Thursday, January 3, 2008

Questions for Aesa Jewelry

Following on the last post about Randi Mates, jewelry designer in Brooklyn, NY. I asked Randi a couple of questions about her background and the lastest collection...also a few images to tempt you further.

BD: Did you go to school to learn jewelry design and if so, what were some starting points for developing you style?
RM: I studied ancient greek and roman fabrication techniques at the Jewelry Arts Institute on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. It was a very esoteric scene with older women who have been doing this for years, making and restoring antique jewelry,and when I say antique I mean from antiquity, not within the last twenty years. When I was there you are given pure grains of metal [gold/silver] and you make your own alloys, sheet and wire and then make the jewels from that. It's very formal, very few modern tools... no pre-made components, the emphasis is on structure and classical design... This was an exciting place to learn, but it's difficult to forge a business from this method.

BD: Tell me a few things about the new collection?
RM: the newest collection that you saw on our visit is called the herkimer collection: The images here are of this collection: they are based on herkimer diamond forms. herkimer diamonds are quartz with two terminations [each end of the piece comes to a point] and come from a few mines in upstate New York. They were first found by colonists in the late 18th century and there is a great deal of lore surrounding their early sales. A multitude of stories suggest that they were sold by prospectors to unwitting consumers in the region as real diamonds during the civil war. As a historian, I like this story and and as a designer, I love the forms. I also was attracted to the fact that creating pieces that are riffs on their forms gave me an opportunity to play with the idea of 'diamonds' without using real diamonds. Like most people designing today, it feels important and necessary to address the environmental and ethical use of materials in whatever way you can when you can, while still trying to make something that looks kick-ass! The real diamonds used in the pieces, some of the pieces have small paved stones, are going to be recycled diamonds because it also helps situate the pieces in another historical context and if nothing else, it is fun to address these issues because it makes the pieces richer to me.

There is also a new collection of engraved pieces taken from late medieval alchemical texts...(images also attached).
All of the images [minus the palmistry hand] are taken from late medieval
alchemical texts. They are all indicative of the moment of enlightment. The rose bush image shows a rose bush growing from a stem of thorns; it is
supposed to represent the flower that comes from the thorns... the beauty
that is the blossom of hard work and trials..

The heart with radiating energy is supposed to be the clear heart after it
has been purified by enlightenment...

The eye is an image that represents the moment of seeing god; I believe it
says that by wearing this image the person will have the moment of to come into seeing, asking the wearere/viewer to see the 'truth'

The dragon eating it's own tail is actually a snake, or a variation on the
ourobourous. it represents regeneration.

The palmistry hand is taken from a 19th century palmistry text and shows the
sigficant palmistry points...

BD: I love the fact that you are using recycled diamonds. Thanks for all this information, Randi. This is fantastic.


Matieres a reflexion said...

We discovered Aesa on Rendez-vous Paris tradeshow last year and loved it !

... maybe soon available in Paris !

Matieres a reflexion Shop, Paris

Matieres a reflexion said...

We received our Aesa seelection a couple of days ago - they are as great as we remembered them !!!