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!

Inside the Holly Yashi Studio

By Kylie Hiemstra

While driving up the California coast this spring, I noticed a billboard advertising the Holly Yashi studio. Having grown up admiring and proudly wearing lots of Holly Yashi pieces, I was excited by the chance to visit.

 

 

Once there, I met Paul “Yashi” Lubitz and introduced myself as Dawn Hill’s daughter. He was very friendly and eager to show me around the studio. I saw creative and detail-oriented people hard at work designing and crafting beautiful and unique pieces. Seeing all of the different tools and stations helped me understand the many steps in the process of making such intricate jewelry. My favorite part was watching niobium transform into the vibrant colors that are a hallmark of Holly Yashi’s pieces.

 

 

The store portion of the studio was full of bright and interesting items which I also got to explore. Visiting the studio gave me the opportunity to further appreciate the intricacies of Holly Yashi’s pieces and the labor that goes into making them.

 

 

Inspired By Nature

Recently I had the good fortune to travel to the beautiful city of Barcelona.  There are many things to love about the city, but the most impressive of all was the proliferation of buildings designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi.

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Sagrada Familia Cathedral Interior

Gaudi was highly skilled and used nature as one of his primary inspirations.  The magnificent Sagrada Familia Cathedral is one of the finest examples of this fact.

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Appalachian Spring features jewelry that is also inspired by nature.  Michael Michaud is the designer of Silver Seasons Jewelry.  This unique jewelry is made by creating molds that are taken from an actual leaf, branch or flower.  A mold is created around the botanical element and as it is heated the plant matter burns away and leaves behind a beautifully detailed mold of itself.  The result is a stunning piece of jewelry that captures the exquisite detail of nature.

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Color Your World

 

Ann Carol Bracelets

Janet Schroeder has been fascinated by Classical and Modern art from an early age.  When she was a teenager she discovered that she loved to create jewelry, and she began honing her skills to become proficient in silversmithing.  In 1999, Janet began working with Carol Baretz of Ann Carol Designs and was then able to combine her two passions.  Carol introduced Janet to resin enamel colors, and the two began to fabricate unique pieces of jewelry.
Earrings

Using sterling silver as a canvas, the resins are hand painted and then allowed to air dry. Meticulous care is taken to ensure that every detail of Ann Carol Designs jewelry is special and something to be treasured. Some pieces may take many cycles to fuse the colors into an intricately beautiful piece of wearable art.  The result is a beautiful treasure meant to last a lifetime.

Janet Schroeder

Janet Schroeder

Everyday is Earth Day

Although the calendar reminds us April 22 is Earth Day, everyday is Earth Day for Colorado-based textile artist, Ayn Hanna.  Formally trained as a professional fine art printmaker, Ayn began exploring the textile medium in 2005.  We are delighted to be carrying Ayn’s Eco-dyed, silk charmeuse and crepe de chine scarves at Appalachian Spring.

Ayn Hanna Leave on Fabric

Ayn begins the eco-dyeing process by collecting local plant leaves, flowers and stems and bundling these within the silk fabric.  The bundles are then tightly wrapped around a stick, sometimes adding metal pieces to achieve even greater color variations.

The next step is to boil or steam the bundles in a pot of water with leaves of various color hues.  The bundles rest a while before Ayn unwraps them to reveal the unique colors and marks left upon the silk.  Ayn then works her magic to skillfully finish the eco-dyed silk into beautiful scarves.

Ayn Hanna Two photos

We encourage you to visit any of our four store locations to see for yourself the beauty of nature’s colors and marks that can be achieved when combining water, heat, plants and metal.  Although these scarves are not available on our website, you will find many other beautiful scarf selections in our fashion department.

Ayn Hanna

Ayn Hanna

Shout Out to Spring!

Awww…  gorgeous Springtime!

Who doesn’t love this time of year, with all of its glorious colors!

Tulip Fields, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Tulip Fields, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Springtime is also a time of year when many floral designs make an appearance in Appalachian Spring’s jewelry. 

One of our latest offerings can be seen in the new Terry Pool collection.

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Each of Terry’s creations begins with a handmade sketch, where Terry works out the details of each piece.

Tool Drawing

Tool Drawing

Terry also has a sense of humor, as evidenced in this photo we took when we perused Terry’s newest collection, premiered at the American Made Show in DC.  We laughed and enjoyed, as we know you will!

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A State of Wonder

Those of us lucky enough to live in Washington DC were treated this past season to a ground-breaking exhibit at the Renwick Gallery entitled “Wonder.”  Much has been written about this well-attended installation and I for one think it speaks for itself.

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

My favorite room in the exhibit was Jennifer Angus’s “insect room.”  It was simply mind-boggling!

Photo by Ron Blunt

Photo by Ron Blunt

 

Ms. Angus’s insects reminded me of a jeweler whose work we’ve carried for years, Laurie Flannery.  Laurie’s charming bees, dragonflies and birds are the perfect reminder for us to rejoice in the fact that springtime is a glorious time to live in this vibrant city!

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Dragonfly Pin by Laurie Flannery

Picasso and NY NOW

This year the NY NOW trade show coincided with MoMA’s unprecedented Picasso sculpture exhibit. Being able to take time to attend this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit helps me appreciate all the great design I see when buying jewelry at the show.

Woman in the Garden, 1929-30, Paris

Woman in the Garden, 1929-30, Paris

It’s always exciting to see new work from our jewelers.  One of my favorites is Stacy King, who started Lulu Designs in 1997.  Working as a production potter for 10 years gave Stacy insight into the art of balancing form with color. As Stacy became interested in jewelry, her mastery of ceramics gave her unique tools for becoming a self-taught jeweler.

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Lulu Designs began as an idea, a desire to create beauty in the world.  Clearly, Stacy’s vision is being realized in every one of her designs – jewelry that is simple yet elegant, handcrafted to let the life and power of each stone and metal shine through.

Stacy King

Stacy King

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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!”

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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

We love Joanna Alot!

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Joanna studied silk painting and art in a traditional artisan school in Milanowek, Poland where more than a hundred years ago, mulberry trees were cultivated for the specific purpose of growing silkworms to supply the fiber for the renowned silk for which the region was rapidly becoming famous. She draws inspiration from nature using leaves, trees and the hues of changing seasons to spill out onto her silk paintings in vibrant colors and patterns.

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After composing and designing, Joanna transfers each pattern to the fabric by hand. Painting on silk achieves effects that go beyond the constraints of paper; colors blend and hues saturate. Starting with lighter colors, followed by darker colors, it is much like working with watercolor paint.

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Each swath of silk is steamed to set the colors, hand washed to to elicit the silk’s soft, smooth “hand” and then stretched on frames and sun-dried in the Midwestern air outside of Joanna’s studio.

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The fabric is then cut to order for the scarves, shawls and other fashion garments and finished with meticulous attention to detail. At this point Joanna adds embellishments, stamping with gold or silver leaf to highlight the natural elements found in her designs. Today, Joanna’s work can be found in galleries across the country and we are proud to be one of those galleries!

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