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Hello and welcome to ART Talk, a series of conversations with the artists and master craftsman that make our world a more beautiful place. What inspires them to create? What does it take to make it in the world of handmade? Today I'm joined by artist, mother, small business owner, master craftsman, jeweler and nature lover Dina Varano. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Dina has had a presence in the Connecticut River Valley for nearly thirty years. After spending several formative years living and studying in Italy, Dina settled into her studio, nestled deep in the woods surrounding her home and retail space in Chester, Connecticut. At her shop, that fittingly carries her name, Dina displays her stunning collection of jewelry and artwork as well as a mindfully curated collection of the works from other artists. She continues to draw inspiration from the natural beauty at her doorstep.
“I am inspired by nature. I study and explore through drawing in charcoal. My goal is to capture this essence and gesture in metal. I want to show the mark of my hand in each piece and achieve a rhythm of grace and movement. My parents are dancers, at an early age I learned the grace of rhythm and movement which has become a formative influence in my work. I want my jewelry to inspire and welcome play with the wearer.” ~Dina Varano
My guest this Thursday, July 26th at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk is David LaPlantz (aka D. D. Deco), an active, producing jeweler and metalsmith. He flirts back and forth between jewelry and social commentary sculpture.
About: David LaPlantz is included in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in the West and was named Humboldt State University’s “Outstanding Professor” in 1981. He received a Fulbright Grant in 1985 to travel throughout New Zealand to conduct master jewelry workshops, and received the Humboldt State University “Scholar of the Year” Award in 1994.
From 1967 through 2002, LaPlantz led an energetic dual life as both a full time jewelry and metalsmithing teacher and full time studio artist. Balancing his precious time between the two, he carved out a career comprised of imparting knowledge and creating art jewelry and sculpture, while trying to retain his sanity. LaPlantz is currently a full time studio artist living on the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
LaPlantz has always been an active, productive jeweler and metalsmith. His most recent jewelry involves the use of Vegetable Ivory (tagua nut) and /or industrially painted aluminum, which he engraves, stacks and cold connects together. LaPlantz’s sculptural pieces visually explore more political and philosophical topics such as blacklisting in the entertainment industry, payola scandals in the music industry and in radio, along with the “spoken word” as demonstrated in his ‘Art Microphones.’
For more information, visit http://laplantzstudios.com/.
My guest on Thursday, June 5th at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk will be artist, craftsman, and jeweler Jim Grahl of J.Grahl Design.
About: My name is Jim Grahl. I'm nearing 65 years old, 48 of those years have been continuously devoted to jewelry and industrial design. My training initiated with a Los Angeles workshop that was the contract (or outsource) manufacturer for Van Cleef and Arpels, Gump's, Pierre Touraine and many others that were the foundation of the West Coast's fine Art~Jewelry establishment. I have formal apprenticeships in Pave' setting (Gerardo Terranova) and ancillary training in platinum-smithing, machining, and antique musical restoration.
My personal business (J.Grahl Design) was founded at the outset and has been in continuous operation for 47 years. (as of 2011). I'm a maker-builder at heart. All of the items shown in the photographs and illustrations here, on "Custom Made", are exactly that... Custom Made. You will see many cross over categories in metal, wood, glass and illustration-art. I am deeply involved with both vintage autos and surfing, so items relating to those topics are exposed here as well. There are generally a few of my projects available for live viewing at the Museum at the Gemological Institute of America as well as The San Diego Natural History Museum.
Our range of services is extensive. Our experience includes designing, photography, prototyping, project development, and jewelry fabrication. In addition, we also have experience with mechanical music mechanisms, illustration, computer engineering and design development (CAD), restoration of jeweled items and consulting.
For more information, visit: http://www.jgrahldesign.com/.
My guest on Thursday, May 15th at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk will be Marc Choyt, the Director of Fair Jewelry Action, USA and President of Reflective Images.
About Marc: Marc is a social entrepreneur and President of Reflective Images Inc, a designer jewelry company located in Santa Fe, New Mexico which has won several awards for excellence and converted its entire production to recycled precious metal. In addition to producing designer Celtic jewelry, Reflective Images focuses on artisan sourcing/production and was the first company in the US to offer a broad range of fair trade gold wedding and engagement rings.
