luckily there is more in the exhibition ‘How to become an elephant and other fabulous and curious stories’. Opening on the 5th of September until the 27th at galerie S O, in Solothurn, Switserland. More about the exhibit on Klimt02.

Summer has been great and now I am very happy to be blogging again!


Bright red cluster 2009

There is lots of ‘recycled’ jewelry around, and to continue with the previous garbage-theme, here is one piece that really stands out for me.

Bright red cluster 2009, a brooch by New Zealand/Australian jeweler Roseanne Bartley, incorporates some of our typical bits of waste in a great way.
The red plastic bottle caps are still very recognizable, even though they have been made to look worn. Keeping their round shape, they have been cut into pieces, to become something completely different, almost floral (which is good since garbage usually is not one of the nicest smelling things;). Also, a cluster of caps is used like the way we collect our waste, before it is discarded permanently. Silver settings have been made for the invaluable bottle caps, so they are treated as semi-precious stones. The silver has been patinated black, to really set off the bright red color of the plastic. It all has been incredibly well done and thought out!

Since blogging has been hard for me these last few weeks, you now have to hurry to catch a glimpse of this wonderful piece since it is part of the exhibition ‘Winter brooches’ at Studio 20/17 in Sidney, Australia until July 11th! There is more to read about the exhibition on Klimt02.

With summer holidays fully kicking in I won’t be posting for a while. But I will be totally refreshed and ready to blog beginning of September!


The garbage pin project

The wonderful Garbage pin project has made it to my hometown Antwerp! All the 90 jewelry-artists who contributed to the project, have their 5 tiny bags of waste on display. This means that a whole Silke&the Gallery-gallery-wall is covered with 450 little garbage bags. It looks beautiful and I never thought I would say that of so much rubbish, but I guess that is part of the plan. Ana Cardim did a great job there, not only on the display of the bags, but the entire project. It really raises awareness of what we do with our waste. By putting it on display it does not just show what waste means to those 90 people, it teaches you something about everyone, it feels like you get to know them a little. To illustrate this I have chosen to display the “garbage” of the two artists, Anna Fornari and Mari Ishikawa, that have been in former broesvitrine-posts, as I am happy to see them included in this exhibit as well. The statement that goes with their work can be found on Ana Cardims’ website under artists.

Ana Cardim does not just stick to adult gallery visitors, but also invites children to come to the exhibition. To get them to really take a good look at the project, she has made assignments appropriate for their age. Wow, not only has she managed to turn an important environmental issue into a large scaled jewelry project, she is attracting kids to a gallery with it!

The gabage pin project will stay in Antwerp, Belgium at Silke&the Gallery at least until the beginning of August. After that it travels to L.A., an update of where the project goes is shown on the website under news and on the klimt02 website.


Ivory pets

In a flash these beauties may look like they were mass-produced, but they are most certainly not! Made from quality materials such as mammoth ivory and red laquer, the brooches were carefully designed by German Christoph Straube. They look very sleek, with their 'faces' in off-white and an alarmingly bright red colour used for their eyes. Every pet has its own unique expression, some more obvious animal-like, some almost human, and all incredibly cute.

Straube himself states on Klimt02: there is no object that exists purely on its own, it is always a part of a complex system. He regards aesthetics as a product of convention and evolution - the meaning of every object we look at is processed by our culture and perception.
I surely agree with him, and it is the reason why I am not the only one who thinks that they are cute.

The Ivory pets are part of the exhibition “Rare animals are the missing link” to be seen at ‘Galery Metal’ in Copenhagen, Denmark until the 4th of July.


Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!

When I first saw this brooch, it made me smile. ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’ is the start of so many jokes. At the moment my boys love to tell jokes, to anyone who’d like to hear them, over and over again. Then I started thinking: is this a really a soup spoon? No, it must be smaller, more like a teaspoon. And is that really a fly? Well…..Yes, it is!
The Finnish jeweller Eero Lintusaari cast a dead fly into acrylic to be on display in this brooch. In real life, the fly, along with the rest of the soup, would be discarded very quickly, but Eero Lintusaari became intrigued by it. He loves the delicacy and fragility of the fly, which normally would hardly tolerate to be touched without decomposing. The fly gets magnified by the acrylic and at the same time the artist uses a smaller spoon, so the proportions are a bit off and the fly gets even more emphasized. This way, the wearer is drawn to the fly to get a better look at it’s delicate beauty. It looks like a gigantic fly in a little bit of soup.
I love a joke, but I would have reservations to wearing this one, since there is still a dead fly in there!

Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!
Yes sir, this fly really knows good soup.

Eero Lintusaari is a member of Klimt02.


Sonya's scar jewel

A special jewel this week. Maybe a bit strange, but also very meaningful. When people experience something traumatic, the physical signs may show on their, or their loved-ones body. These scars are all different and very personal, just like the stories they tell. Even though they are not always visible, scars become part of them. It is their personal adornment, and it is now possible to transfer it into a golden jewel.

Artists Rachel Murawski and Liz Lessner got together with their friend Francesca who had overcome thyroid cancer, bearing the scar on her neck as a result. She was proud of the scar, a reminder of the positive outcome, but it started to fade. The creative artists decided to do something, not only to make their friend feel better, but also to help her deal with it. So, together they made the first scar-jewel.

Another example of such a scar-jewel is Sonya’s. Her personal story involves her brother who had surgery as a two-week-old baby. She says: “This scar represents pain and hope for my family and me. I wear it with pride.”
As you can see, the enormous scar across her brothers’ body was transferred into an elegant, almost botanical, but definitely recognizable, golden pendant.

The scarring experience can be hard to talk about, but when wearing a jewel like this, it becomes a lot easier. It gracefully stands out from other gold jewelry, evoking conversation. And unlike with the real scar, it is now the owners’ choice to wear it or not.


Let's melt together/ Lass uns verschmeltzen

Recently I was asked to make weddingrings. While this was on my mind, the exhibition shown on the Klimt02 website, “Yes, I do! –partnerrings” (originally in German: “Ja, ich will! –partnerringe”), caught my eye. The idea behind the work ‘Let’s melt together/ Lass uns verschmelzen’ by the Swiss Claudia Stebler, really appealed to me.
At their engagement, the happy couple is given a wooden container with 2 solid gold little boxes. The boxes contain 2 solid silver rings, one for each partner, and a solid copper plate with the promise ‘LET’S MELT TOGETHER’ engraved on it. The gold, silver and copper, add up to form 18 karat gold (750 parts gold, 125 parts silver and 125 parts copper).
Both partners get to literally ‘wear’ the solid silver ring during their engagement period, marking it with their personality. Every scratch on the silver will be proof of their daily activities. Close to the actual wedding the silver rings, golden boxes and copper plates are returned to Claudia Stebler, who melts everything into 18 karat gold. I assume both rings are then made from one piece of gold based on the worn silver rings. The engagement period is therefore melted into the final wedding rings. I really like the way the original promise on the copper plate melts together with the couples’ actual life, symbolized by the worn silver rings. The two metals melt together with the beautiful 24 karat gold boxes, like the silver engagement gets melted together into a golden future.

The exhibition "Ja, ich wil -partnerringe" is on until the 4th of May at the Beatrice Lang galerie für Schmuck in Bern, Switzerland.


Golden Fruit

Raisins, named the golden fruit by their sellers, are a sweet, fast and healthy snack. The box shows a cowboy-like figure, and jeweler Aline Vandeplas associates him with a gold-digger looking for a quick buck. He is someone relying on fast nutrition for survival, therefore the snack has to be easy to carry around, and always ready for consumption. This makes the snack as valuable as the gold he is after. To Aline Vandeplas there is no such thing as easy money and a penny saved is a penny earned. Most of the time it wasn’t the gold-digger who struck gold, but their wily suppliers. This is why she exhibits the Golden Fruit boxes in the same way gold bars normally are stacked.
Aline’s fascination with the word gold on the package, and the story behind it, does not stop there. She transformed the ‘golden fruit’ into jewelry, a necklace with a cast silver raisin as a pendant. The choice of silver, as material to work with, fits well with the raisins. Looking at its market value, silver is the snack version of metals traditionally used in jewelry. The golden fruit is taken out of its box and made into something easy to carry around and always ready to wear.

