Meet Julie Powell: Jeweler Extraordinaire

Year after year I am struck by the creativity of our jewelers.  Oftentimes I will discover that in addition to making jewelry, they also design textiles or sculpture or wall art.  Enter Julie Powell, one of the newest additions to our jewelry department!

When I found Julie at a recent show, I was completely charmed not only by her beaded jewelry designs but also by the sketches she was working on in her booth while not engaged in conversation with buyers.  It reminded me that creative people use every spare moment to do what they most love.

Watercolor by Julie Powell

I love learning about these amazing designers after their jewelry has arrived in our office.  I research and read all the many pieces of information I can find in order to help our salespeople and customers know that behind every craftsperson there is an individual who has spent a lifetime learning his or her trade.

Julie’s story is a fascinating one.  She has a background in weaving, knitting, quilting, embroidering and dyeing fabrics, and has used this experience to design her beaded earrings, bracelets, pins and necklaces.  I was particularly delighted to discover that Julie is featured in the latest issue of Ornament Magazine.  I invite you to read her unique story and be dazzled by Julie’s immense gifts!

The Key to my Heart

David Klenk has been a woodworker in New England for the last 20 years. He designs and makes a diverse range of work including large projects such as home libraries, custom office furnishings, tables, chairs and jewelry boxes.

2014 09 01_1022

Appalachian Spring is pleased present David Klenk’s handsome jewelry boxes in our collection.

Most of David’s boxes are made of North American hardwoods including maple, cherry and oak.  However, he occasionally uses mahogany and other handsome hardwoods.

2014 09 01_1217

The work includes fine joinery, custom hardware and a hand rubbed varnish finish which is rubbed to a silky smooth polish.

Each box is fitted with a custom key and lock. The beauty of the wood, the workmanship and the attention to detail completely stole my heart!

 

 

Puppy Love

“Puppy Love” was written by Paul Anka in 1960 for his girlfriend at the time, Annette Funicello. The Donny Osmond version was released in 1972 and made this preteen’s heart swoon!  However, this post is about a more tangible type of love between you and your pet.

 

fiona

 

We are delighted to have several artists working with Appalachian Spring who bring joyful depictions of a variety of animals into their designs. The ceramic mugs and dog and cat bowls by Karen Donleavy Designs are simply delightful! Karen includes approximately 80 breeds of dogs and cats in her designs so you can be almost certain to find a match to your furry,  four-legged friend!  What could be better than your morning cup of coffee or tea with a playful reminder of your pet?

ManyMugs1

 

 

 

WestieMug

 

 

Jewelry Inspired By Architecture

As a jewelry buyer, I am drawn to bold color and clean lines.  This photo of the JFK TWA terminal shouts “Good Design!”

TWA_Red1

I’m also a fanatic about laser cut designs in any medium.  Kathleen Dautel of Spark Metal Studio creates laser cut stainless steel that is hand finished and hand colored with epoxy resin.  The forms are both architecturally based and drawn from nature with a linear graphic quality.

fizz necklace

Fizz Necklace

Kathleen has always had artistic influences in her life.  Her father was a printmaker, painter and art professor.  While at the University of Oregon, she took her first metalsmithing class and loved it.  After graduating, she returned to the U of O to receive a BFA in Metalsmithing.

Stem Necklace - Model

Kathleen moved to Portland, Oregon in 1994, and the city, its buildings and environment inspired her to pursue architecture.  She continued her education at NC State, earning a Masters in Architecture.  Since graduating, she has had the opportunity to work as a project designer for architecture firms in the area, winning several design awards for many of the projects, but her love for metalsmithing has always been in the back of her mind.  In the fall of 2009 Kathleen launched her own jewelry and metalsmithing line, Spark Metal Studio.