About Reflective Images: Helen Chantler and Marc Choyt, a husband and wife team, started our company in 1995. Previously, Marc was an English teacher at a school for Native Americans. Helen was a jeweler working for another company. The company grew tremendously and at one point, we were selling our jewelry in hundreds of stores and catalogs in North America. Since 2009, we have been focusing on our websites and our Santa Fe jewelry store.
To learn more, visit: http://www.celticjewelry.com/ or http://www.artisanweddingrings.com/.
Fair Jewelry Action (FJA) is a Human Rights and Environmental Justice Network within the jewellery sector. FJA promotes ethical and fair trade jewellery practices by advocating traceability and transparency in the jewellery supply chain. The CRED Foundation is providing developmental support for FJA as an autonomous organisation as it delivers activities in accordance with CRED’s charitable aims and objectives.
To learn more, visit: http://www.fairjewelry.org.
My guest on Thursday, April 17th at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk will be jeweler, designer, and educator Jayne Redman.
About: “Nature provides an endless reference for imagination and invention. The linear quality of stems and the fullness of flower buds inspire my jewelry. I enjoy integrating mechanics with design, allowing each piece to function in a visually intriguing way. I work with multiples of the same shape, engineering them to fit precisely, giving an abstract interpretation of their botanical source. Many years of metalsmithing have taught me the power of simplicity. My forms begin as flat metal shapes and arrive as small sculptures. Their complexity is in their conception as curving planes of origami.”
Jayne Redman earned her B.F.A. in Jewelry and Silversmithing from Maine College of Art in 1977. She began her career in New York as a design and production assistant in the fashion jewelry industry. She started her company, Jayne Redman Jewelry, in 1982. Jayne began developing the Floraforms™ Collection in 1995. In 1998, the American Craft Council selected a piece from her collection as “representative of the quality of work found at all ACC events” to use in advertising their wholesale markets.
Jayne has been featured in articles for Crafts Report, AJM, Lapidary Journal, Professional Jeweler, Niche, and Ornament magazines as well as a number of books. Jayne is a former faculty member of the Maine College of Art Department of Jewelry and Metals and teaches workshops nationally. She maintains a studio in southern Maine and is represented by fine jewelry and craft stores across the country.
To learn more about Jayne, visit: http://www.jayneredmanjewelry.com.
My guest on Thursday, May 1st at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk will be jeweler, enamelist, metalsmith, artist, and naturalist David C. Freda.
Abou David: “Among the first images created by man were those of animals. One cannot trace the history of art without reference to the animal image. Since prehistoric times, the animal world has provided man the imagery by which to visually illuminate important aspects of himself and his life. The animal image provides a universal language that all cultures can share. Until the extinction of the last species, man will draw upon the animal world for inspiration.
I also probe the world of animals for my imagery. Bird watching, taxidermy, falconry, scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and numerous other adventuresome activities have educated me enabling me to express the natural world in an artistic sense. My forms are a distillation of these experiences. Some compositions feature realistic “renderings” of animal forms while others are abstractions suggesting a particular theme and create from it an unexpected or surprising result.
To obtain this, I often juxtapose the animal image or abstraction using ancient processes with twentieth century materials such as fine metals, vitreous enamels, aluminum, acrylic, niobium, and so on, while maintaining the sense of a natural habitat via color, texture, and movement. I feel I share a kinship with artists of the past whose intimate knowledge of the natural world also provided them with their concepts..
To learn more about David, visit: http://www.davidcfreda.com.
My Guest this Thursday, March 13th at 3 p.m. PDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk is artist, jeweler, and fine jewelry specialist Deborah Boskin.
About: Deborah Boskin is a specialist of fine jewelry at Bonhams in San Francisco. She knows a lot about establishing value for jewelry on the secondary market. Since joining the company in 1998, Boskin has taken on such responsibilities from Head Cataloguer and Stylist to appraisals. She works with the US Department to create over ten jewelry auctions each year. She also travels the US for various auctions and events.
Her educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Arts & Crafts, where her focus was Jewelry/Metal Arts, and a Bachelor's in Art History from Boston University. She has been creating wearable jewelry and small sculpture in the Bay Area, and has been very involved in the SF jewelry community, having served as active and adjunct board member of the Metals Arts Guild for over a decade.
