I fell in love with this dainty and delicate ring by Kimberlin Brown at this weeks ID Pop Shop NYC at Chelsea Market. This nature inspired beauty kind of makes me think of Snow White meets Upper East Side. This is a great starter piece for less than a 100 Dollars. Below is a selection of some of her other beautiful pieces. I love how whimsical and yet sofisticated her pieces are!
By Constance Zheng with Marcy Clark for Women’s Mafia
Mathieu Mirano’s Spring/Summer 2013 presentation stood in sharp contrast to the season he was purportedly designing for. The stunning models (excellent casting for this show) posed as a snow queen in elegant gowns, capes, jackets, pants and short looks, as the beats thumped in the glacial background. It was fire and ice, with striking phoenix imagery. The model’s make-up was an effective nude look with a poker face and clean hairstyle. Time seamed to stand still in the Box at Lincoln Center for Matheui Mirano and his intricate, glamorous and impeccable new collection.
Jeweler extraordinaire Lynette Ong’s new collection SARAT (from the Khmer word for Beauty) supports inspiring local charity projects that benefit women. The line also features inventive, awe-inspiring details such as featuring reclaimed landmine metals in many of their pieces. Will you join us on Wednesday September 5th at POP242 and welcome Edge of Ember designer Lynette Ong to New York for their US debut?
Women’s Mafia: How did you get started in design? When did you start Edge of Ember?
Lynette Ong: EDGE OF EMBER launched early this year, but the inspiration for EDGE OF EMBER first came to me two years back when I was in Ubud, Bali where there were tons of silversmiths and art workshops. Most of them had an open workshop concept where customers could see the artisans working on these uniquely handcrafted pieces. I found these gorgeous works of art absolutely amazing. Yet with the overwhelming trend in the marketplace towards mass production, customers get either machine-lasered fare from factories or designer handmade items that were exorbitantly priced.
Living in Hong Kong, I travelled extensively in Asia and would often buy locally crafted accessories on these trips. I thought that with proper retail channels and commercial expertise, the craftsmanship of these smaller artisan groups could be well appreciated by a global audience, and their livelihood would also be supported through this.
So I was inspired to start an ethically produced accessories label that brings the stories and skills of these local artisans to the rest of the world. As I developed this model, it was important to me that my new venture carried a socially responsible message. Unfortunately in the current market, everything needs to be done cheaply and efficiently, thus producers often disregard the welfare and development of those who make their wares. And in the wake of mass production, traditional craftsmanship is also often thrown out the window. It would have been easier and cheaper to simply have my designs made in a China factory but I didn’t want that.
I have always loved jewelry. I think accessories complete an outfit and showcase an individual’s personality. But it was only when the EDGE OF EMBER idea came to me that I started dabbling with jewelry design. I have not had formal design training; the brand’s aesthetic is just a reflection of my personal style. I love combining simple, classic pieces and bolder jewelry to create a look that is versatile enough to wear for both casual and formal occasions.
The essence of the EDGE OF EMBER brand is ethical commerce i.e. fair wages and opportunities. Certain organizations that we work with focus their employment on disadvantaged groups, for example Rehab Crafts, the Phnom-Penh based group that we collaborate with, employs victims of landmines. Also Mahaguthi, the organization based in Nepal, endeavors to provide women with more work opportunities through flexible home-based arrangements, in an otherwise male dominated workforce.
When educated and given the choice, I think consumers want to purchase ethically produced goods. In addition to a fair trade philosophy in production, I also felt it was paramount to allow customers to contribute, through their purchases, to the communities of the artisans who are creating the EDGE OF EMBER line, hence the 10% of contribution through the EMBER PROJECT.
The concept of using up-cycled materials, such as recycled brass bombshells in Cambodia and discarded buffalo horn in Vietnam, complements the ethos of the EDGE OF EMBER brand. I hope to, wherever feasible, continue to employ this concept in more jewelry pieces going forward. In Cambodia, the artisan group we work with gets raw brass bombshells from organized demining efforts (Halo Trust, Cambodian Mine Action Center), cleans and melts the bombshells before reusing this material for jewelry making. I love this sustainable repurposing of genocide remnants, and the meaningful concept of turning an ugly reminder of their history into beautiful works of art.
Where do you get your design inspirations?
