Artist Gulnur Ozdaglar forms graceful flowers over a candle-sized flame in the
small studio under her apartment in Ankara, Turkey. A modern day alchemist,
she crafts magnificent adornments from plastic bottles that she says would
otherwise go to the trash bin.
Gulner is one of the juried international artists bolstering their jewelry collection
for BIJOUX!, the contemporary jewelry show to be held at the Armory Art Center on February 4-8, 2020. Top art jewelers are from Argentina, South Korea, Israel,
Spain, Holland, the UK, Canada, and the all over the US.
Gulner collects the clear, blue, and green bottles abundant in Turkey and on trips
to Europe plunders reds, cobalt blues, and pinks. She asks, “What does this
plastic want to be?” The forms they take are mostly organic, flowing shapes. She
applies her knowledge of design to form jewelry that is beautiful, light, gentle-to-
the-body but durable enough to survive years.
And her clients can stand out while taking a stand.
Gulner says that contemporary jewelry creates its value not from the precious
material, but the idea behind it. “Our jewelry is the symbol of how intellectual,
how humanist, how conscious we are.”
Morning begins for Laura Wood in the well lit studio with hard wood floors and
vaulted ceilings of a large barn at the Pennland School of Arts and Crafts in the
Appalachian Hill country of North Carolina. It is here she is in the third and final
year of residency.
She cuts sheets of metal and folds them into forms for the series bound for
BIJOUX! Bouncing back and forth from a necklace, to a brooch, to a ring, she
spends anywhere from a day to a couple of week to finish one piece depending
on how complicated the design is.
Laura thought she would major in dance in college until she was whisked away
by a love of metalsmithing. “Dance is something that led me to understanding the
body and has a lot to do with how I design. If I am designing a necklace or a ring
I am giving a lot of consideration of how it will work with the silhouette and how
the person who is wearing it will be moving through the world.”
Rather than starting with a final drawing, Laura begins with a large array of
forms. She likes to see how the forms work together and how to engineer them
for the body. “Very similar to how I might choreograph dance, there are a certain
variety of movements and shapes and you string them together where they are
appropriate.” Laura finishes the metal with powder coating and recently started a
series with enamel finish.
Laura has participated in BIJOUX many times. Why? She likes the event
because having a set number of artists that all create jewelry grabs the attention
of the most interested clients. “It is not so large that people have to wind their
way through a maze to get to the jewelry they want to see.” Another boon is
spending time with colleagues and peers. “It is a really fun time to get to meet
new jewelers from other parts of the world.”
“My jewelry is the type of work that is going to start a conversation.
You will receive a compliment. If you are not the type of person that enjoys that
kind of attention, you might not want to gravitate to my work.”
Inspired by Structure
At sundown, South Korean artists Jung Ju Lee bends to examine the structure of
a crystalline rock used to build the abandoned railway in her adopted city of
Rochester, NY. This is her “happiest time of day,” when she traverses the city and
finds a new way of thinking—inspired by the rocks. Classic buildings. The sky.
Jung works 10 hours a day from her small, third-floor studio overlooking the
skyline of Rochester. Huddled at a work bench cluttered with pliers, power tools,
files, and parts, Jung spends 5-7 days working on a single woven, wire mesh
Inspired by architecture, Jung starts with a free-style drawing, then a 3D
rendering she likens to building a bridge. Folding and cutting two sheets of wire
mesh she creates patterns while the relationship between the horizontal and
vertical lines create an optical illusion. “I feel there may be something in between
the 3 dimensional space” Yung explains.
The woven wire is structurally strong and the clasps are hidden “like a woman’s
bra.” Jung prefers to create unique pieces but produces limited editions upon
BIJOUX! Has Changed the Face of Jewelry in the Palm Beaches
“They were lined up around the corner last year, beating the doors down. Women
will always buy jewelry and lipstick” said Donna Schneier of Palm Beach. Donna
is the Founder and Producer of BIJOUX!. Donna first formed the contemporary
jewelry show Loot at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. So when she
moved to Palm Beach, BIJOUX! was born.
The events greatness is due to Donna’s great eye for jewelry created by artists
who bring an array of cultures and influences to their work.
Previously held at the Norton Museum of Art, BIJOUX! to be at the Armory Art
Center in downtown West Palm Beach in 2020 — and Donna is delighted. “It is a
much larger space and as a school, the Armory will add demonstrations,
workshops, and lectures to BIJOUX!.” Because proceeds from the event will
benefit the Armory Art Center, guests can leave with jewelry that makes a
statement while they benefit the transformational mission of the Armory Art