The crafted object : Boo and Boo Factory (jewellery)

Neon-vibrant and fearlessly wild are just a few of the words I would use when describing the work of Christina Anton, the maker behind Boo and Boo Factory. Her earrings, necklaces and other accessories are vividly unmistakable in their flamboyant combinations of coloured leather, feather and chain.

 

boo and boo factory - aztec triangles necklace

booandboofactory – aztec triangles necklace

 

Surprisingly, despite the boldness of her designs she is a fairly private person, and doesn’t give much away about herself. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and worked as an architect since 2006 in various firms through Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. She completed her Masters through Southern California Institute of Architecture last year.

It was through architecture and its associated disciplines of computer aided design, laser cutting and 3D printing that Christina discovered she had a love of small object design. “This inspired me to take my growing jewellery design business and pursue it full time.”

 

boo and boo factory - fruit square earrings

booandboofactory – fruit square earrings

 

boo and boo factory - neon geometric earrings

booandboofactory – neon geometric earrings

 

Inspired by architecture first and foremost, Christina is also inspired by an eclectic and wide range of things, including computer modelling, anatomy, vintage botanical drawings, plant cells and taxidermy – “places where people wouldn’t normally find beauty unless you really look”. She also expresses her ideas through a variety of other disciplines including animation and photography.

 

booandboofactory - rainbow fringe leather bib necklace

booandboofactory – rainbow fringe leather bib necklace

 

boo and boo factory - spike faux rhinestone earrings

booandboofactory – spike faux rhinestone earrings

 

Often using one of her own photographs as a starting point, she lays out a variety of different colour combinations of leather and other materials, such as beads, paint or feathers. Using various techniques, ranging from hand painting and hand cutting through to beading and weaving, she plays with the materials until she is happy. “I usually never know what the end product will be, but that is what helps keep my ideas fresh and my creativity flowing. I’ll make different shaped cut outs, create different color palettes and cut several types of fringes and mix and match until I find the right fit.”  The result is a wild mix of pattern, print, colour and form.

 

booandboofactory - triangles stud earrings

booandboofactory – triangles stud earrings

 

boo and boo factory - tribal lime necklace with polka dots

booandboofactory – tribal lime necklace with polka dots

 

Christina’s work has appeared on Design MilkPikaland, Design for Mankind, Oh Joy, and many other blogs and magazines.

You can find more of Christina’s work in her Etsy shop, and on her own website, booandboofactory.com.

 

The crafted object : Irregular Expressions (textile jewellery)

When I first saw the freeform crochet of Irregular Expressions, I was hooked, so to speak. It is an intriguing mix of traditional stitch, rich colours and lush, organic form that is folk craft with a large slice of edge.

But when I approached the family team that form Irregular Expressions for an interview, I knew I had found something extraordinarily beautiful.

 

irregular expressions - black lace scales - bib necklace

irregular expressions – black lace scales – bib necklace

 

irregular expressions - eucomis vandermerwei - burgundy lace necklace

irregular expressions – eucomis vandermerwei – burgundy lace necklace

 

Based in the picturesque  town of Bolu in Turkey, Sebahat is the principal maker, and mother of Aysegul who runs the shop online, assisted by Aysegul’s brother. Sebahat is a retired teacher, who worked for many years at various secondary schools teaching art, craft and practical household economics. Travelling around regional Turkey allowed her great opportunities to collect ideas on traditional Turkish techniques and designs.

Improvising on these collected ideas, Sebahat has been using a combination of techniques over the past six and a half years to produce her accessories, incorporating beads, buttons and fabric in her crochet. She is always inspired by nature in its endless variety of forms and colours; flowers especially form a major part of her inspiration, which is why many of her creations are named after particular species.

 

irregular expressions - calliandra haematocephala - crochet cuff

irregular expressions – calliandra haematocephala – crochet cuff

 

irregular expressions - convolvulus erubescens - necklace

irregular expressions – convolvulus erubescens – necklace

 

irregular expressions - mirbelia speciosa - crochet beaded cuff

irregular expressions – mirbelia speciosa – crochet beaded cuff

 

irregular expressions - potentila nepalensis - scarflette

irregular expressions – potentila nepalensis – scarflette

 

The most special part of meeting Aysegul and Sebahat though was to view this video of them, made by the people at Etsy. It’s beautiful, and I encourage you to watch it.

 

 

Finally, when I asked Aysegul for her and her mother’s best pieces of advice, I got this response.

 

“Hi Julie,

“When I read your question what immediately came to my mind was something I read ten years ago. I almost always recall this sentence when I am invited to somewhere new, or when someone suggests doing something unusual. I have said yes to many things I would have said no to otherwise just because I have remembered this quote:

 

“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”

-Chapter 31, Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

 

irregular expressions - grace - lemon yellow beaded necklace

irregular expressions – grace – lemon yellow beaded necklace

 

“When I asked your question to my mother, she instantly recalled her father’s words. It was when she was attending secondary school, and she was also helping the family with the housework. Her father saw her shearing a sheep, and perhaps he was also proud that she was attending the school and she also knew how to shear a sheep. He told her, “Learn anything that is good (useful, beneficial), put it in your pocket as if you never knew, you will (can) use it when the time comes.” He was saying that there may come a time when you need the skills you have learned.

“My mother often repeats his words to encourage me and my brother to keep learning new skills. And she is still following his words, she spends a lot of time online trying to learn new crocheting and knitting techniques.”

Perhaps these words are obvious for an ex school teacher, to never stop learning! But it is excellent advice.