Everywhere, really – from architecture to fashion or just the “vibe” of different places I go to. I travel a lot especially around Asia since I moved to Hong Kong five years ago, and I love pairing the more traditional, ethnic aesthetic in Asia to a contemporary urban style.
The current collection SARAT (the Khmer word for “beauty”) showcases jewelry pieces handmade in Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia and Vietnam, with organic hand-hammered metals, bold geometric studs and ethnic-inspired tassels that are accompanied by an elegant mix of crystals and pearls for a sprinkling of luxury. It is influenced by a variety of moodboards. The studs and spikes give an edgy and raw feel that I translated from bustling developing cities like Phnom Penh and Hanoi, the crystals set in antique-plated bezels show a hint of vintage and Art Deco with, and the pearls and tassels add a touch of old school glamour. I also like to contrast the edgy and feminine, the ethnic and the contemporary in pieces. Continue reading
The Women’s Mafia has teamed up with our sister PR Firm Yellow Sky Agency to create POP 242, part women’s wear and accessories Shop, part PR showroom for editors and stylists, and always a party!
Would you like to join us for our exclusive Launch Party on Wednesday July 11th from 6-9pm?
242 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Within 5 minutes of the Bedford L train and also accessible from the J,M,Z and G trains.
RSVP@yellowskyagency.com to attend the launch party or to be added to our guest list for future events – we will have trunk shows, sample sales, art, music and cultural events all throughout July, August and September. Designers interested in learning more about POP 242 can email Marcy@yellowskyagency.com for details.
By Carlos Aparicio for Women’s Mafia
Marcy Clark and the Women’s Mafia were thrilled to host the first (of many to come) press-only Fashionable Friday Gifting Events. Celebrity Stylist Nick Arrojo (you will remember his excellent cuts and sexy accent from TLC’s What Not To Wear) hosted us at Arrojo Studio in lower Manhattan last Friday July 22nd.
A group of selected bloggers and journalists, many from the fab NYC Fashion Bloggers Meet-up group, were treated with makeovers including hair & make up treatments by the professionals at Arrojo Studio, as well as gifts from latest jewelry collection by rising-star designer J. Rudy Lewis.
The bloggers were excited to meet J. Rudy Lewis and pick a piece to wear at the event and be photographed rocking his designs. He is rapidly becoming one of the darlings of celebrity stylists, publications such as Vogue, royalty (such as Her Highness Princess Ameerah of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family) and various fashion editors.
Guests were also treated to an exclusive reading by author Lora Condon with excerpts from her recently published book SPA WARS: The Ugly Truth About The Beauty Industry and afterwards they got a signed copy of SPA WARS. Lora Condon is a well-known Esthetician, Make-up artist and Beauty Industry Consultant who has been working in the beauty and spa industry for over 15 years and put together hilarious anecdotes and experiences in her book, which was recently featured in the New York Times. She is also known as the Lash Doctor for her excellence in applying fabulous lash extensions, working with clients such as the cast of Good
Morning America, among other TV and fashion shows. For the first hour of the event the Lash Doctor applied Xtreme lashes on the lucky bloggers who made it early!
It was an exciting time for all of those involved and all the girls looked beautiful with their new ‘dos and J. Rudy Lewis jewelry.Bloggers and editors at the event also got to meet Women’s Mafia Media Partner ASTONISH Magazine and sign up for their new ASTONISHBloggerati program. Women’s Mafia and Yellow Sky Agency will launch the stunning new Fashion & Art publication at this Fall’s Fashion Week.
Pop-Up Studio, a great new enterprise by photographer David Christiansen, captured the event and entertained all the guests with an authentic Photo-Studio experience. It will be the first of many collaborations with Pop-Up Studio!!!
Stay tuned for future possible Fashionable Friday’s for Women’s Mafia members!
To see more pictures from this event at PopUpStudio.com, click here
By Marcy Clark
When discovering the work of J. Rudy Lewis it does not come as a surprise that he came from a background of Anthropology and Art History, or that his parentage includes notable explorers, a famous ornithologist and art connoiseurs. His pieces have the depth and soul of Byzantine artifacts or Victorian Heirlooms.
I found the experience of learning more about J.Rudy’s life is a bit like curling up with a good book. His fascinating background and his passion for his current projects would make him a wonderful case for a TALENT Q&A.
The Women’s Mafia is working with J.Rudy and planning some upcoming events where you can meet the mysterious and dynamic designer! Will you join us?