For several years Belgium’s’ Aline Vandeplas has been collecting everything on her path referring to the word ‘gold’. She created stories around her finds and like the work described above, she managed to turn it into something completely new. This resulted into the exhibition 'Gold-up'.
The exhibition lasts until April 25th at Silke&theGallery, in Antwerp, Belgium, which is also featured at Klimt02.


Pendant moonlight shadow 2008

This week I’d like to continue with botanical inspired jewelry, the ‘pendant moonlight shadow 2008’.
“Under the moon light there is very profound various grays world. It is silent. I am one who is attracted by the color tone of grey, which is found in the shadows.” These are the words of Japanese-born Mari Ishikawa as published on the Klimt02 website.
Mari Ishikawa is inspired by the botanical and vanishing color pale green, which shows in photographs of plants taken under the moonlight. She is also surprised and attracted by the shapes and perfection of flowers and weeds in a field.
In the ‘pendant moonlight shadow 2008’, the color of the pendant is unmistakably connected with its shape. The fine, moss-like, grey silver creates a 3-dimensional structure with incredible depth. This structure casts shadows on itself, creating multiple shades of grey, I suppose similar to the ones seen under the moonlight. Like the green plant it is based on, the pendant looks alive. Its form grows into an elongated ball, while coiling the necklace it hangs from. Will it take over the whole necklace?

This work is part of the exhibition ‘Mari Ishikawa: Moonlight shadow’ at Villa Bengel in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. But hurry, it runs until the 31st of March!


Steel grey brooch

Finally, the first post about an Australian piece, by the very talented Julie Blyfield! Botanical influences have always played a big role in her work, and in her most recent pieces that influence has become more relevant due to the changing climate. In Australia, and South Australia in particular, there has been a drought for the last couple of years, which is taking its toll on trees and other plants. Julie Blyfield took a trip into the desert and noticed the adaptations to drought and bush fires of the desert plants. Their forms and colors were an inspiration for her new collection and this Steel grey brooch. I can imagine how drought makes natural materials curve like the bend in this brooch. Also, bush fires would blacken everything on its path.

In addition to observing environmental changes, Julie Blyfield also studied the body ornaments made by Aboriginal people. They use natural materials with great care leading to exquisite designs which are striking in the repetition of pattern, shape and form. In her new designs she started experimenting with a variety of materials instead of using mainly metal. This resulted in the beautiful red string used in this brooch. The contrast with the steel grey and black makes the red more vibrant. On one hand that alarming red color seems like a warning sign. On the other hand the botanical feel of the brooch makes the string look like flower buds protruding on their branch, as if spring has arrived and things are looking up.

Julie Blyfiled made this amazing ‘Steel grey brooch’ in 2009 as part of the collection Natural Selection, currently exhibited (until April 4th) at Gallery Funaki in Melbourne, Australia.

Photograph by Grant Hancock.


Fidelity, The Golden Fleece ring

Because I really like this piece, an update on the previous Furry ring-post, since The Golden Fleece ring will be exhibited from tomorrow! It al started when Giovanni Corvaja went on a journey to make the mythological Golden Fleece, instead of searching for it. A journey which required kilometers of hand-made gold wire, took 12 years of precise labour and resulted in great jewelry along the way (as to be seen in the Furry ring). Not an easy task as you can imagine. The Golden Fleece is sought after because it is said to bring good luck to kings and guarantees that their kingdom will endure forever.
This Ring was made in 2008 and consists of 104,272 single wires (2.085 km of wire in total). The tiny wires must be almost microscopicaly thin to create such length and still fit around a finger! This means the gold fur is super soft to touch. The ring symbolizes fidelity, something a lot of rings do, but the combination with the Golden Fleece makes this ring the symbol of a lucky, everything enduring love. This ring combines the aesthetic with the tactile and the conceptual, which I love.

