One of a Kind Show


Beautiful Adornments: Get to know these One of a Kind makers

11 . 11 . 2019

The One of a Kind Holiday Show will feature a treasure trove of adornments from amazingly talented jewelry makers. We talked to four of them to find out more about their work and inspiration. Check out what they said and get to know them in person at this year's Holiday show.

Detailed and meticulously crafted by artist Christine Trac, every piece of her jewelry is designed for the thoughtful individual with a discerning eye and an effortless sense of style.

Tell us more about Abacus Row.

Christine Trac: Abacus Row is an independent brand of refined and understated handmade jewelry. The line offers an unexpectedly subtle approach to beadwork. Each piece of jewelry is meticulously designed and hand-beaded in San Francisco, California.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Christine: Over the last year, I've been consumed by color and the dynamic interactions that you can create with more complex palettes. In the past, my work has largely emerged from finding my materials and a process of play and iteration. With my more recent focus on color, I've been finding inspiration in the contemporary paintings of poet/artist Etel Adnan and the enchanting qualities of Chinese antique ware, Jun ware.

What does handmade mean to you?

Christine: To me, handmade represents craft and identity. It reflects a creative expression and one's ability or approach to translating ideas to tangible form.

Artist Melissa Stiles received her degree in Architecture and worked in the field for ten years before starting her jewelry company. She makes modern jewelry that combines the discipline of her architectural training with the exploration of industrial materials and processes.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Melissa: I love form and color. I like design that makes sense rather than arbitrary design. I guess this is another way of saying form follows function.

What materials do you use?

Melissa: I works in various materials including hand-pigmented resin, laser cut stainless steel, brushed aluminum, powder-coated enamel, and silver. These materials lend themselves to blending different means of fabrication resulting in a collection of minimal, durable jewelry in cheerful colors with bold graphic designs.

Tamra's work is an eclectic fusion of traditionally-fabricated metalwork and handcrafted micro-textiles, made using techniques of historical Japanese and South American origin.

How and why did you decide to become an artist?

Tamra: My mom taught me to sew while I was in middle school. I fell in love with tailoring and thought I’d pursue a career as a fashion designer, but the thought of living in New York (assumption) was a non-starter. College rolls around and I follow conventional wisdom choosing a “safe” course of study—business administration. I figured that if I couldn’t be a fashion designer, I might as well become a well-paid corporate attorney. I spent an entire year as a business major before realizing how much I loathed it. I changed my major to physics. I still found the “safe” path stifling. I was not happy. I had no creative outlet.

The motivation and courage to pursue art didn’t come until several years after graduate school. My husband knew how dissatisfied I’d become with my career up to that point, and he encouraged me to take a photography course at a local community college. That was the nudge I needed. It broke the logjam, and with a zig one way, and a zag in a different direction I somehow landed in jewelry and metalsmithing.

Tell us more about your process.

Tamra: Using myriad braiding techniques across five wooden stands of historical Japanese origin, I create small vibrantly-colored textiles from fine silk threads. Each of the textiles is made completely by hand. The meticulously-crafted fiber work begins as either a spool or skein of very fine hand-dyed silk thread. Some of the threads are as fine as a strand of human hair. I warp the threads, section them, tension and braid them. The warps range in thickness from five silk strands per individual element (bobbin), up to two-hundred strands per bobbin. The number of bobbins can vary from eight for micro ties, up to thirty-two or more for thicker, much larger textiles.

Artist Jessica Haynes works with Japanese glass beads and centuries-old antique glass that she weaves into jewelry, accessories, and even shoes.

What inspires you?

Jessica: Textiles and abstract art often catch my eye, but I'm mostly inspired by the simple whim of the moment. I love feeling attuned to the sense of color and overall balance in a piece as it slowly comes to life. That's my favorite thing about my work: although individual pieces can look very similar, each one is an homage to the unique aliveness of each moment as it unfolds.

Tell us more about your weaving technique.

Jessica: I weave each piece by hand using only a needle and thread; the process takes many hours to become an heirloom art piece that will last a lifetime. Though I often make multiples of a pattern, I always find myself trying to slip in some stealthy extra colors. This results in a more nuanced design, a unique piece that was sculpted by the intuitive nudge of the moment, and an homage to the importance of following where our energy takes us.

What are you bringing to the One of a Kind Holiday Show?

Jessica: Lots and lots of colorful earrings and swoopy pins! And if I'm lucky enough to get the time to weave them out of my imagination and into reality, a pair of beaded 24k gold shoes.

Meet these makers in December and many more who create beautiful one of a kind jewelry.