Women’s Mafia: How did you get started in the design industry?
J.Rudy: This is hard to answer. In most ways I find it surprising that I am in the industry. I have always made work in different media: photography first, then handmade books, then mosaics and finally jewelry. The jewelry I have made for the last 10 years has been almost entirely one of a kind, specific to an individual’s desires. Truly custom, almost entirely forged. Designing to answer a unique question put before you is a great way to learn design. The more unique the question posed the more interested I am in it.
I know I’ll never give up doing custom one-on-one pieces but I want to have that process become more selective as I go deeper into answering my own personal design questions. In the last 10 months I have been posing and answering these questions, which I’m finding incredibly exciting. I consider this to be the design industry for me, and what I see for my future.
WM: How did you know you wanted to work in jewelry? Have you had any other odd jobs?
J.R.L.: I did not always know I wanted to work in jewelry. What I know is that I love to design and make work. Making work that shapes to the body, that comes alive as someone wears it, I find more exciting than any other form of art at the moment. I ‘ve recently added aged leather to my metal work and I love how it accentuates the age, history and story I am bringing into my work, now.
As for odd jobs, I shingled houses for awhile in Maine. I worked making mosaics for a while; tables, floors, backsplashes. I worked at a high-end gallery in Philadelphia, The Locks Gallery, for 3 years as preparator. We showed artists like Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Miro, Motherwell, Tom Chimes, Louise Nevelson.
I did several ADAA shows at the 67th street armory. Stressful but fun. I moved art with Gannotta Fine Arts for a few years. Whatever I was doing I was always making things. Then started working for Caleb Meyer and learned how to make Jewelry.
WM: Where do you get your jewelry inspiration?
J.R.L.: I have been a student of art my entire life. I grew up around it. From this knowledge has come my interest in all arts especially more “tribal” or ancient ones: Masai, Aztec, Mayan, Tlingit, Maori, Aboriginal, etc…
Then there’s the natural world. I love to think how nature continually repeats itself.
WM: How long have you been a professional jeweler?
J.R.L.: 10 years, but I’ve making art since childhood.
WM: Can you tell me a bit about your family and also how you grew up? How does your family inspire your life?
J.R.L.: My family history is interesting and a great knowledge base to draw from.
I grew up on the main line of Philadelphia. Father a Lawyer; Mother, a Mother. Both very well educated and very involved in the arts and institutions of Philadelphia. My maternal Grandfather, a Baron, was an ornithologist and he and my grandmother, went on fantastic expeditions in the 30’s to Africa and Asia. He wrote several definitive books on birds. My Grandmother was the first white woman to cross the Kalahari desert. He collected specimens for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He also collected in Brazil as well and has an anaconda named after him.
My father comes from a long line of Philadelphia Lawyers. His eldest ancestor, named Ludwig, originally arrived here as a Hessian soldier, who my father describes as being “shot in the ass running away from General Washington and then marrying his nurse” and going on to start and import business for Chinese ceramics.
As for myself I went to Cornell and got a BA in Anthropolgy and Archaeology and a minor in Photography. I go to museums all the time. I’ve rowed internationally as part of US teams. I coached rowing at Williams College and worked at the Museum there. I’ve taken many courses in bookbinding and photography while working many jobs before arriving at my career in jewelry.
It’s an oddball family history. Not oriented towards the physical making of art, but a great history to pull from. Can’t really say I fully recommend it, but I do have a different view of the world. I feel most like an outsider when it comes to the “design industry.”
WM: You have a number of Victorian inspired pieces. How did you get familiar with this era and how are you re-inventing these classical lines for your designs?
J.R.L.: Comes with the blood. In terms of reinvention I am attaching a description I just wrote for the Victoria’s cuff:
“Drawn from images of 19th century women’s shoes and corseting, this cuff creates a wrapping ritual to allow for the ownership of women’s past restrictive clothing.
Materials: Hand Hammered sterling; carved, cast and riveted sterling vulture heads; hand aged, dyed and finished leather.”
WM: Many of your pieces are very balanced and symmetrical. Is this a part of your personality? How would you describe your design personality?
J.R.L.: Most of that work draws from the symmetry I see in nature, and also my personality. I like to think about the repetition of patterns in nature like a Mandelbrot set.
None of the symmetrical work is absolutely perfect, like any face or body.
