What inspired you to create Lonely
I have this obsession with hearts in this kitschy way because it’s almost cheesy to love them. The contemporary jewelry world is a place where there is so much humor, unlike with other categories of jewelry. At the same time, because it is so academic and oftentimes intimidating, I have a personal affinity for jewelry that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Then, I was thinking that I would love to do something creative for Jewelry Week. It’s that idea of wearing your heart on your sleeve, and telling your stories. It’s not just the wearers but also the jewelers who are working through these broken hearts. Calling it Lonely Hearts Club is about how we always say yes to love, no matter what. Then, I brought in Sarah Rachel Brown and A Thousand Facets, and we all want to continue the story beyond just this exhibition.
Why is it important for you to talk about heartbreak in relation to jewelry?
There is no other story that is so personal. We are either happy or horribly uncomfortable talking about heartbreak. We keep secrets, and people write songs about it. I think that is the epitome of jewelry. There’s a deep association with the heart – my parents gave me a heart locket when I graduated from college. This show is funny and cute but also telling this legacy of heart jewelry in an interesting way.
How did you go about choosing all the artists?
We wanted there to be a lot of differing styles in the show. We each had our own viewpoint even though Sarah and I have similar tastes, we still picked very different people. Of course, everyone is asking about Lola Brooks, whether she’ll be in it, and she has some pieces in it. In contemporary jewelry, when you think of hearts, everyone thinks of Lola. It’s epic. Amelia Toelke was also a deciding factor in coming up with Lonely Hearts Club. There’s so much sincerity in her work. She’s going to have a big wall piece in the show.
How will the work be presented? I heard that there might be a kissing booth.
Each jeweler was asked to create a box for their piece, and we left the prompt very open ended. Now everyone is creating these amazing boxes which is really exciting. Emily Cobb, for instance, made this cage in the shape of a heart for her piece. It was interesting because a lot of artists got stuck on this box part. Then they all came through really excited!
How does this show fit into the larger fabric of New York City Jewelry Week?
I wanted to have a show that was lighthearted and fun. At Jewelry Week, we always try to have a bridge from the general public into contemporary jewelry. This show is a great entry point into that conversation because hearts are something everybody understands. Also, it was a great way for us to include a lot of artists that are not always considered part of Jewelry Week. European artists like Benedikt Fischer, Julia Walters and locally, Jackie Andrews out of Baltimore. I think it’s important for Bella and I to have a voice within NYCJW. We really try to dig deep into the idea that every piece of jewelry has a story. From the person who made it, to the person who bought it, to the person who is going to wear it. Jewelry is such a unique category of object. It carries this sort of significance like nothing else.
This article is published in the 2019 New York City Jewelry Week Paper, the result of a collaboration between Current Obsession and NYCJW. Fluid Movement features a selection of NYCJW events that we can’t wait to see!