Giovanni Corvaja has made a whole Golden Fleece collection and the jewelry pieces have all been chosen to represent eternal symbols: first there is fecundity (the egg pendant), then prosperity (the round brooch),fidelity (the ring) is the third piece of this collection, commitment (the bracelet) the fourth and finally strength and perpetuity of power (the headpiece). All of these have many other meanings as well. Of course these amazing pieces will be exhibited tomorrow as well.

The exhibition is part of the International Trade Fair,in Munich, Germany, in the frame of a special exhibition “Modern Masters”, Hall 1A, 11-17.03.2009. (Exhibiting the new collection in Munich is very meaningful for the artist, who celebrates 20 years since his first exhibition in the same place, in 1989.)

An extensive explanation of the whole Golden Fleece collection is to be found on Gionvanni Corvaja's website.


Glow in the dark Hand Necklace

When design agency Mo Ka decided to turn some of their new white virtual world into reality by means of jewelry, they contacted my former classmates over at Atelier 11. This resulted in an incredible Glow in the dark collection! Every jewel has the Mo Ka logo, 2 purple pyramids, near the lock. That is also where the glow in the dark octahedron-shaped pendant comes from, a three-dimensional expression of that pyramid. The glowing part of the jewel is not made of plastic, but of a glow in the dark powder coated metal. This is why it has a nice weight when hanging on a silver chain. All the symbols used in the jewelry are inspired by the creativity displayed by Mo Ka. Like the hand in the Hand Necklace, since designing is still eventually realized by hands. Atelier 11 always makes fashionable and up-to-date jewelry and this is no exception. I particularly like the idea of having an extra hand on stand by, especially one that’s easy to find, even in the dark.

Until March 12th the jewelry is sold at a special pop-up store that Mo Ka has opened in Brussels, 124 Rue de Flandre. It is also available trough their webshop.


Skeletal metal ring

We are only one day away from the biggest American orthopaedic convention (AAOS), which is held in Las Vegas this year. Also from Las Vegas is Skeletal Metal, a jewelry company that uses stainless steel reconstruction plates normally used in orthopaedic surgery. What a coincidence! It all started when orthopaedic surgeon dr Mike Crovetti bent a stainless steel reconstruction ("ReCon") plate into a ring and started wearing it. Many people who saw the ring were intrigued by the use of a surgical steel plate in jewelry. So he teamed up with Marty Cordova and Anthony Bonifazio to form 'Skeletal Metal'.

The surgical metal is simply bent into shape to make the ring. It is often also necessary to bend the plate to fit the plate to the bone in surgery, so it is exactly the same when worn outside the body, as it is when surgically placed inside the body! In surgery this type of plate is commonly used to fix the broken bones of the forearm, elbow, pelvis and collarbone. The holes are filled by surgical screws to piece the broken bone together.

To me, it seems like a fun way for people that had surgery to display what is inside their body on the outside!
It didn't stay with just rings, now a whole series of jewelry is available with or without screw holes.

Many thanks to The Carrotbox Jewelry Blog - rings, rings, rings!



The other day I went to a restaurant that served two gold-covered hazelnuts on top of the chocolate dessert. We laughed! I kind of forgot about gold being used with chocolates and it got me thinking about choclate being used in jewelry. So after a bit of web-surfing, these 'Boules' by Barbara Uderzo are what caught my eye! In 2004, she made a few different kinds of chocolate jewels, but the Boules stand out. Not just because they are covered with goldleaf, which makes a beautiful color combination with the dark, earthy chocolate and shiny bright gold, but also by their design. The balls of choc look like enormous wearable pralines but the gold might make you think more of jewelry. I'm sure once the chocolate starts to melt on your skin and you can really smell it, the only thing you'll be thinking is: get in my tummy!

The chocolate jewels are meant to be enjoyed by couples together, so let's hope both partners are able to hold the urge to start eating, untill they can do this together!