I like to work alone. In fact I have barely left my house for the last 10 months as I have been redefining myself.
Every piece I work on seems to lead to five or six other pieces. I tend to work on up to 6 new designs at a time with many 1/2 started pieces. I design by sitting at my bench and playing. Meaningful play, of course, it’s only easy if you let it be. I might have a question in mind to start with; I might pick up a part left over from another piece. I like to surround myself with a variety of images and I am always googling something as questions arise or I try to clarify an image of some cultural artifact I can’t quite picture. The pieces tend to become layered because of my starting from a past piece and then adding a new image or thought or material until it drifts into another culture or art form. I work until I feel an object reminds me of many ideas so there is enough room for everyone to bring something to it. The pieces I feel are going to become reproducible I then further draw out to fit into a more production ready mode.
WM: What metalsmithing techniques do you use in creating your work? How did you learn?
J.R.L.: Apprenticed with Caleb Meyer, who learned from his father James Meyer.
I use basic forging and chasing techniques, lost wax casting and wax carving. I am adding techniques as I go, but only as they fit within my aesthetic. I enjoy keeping the techniques simple and pushing the ideas like limiting myself to 12 bar blues.
WM: What materials do you use in creating your work?
J.R.L: At the moment: Sterling silver; 14k, 18k, 22k gold in different colors; hand dyed and aged leathers, rough diamonds, baroque pearls, chalcedony, blue moonstone, sleepy aquamarine cabochons, imperial topaz, grossular garnet, dinosaur bones and opal. Any material with life in it, a story to tell. If I look at a material and it doesn’t give me something better than “I’m shiny, use me” back, I don’t want it.
I am primarily using silver and leather, but if I could I would work in 22k gold all the time. I’d be wrapping it around leather, pushing it into iron or wood, who knows. I feel that a piece has to need a stone and not the other way around. I prefer to work from the design in than from the stone out.
To purchase pieces from the new collection, find a store near you carrying J. Rudy Lewis Designs or place a custom order visit www.jrudylewis.com.
By Saira Toppin
Need a quick last minute item for the Holiday Season? Need something different than what you saw in our gift guide since you bought everything on the list? Well, look no further. Women’s Mafia has two more quick additions that should help speed along your decision making. New jewelry line, Eden, created by Israeli-born designer Maytal Sharifi is the newest addition to Sine.
The collection mixes metals and Swarovski crystals in beautifully set rings, bracelets, and more. Check out these two items below to give to your sister, mother, girlfriend, best friend, or any woman in your life that you appreciate, because these pieces are sure to make them even happier during the Holidays. They can be accessories for the next Holiday Party or New Year’s Eve bash!
Swarvoski Floating Crystal/Stud Bracelet. Retail Price: $105
Lava Ring. Retail Price: $98.
Enjoy 20% off these two items, or anything else on the site with this discount code: HOLIDAY20. Visit shopsineny.com
By Marcy Clark
You may remember Lisa Linhardt from her TALENT profile with us a few months ago. She has been busy at work creating new and unforgettable socially conscious pieces, several of which we featured in our Women’s Mafia Fashion Shows on February 9th and February 17th. Enjoy the photos and visit her incredibly gorgeous and hip shop at 156 1st Avenue, near 9th. She’s a priceless gem!
by Saira Toppin
Find Your Confidence
Growing up in a refugee camp is not typically part of the life story of an internationally recognized jewelry designer. Akawelle is an edgy and beautiful jewelry line created by Lovetta Conto, a Liberian refugee who fled to Ghana during a period of war and strife. The line features a double pendant, made from bullet shells, placed on chains of various lengths and materials.
Lovetta started this necklace company as a project for her Strongheart Fellowship www.strongheartfellowship.org. The idea of using used bullets is to show that beauty can be found in anything. One of the pendants is the bottom of a shell casing repurposed as a bead and the accompanying leaf, made from melted bullet casings, is inscribed with the word “Life”.
The word “Life” was chosen because it reminds Lovetta that new life can begin after hardship. This is a healthy mantra to live by. Even with the current recession causing difficulty in the lives of many Americans and other people throughout the world, we can all be assured that the end is not near. Take a look at the Akawelle line of necklaces at www.akawelle.com and purchase your piece of confidence towards new beginnings. All proceeds go to Lovetta’s future and the creation of the first Strongheart House.