Kathleen Dautel

Kathleen Dautel

Japanese Inspired American Crafts just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival

D2 CB

photo credit: ©DavidMDworkin

March heralds the arrival of spring in Washington DC along with the celebration of the cherry blossoms that bloom along the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. In 1912 the mayor of Tokyo bestowed upon the United States 3000 Japanese cherry trees as a gesture of lasting friendship between the two countries. The initial gift was commemorated by a simple ceremony that featured First Lady Helen Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planting the first trees along the banks of the Potomac River.

In 1915, the United States government sent a reciprocal gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1981, when thousands of Japanese cherry trees were destroyed in a flood, cuttings from the original gift of trees were sent to Japanese horticulturists to replace the lost and damaged flora.

Over the years the festival has emerged and grown. It is a time in which Washingtonians celebrate the arrival of spring, the beauty and variety of Japanese art in America, Japanese cultural experiences from drumming and dance to tea ceremonies and historic dress. In addition to events that are scheduled to honor Japanese culture, there are traditions that draw over 1.5 million visitors to the nation’s Capital each spring including among others: the annual Cherry Blossom parade, paddle boats on the tidal basin, throngs of photographers-professional and amateur alike, and the daily bloom forecast telling us that spring has truly arrived! Over the years we have seen Japanese influence in hand made objects ranging from glass to wood, pots to silk and jewelry to kaleidoscopes.

AP Wood 25 (1)

I love that American made objects owe so much to the craft, practice and techniques of untold people who came before us throughout history and across the globe.  As these trades and crafts passed through cultures, countries and time, they reflect the particular flavors of the people and period. And yet the origins of each can still be seen and felt in the very fiber of glass, wood, silk and metal today.

AP Wood 22

I see the Japanese influences in a surprising number of our American or Japanese-American artists. Nichibei, which translates as Japan and America, is a studio that blends the elegant tradition of Japanese folk art with the flair of contemporary American pottery. The “chop” used to sign Matsumoto’s pieces is the Japanese character for Pine Tree, the English translation of his familial name.

Good Elephant Studio produces rice bowls, plates and platters evocative of her Korean roots and contemporary graphic design training.

CB GRAY (1)

Marc Matsui uses the simple elegant lines of his finely thrown bowls as a canvas for his spectacular glazes that integrate color and geometric designs. Marc is truly a master of the glaze, transforming clay into a glass-like finish with brilliant colors.

b12w  a

The Japanese art of flower arranging is known as Ikebana. Over the years various American artists have begun to create forms or vases that can be used to make Ikebana flower arrangements in which heaven, earth and humans are united in a pleasing design. The use of a kenzan in the interior gives a firm base for these elegant arrangements.

AP Wood 21 (2)

 Ikebana artists study for years to acquire the knowledge and skills that eventually can lead them to mastery. It is not surprising that we see Ikebana vessels made from wood, glass and clay. All of these materials were available in early Japanese culture and utilized to create organic presentations that were one with the environment.

Several of our woodworkers have been inspired by the Japanese aesthetics of elegant refinement, delicate detail, and subtle metaphors using archetypal shapes and forms. Cherry blossoms represent classic beauty and fragility. It reminds us that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful and yet tragically short.

IMG_9126.1   Copy of jb2251-29 (1)

The architectural flavor of Japanese influence can be seen in the boxes made by Bill Bolstad. Using spalted woods infused with colored resins, he has created a limited edition set of boxes in various sizes. The ebony detailing and the shapes are evocative of miniature pagoda like buildings.

C-A1 BLACK (1)  

Silk originated in China in 1700 BC, but there have been silkworms in the oldest of Japanese mythology. Shibori is credited as being a Japanese dying method that clearly gave rise to all of the many forms of tie dye that we have seen over thousands of years. Vivid colors and repeated geometric patterns can be seen in the Antrim Street designs.

WC SQUARE ORANGE VIOLET  GROUP

Theresa, one of our textile artists, spent 7 years in Japan as a university administrator, where she fell in love with the local textiles. She was immersed in Japanese culture and came to appreciate the embroidered silks and hand painted fabrics used in making kimono. Vintage kimonos are given new life in these handmade silk scarves by her studio.