Bonhams International Jewelry department is a highly regarded and respected force in the global market place achieving top selling results for pieces of fine and rare jewelry from estates and collections. The department sells all types of antique, period and modern jewelry specializing in diamond Art Deco items, large single diamond solitaires and famous luxury designed and signed pieces by Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels and Andrew Grima as well as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, precious stones and natural pearls. Our dynamic and well-established team of highly regarded specialists will offer you confidential and professional advice on all aspects of buying and selling at auction.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 3:00 PDT/ 6:00 EDT is jewelry artist Chi Galatea Huynh.
Please join us for this live interview and participate by logging onto the chat-room or sending a message to Whaley Studios’ Facebook Page.
About: Chi Galatea Huynh, the creator of Galatea, was born and raised in the jewelry industry. His father was a talented and widely respected jeweler. One day Chi’s father revealed the greatest mystery to him, what does it take to be a great jeweler? His father said, “If you want to be a great jeweler it takes skill and repetition. To be a ‘great jeweler’ also requires patience, dedication, courage and a special love for your trade. Having these qualities makes you worthy to work in my shop”.
Today at Galatea, they have more than jewelers, they have what they call an “Olympic” team of jewelers all of whom share this philosophy and love for the trade.
Galatea is widely known for their Diamond-In-A-Pearl collections and their Galatea Pearl collections. His jewelry creations are all truly works of art. “Galatea” was a statue that came to life, which arrived from Greek Mythology. As an artist, Chi wants his work to come to life.
To learn more, visit Galatea's website and Facebook Page.
Whether you are a doctor starting a new practice, an acupuncturist, a florist, CPA, jeweler, selling cosmetics…an entrepreneur selling just about anything…an author. Perhaps you are producing webinars, CDs, or seminars.
How do you fire up your business and sell through the power of the Internet, with low costs?
My Guest this Thursday, October 15, 2014 at 3 p.m. PDT/6EDT on MetalSmith BenchTalk is Tammy Jones, the editor of Jewelry Making Daily.
About Tammy: "I'm the editor of Jewelry Making Daily. I also have my own handmade jewelry business on Etsy, Southern Baubelles. I love working with metal clay, found objects, silver, copper, and genuine gemstones. I also enjoy knitting, paper crafts like card making and scrapbooking, cooking, traveling, the seashore, and snow!"
About Jewelry Making Daily: We are the ultimate destination for anyone interested in creating handmade jewelry. Whether you're new to jewelry making and looking to learn advanced techniques or an accomplished jewelry artisan interested in sharing, learning, and being inspired, Jewelry Making Daily is the place for you. And we're so happy to have you!
While you're here, you can get jewelry-making tips from industry experts; be inspired and download free step-by-step jewelry projects; learn new jewelry-making techniques through blogs and video demos; save money with great deals in our online store; discover resources for jeweler's tools, supplies, events, and more.
For more information about Jewelry Making Daily, visit http://www.jewelrymakingdaily.com.
Edward S. Majian, founder and president of SARTONK, the original boxing belt maker, speaks with JennieGirl.
Adapted from the Armenian word zartonk (meaning "rebirth"), SARTONK was founded in 2009, to safeguard a boxing legacy that dates back over three decades.
In the late 1970s, Ardash Sahaghian, a jeweler by trade and artist by birth, was invited to apply himself to the reinventing of championship boxing belts. It was in a New Jersey studio, under the management of Phil Valentino Sr., that Sahaghian gave shape to the now iconic modern boxing belts.
Works include WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world championship belts, prominent regional models, specialty designs and early MMA (the original UFC belt). These, together with revisions to Ring Magazine belts, and historic reproductions of the John L. Sullivan and Rocky Marciano belts, account for his indelible mark on fight history.
Today, Sahaghian's contributions are advanced by his grandson, Edward S. Majian and today SARTONK is respected as a full-capacity design firm, with a steady flow of original and cutting-edge work.
SARTONK's legacy led to a 2012 induction of 91 year old Sahaghian into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as Boxing's Master Craftsman. Soon to follow with its release of the "Champion of the Decade" belt. The Decade belt (Marquez v. Pacquiao IV) marked the first time that a belt itself garnered mass attention for its aesthetic value.
In 2013 ESPN The Magazine featured "Constructing for Champions" a photo spread of Sahaghian and Majian in its June 10 issue. This coverage helped elevate boxing belts into mainstream public awareness.