Chest of drawers in A room for shadows

Last Thursday I saw the installation 'Chest of drawers' at the opening of the exhibition: 'A room for shadows'. The Finnish Anna Rikkinen has built this beautiful serene installation, a 3 drawer cardboard cupboard, that holds a neckpiece. A grey ribbon is used to function as a necklace, and is combined with a pendant made from white-gray silver and light gray cardboard. The different shades of grey are echoed inside the bottom drawer, where the shape of the pendant is seen as if it has been lying in the drawer for a long period of time and dust has formed an outline. It is a clever reference to the baroque shape, inspired by jewelry and ornaments from the past.

That historical background is what makes Anna Rikkinen come to a new purified, contemporary and minimalistic piece with only the outlines giving away the luxury that they are based on. The layer of dust also means that the jewel of the installation has not been worn for a very long time. Even though it is perfectly wearable, demonstrated by the fact that it is sold separately, it is not Anna's main concern. Here, the human body has been replaced by a 'Chest of drawers' and the neckpiece has left its' mark. Would it leave a mark if it had not been replaced?

The exhibition 'A room for shadows' can be seen at gallery Caroline Van Hoek in Brussels, Belgium, untill the 28th of February.

Photo's taken by Jaan Seitsara.


Face Masks

A different outlook onto the world, in this weeks post, through these Facemasks made by Canadian jeweler Arielle de Pinto. In 2007, she made 2 masks, a male and a female one. In her 2009, ‘lookbook’ she included a unisex mask.
Arielle de Pinto looks at facial expressions in fashion magazines for inspiration and with the last one it has resulted in a more aggressive, less symmetrical and prim mask. With its enlarged and simplified eyes, nose and mouth (facial features) the mask reminds me of a wooden African tribal mask. The big difference between the two is that Arielle de Pinto’s Facemasks are very flexible and therefore wearable. So instead of wearing a rigid mask it feels like wearing a veil, as the masks follow the shape of the wearer’s head perfectly. It is the only clue of what the wearer’s face may look like, since it is fully covered by the mask.
Her amazing masks have been crocheted using different colors of metal threads, which give them their features. The male mask (2nd photograph) has a beard and is balding, while the female mask is less distinct, so it could have been unisex as well.
The oversized masks don’t really fit the human head properly, but stay on because of their incredible weight of 2 kilograms. Even though the “eyes” of the mask tend to hang on the side of the wearer’s head, it is still possible to look through it, because of the loosely made metalwork.

The male and female masks are part of the exhibit 'Equilibrium: Body as Site' held in Rubin and L Galleries at the University of Texas Dept. of Art in El Paso, Texas, USA. It focuses on art that engages the body as a site. What is so refreshing about this exhibit is that it will privilege the sensorial over the intellectual. I would sure like to know what it feels like to wear the Facemasks!

Found thanks to Metalcyberspace blog!


Garbage Pin

Yeah, I'm blogging again! This time about the versatile garbage pin. It's a pin with a silver structure that can hold a tiny, transparent plastic bag (the garbage bag). Once full, this bag can be removed, closed with a wire and kept as a memory of the experience. The pin questions the value of the waste and the memories attached to it, as they get combined with a precious metal! Throwing things away can be great relief, a way of cleansing your space. This garbage pin can be a call to reflect what we do with our waste. By wearing your own ‘experiences’ in a clear plastic garbage bag on your body, the piece becomes very personal. It has both an exhibitionistic and a voyeuristic side to it, because it could show what the wearer has been up to.
The contents of the bag go beyond their material properties, and may represent happiness, hope, fears or even secrets and guilt. The contents of the bag do not have to be random waste, but it can consciously be filled with symbols for contaminants of our society like war, pollution and global warming to challenge the voyeur.
Ana Cardim is the wonderful Portuguese designer of this manufactured pin. She mass-produced her pin so that many wearers could 'finish' the piece by filling the garbage bags. The piece is a kit that includes 5 spare plastic bags and wires. It even became a project called the garbage pin project (sponsored with a grant by the Portuguese ministry of culture). 100 artists teamed up to each do their own version of the Garbage Pin, by filling 5 garbage bags accompanied by photographs and a little written synopsis. This means 500 little garbage bags! Hopefully a schedule of the exhibitions will be published soon.