Sunday, October 4, 2015


It's not common knowledge that the Museum of Arts and Design has, on its second floor, numerous drawers of art jewelry that members of the public can pull out at will (the drawers, mind you, not the jewelry), and be bedazzled by anywhere from one grand work to ten tiny works of stunning art in a space no larger than a coffee table book.   For visitors inspired by these drawers to have works of art jewelry for their own, once a year MAD puts on LOOT, an exhibition and sale of international art jewelry whose breadth and originality make LOOT a must see each fall.

While Jean and her husband attended his school reunion, Valerie went to report on LOOT.  This year, there were fifty-five artists, so we can't show you everything, but we can try to give you a taste of this very enjoyable show.

In the opening photo is an agate neckpiece by Petr Dvorak, a native of the Czech Republic living in Austria.  Below is the neckpiece on its display stand.  The simple construction allows the piece to move easily on the neck, but the simplicity of the design gives no hint of the amount of work that goes in to creating the finished product.  It was such an honor to wear it for a minute!

Early on, I ran into Debbie Adamson, who does wonderful things with rubber.  Here are two of her pieces, made to look almost like chunks of driftwood.  That's fellow artist Hayley Beckley on the right, wearing one of the beautiful cloth collars she brought to LOOT.  More on that in a moment.

Here are Debbie and Hayley, wearing two of Hayley's neckpieces.  Over Hayley's shoulder, you can see more of her work on the wall.

Nearby were Anastasia Su and Martin Lesjak, of 13&9 Design, who trained as architects, and work in corian, a material often used in surfacing.  Here, Anastasia shows off a cool modernist corian collar and earring.  The earring is pierced in the traditional place, but hooks over the ear in a completely non-traditional way.  They also made some positively wicked sunglasses.

Yu Hiraishi showed painted brass accessories in bright colors and bold designs partly derived from juxtaposing small brass squares at unusual angles.

Nicole Schuster, who works in oxidized silver, says she gets her inspiration both from the geometric shapes found in both nature and shapes found in cities.  Here, one ring encircles each finger, but have the appearance of two rings.

Aprosio & Co., from Italy, specializes in Venetian beads and Bohemian crystals.  While they seem capable of making absolutely anything, including a black beaded bag decorated with three dimensional beaded chili peppers, let us show you one of the gorgeous winged insect brooches with delicate beaded antennae, jaws and legs.

Most of the artists are their own best models, and wear their creations to great advantage.  Here, Mary Samoli, who works in gorgeous yellow gold, shows some of her designs.

Hitomi Jacobs works primarily in silver and pearls. The tassel at the base of this neckpiece is made entirely of tiny seed pearls.  She also had coral and turquoise pieces, made with equally small, or smaller, beads.

Gustav Reyes is doing beautiful work in wood.  Here are two of his pieces.  Mr. Reyes probably surprises everyone when he demonstrates the flexibility of the coil bracelet, the result of a special process.  Given its ability to stretch and then return to its original shape, the bracelet could almost be compared to a Slinky, although its asymetrical shape is more interesting.  The bi-level burled wood ring is made of "salvaged wood from other crafts people".

I didn't get to speak to Eva Franceschini about her perforated silver, but I marveled at the delicacy of her work.  Notice that several of the pieces are painted.

Angela Fung calls her work "kinetic semiprecious stones and silver".  Since the work is still while on display, Angela had to show me what makes her work kinetic.  The bracelet on the left is a kind of modified spring.  It expands to fit the arm, and shinks when taken off.  On her other arm is a square bracelet with three parallel rows of gutters (for lack of a better word), between each of which a semiprecious stone can zip from one end to the other as the arm moves.   Like many of the artists, Angela has an interesting and surprising background.  If time allows, we hope you will take a look at the artists' websites.  The path to becoming a jeweler can be as unusual as the jewelry.

Silvie Tissot, left, designs, and Christophe Tissot executes Silvie's designs.  Their daughter is, to say the least, their very effective sales representative.  They have a long and interesting background, which you can read more about here.

On my arrival, LOOT's curator, Bryna Pomp (right), was wearing a stone necklace from one of the displays, but when I ran into her again she had exchanged it for another.  Left is Eva Franceshini; center is Olivia Monti Arduini, wearing her light-as-a-feather necklace of chain matte porcelain.

Monies had a display as well, but I didn't want to interrupt a sale, so instead of showing you their dramatic statement pieces (which you can see here), we can show you Joyce Williams, the perfect representative for Monies.  Don't forget to take a closer look at her glasses.

Here is a necklace of silver ellipses, each different from the next, by Ute Decker.   The matching bracelet, which can be worn several different ways on the wrist, can also be added to the necklace with a simple snap, to make a great centerpiece to the necklace, as well as add length.  According to her website, Ute regularly writes and speaks on ethical jewelry.

Here, Ute wears another of her silver neckpieces, which can also be arranged in multiple different ways.  With her is Chiara Scarpitti, who made the delicate necklace of white fiber on metal frames she's wearing, as well as the hexagonal brooch.

I was happy to find Danielle Gori-Montanelli, Here sporting a brooch of sharpened purple pencils made in her signature felt.  Earlier, she had been wearing a spray of red felt polka dot mushrooms, and reported that a LOOT visitor reminisced about quite enjoying eating those mushrooms in the '60s.  I'm wearing one of Danielle's neckpieces, and on my arrival I saw a client of hers wearing one of Danielle's felt hats.  Never one to stand still, Danielle is now making miniature felt furniture, so new none of them are on her website - yet.

Jean Power is a beading whiz, and is so advanced that she has developed new techniques of her own.  "Are you familiar with the Bead Society?", I asked her, thinking its members would surely love to know about these new techniques.  Not only was she familiar with the Bead Society, she had taught a class there the week before LOOT.  I'm always the last to know.

Here are two of Jean's proprietary techniques.  What may not be clear in the photograph is that the designs are three dimensional, not flat.  The stars hold their shapes by virtue of their own tension.  The angled beads are a series of twenty triangles painstakingly sewn together, and given a little assistance with a single large bead inside.  Jean says she's done it so long now that she can sew the edges together by feel, without looking.

Evren Kayar, from Turkey, has a line out called Constellations, made of silver, gold, and stones.  They come in necklaces, earrings, and rings.  The rings can be worn singly or in groups, and come in several colors.

My last stop was with Emily Kidson, who specializes in laminate and inlaid silver.  I liked so much of her work, much of which had a mid-century modernist look about it.  Emily was kind enough to forward this picture for our use.

If you're in the New York area, mark you calendar for next year.  Keep the end of September and the beginning of October open!


  1. I would have a difficult time making it out of this show with anything left in my bank account! The jewellery designs are spectacular - I can't believe the variety of materials and shapes. I'll take one of Ute Decker's neckpieces and that coiled wood bracelet please!