 

I LOVE Aysegul’s quote; it is such a wonderful reminder that life is not straightforward and that it is important to accept and learn from what life throws at you.

 

You can find more of Sebahat’s wonderful accessories in their  Etsy shop, IrregularExpressions.

Big thanks to Aysegul for all her help in putting this together.

 

Craft icon : Julie Blyfield {jewellery}

Julie Blyfield’s beautiful pieces have been on my radar ever since I came across them in an exhibition of work from the Gray Street Workshop in Brisbane, during the Australian Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group conference in 2000.

She spends a lot of time observing and documenting the ephemeral forms of nature, translating them through metal and enamel, hammering sheets of silver with fine steel tools to create wonderfully tactile and patterned surfaces. These new, more permanent objects still manage to capture that essence of delicacy, rawness, and elegance;  leaves, shells, seedpods and bark spring to mind.

 

Julie Blyfield - black fossil neckpiece

Julie Blyfield – black fossil neckpiece

 

She’s a big admirer of contemporary jewellers  Karl Fritsch and Lucy Sarneel, and it’s easy to see their influences in her work – there’s a similar rawness and an almost haphazard collection of forms, beautifully balanced with an emphasis on texture. The late Mari Funaki, who established the fabulous Gallery Funaki in Melbourne is another person she admires, for her ability to balance her own considerable career as a jeweller while establishing a world-class gallery.

Julie is also constantly inspired by her garden, and trips to the desert and the sea.

She worked for several years as a secondary school art teacher in regional South Australia, which gave her a broad cross section of skills – printmaking, drawing, painting, photography, and jewellery-making. She continued to make jewellery in her spare time, and after returning to Adelaide, she decided to expand her skillset by undertaking further studies. She joined the jewellery collective Gray Street Workshop as an access tenant in 1985, and went on to become a partner in 1987, remaining there for 23 years.

Working at Gray Street was very important to me as it provided me with an understanding how people work and approach their practice.  I learnt a lot from working alongside other like minded contemporary jewellers who approached their work with a diverse range of materials and techniques.” (1)

 

Julie Blyfield Scintilla Series - photo Grant Hancock

Julie Blyfield Scintilla Series – photo Grant Hancock

 

Julie Blyfield Scintilla Series - photo Grant Hancock

Julie Blyfield Scintilla Series – photo Grant Hancock

A mentorship with German-born Australian metalsmith Frank Bauer in 2003 was also important in honing her metal-forming skills, and in 2010, she left Gray Street to establish her own studio at home, overlooking her back garden.

 

Julie Blyfield - pressed desert plants series

Julie Blyfield – pressed desert plants series

 

Julie Blyfield - pressed desert plants series

Julie Blyfield – pressed desert plants series

 

Julie Blyfield - pressed desert plants series

Julie Blyfield – pressed desert plants series

 

Julie has won numerous awards both locally and overseas, has been exhibited around the world, and is represented in many major museums, including  National Gallery of Australia, Musee Des Arts Decoratifs in France, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

You can find more of Julie’s graceful and sophisticated work in Gallery Funaki, Melbourne.

 

The crafted object : Danielle Gori-Montanelli {felt jewellery}

Danielle Gori-Montanelli’s glorious felt pieces are vibrant with colour. Handcut and handsewn from felts sourced throughout the US and Europe, they are tactile and chunky, radiating playfulness and whimsy with their licorice allsort layers and their exuberant gardens of blooms.

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

Flowers form a common theme throughout her work. Lilies, chrysanthemums, roses and more hang in garlands around her large neckpieces; simple shapes such as circles, ovals and chains are also frequently used. Her colours are carefully chosen and layered for maximum vibrancy – yellow on orange on magenta on red and all interspersed with black; wild rainbows of hue on hue and tone on tone.

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

Danielle originally trained as a painter at Sarah Lawrence College, and it was only after moving to New York that she fell into making a living as a jeweller quite by accident. She took a short jewellery-making course simply because she wanted jewellery for herself, but quickly discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed the process and so continued at the jewellery bench for around 15 years. However, she began to long for a return to colour in her work, and that combined with the arrival of children set her looking for other things. Children meant it was no longer practical to continue working with gas masks, sandblasters, flames and harsh chemicals. Along with this consideration, she realised that she had been steadily collecting felt hats and accessories from other artists at craft shows, and came to the conclusion that felt was the perfect solution for her. It was colourful, easy to work with and portable, and it became her new passion.

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

Now, she takes her work with her everywhere – even managing to have a permanent workstation in the car – and finds the change of environments stimulating.

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

danielle gori-montanelli - neckpiece

danielle gori-montanelli – neckpiece

 

Danielle’s work first caught my eye way back here, when I was working on my series of posts for Design How-to. Her work has been featured in Vogue, FiberArts and American Craft magazines, and has been exhibited at (among other places) the Smithsonian, Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show,  SOFA in New York and Chicago, and most recently at the Museum of Art and Design’s “Loot: Mad About Jewelry” show in New York City. Her work is in galleries throughout the world, including the Lesley Craze Gallery in London.

 

danielle gori-montanelli - brooches

danielle gori-montanelli – brooches

 

You can find more of Danielle’s wonderful work on her website studiodgm.com, and in her shop, studiodgm.bigcartel.com.

 

Meet the Sponsors – December

Oooooh, December is more than  halfway through, Xmas is only a few sleeps away and it’s almost time for the New Year!!

 

Thanks again to my wonderful sponsors.

I truly love the work of Olenka – such a glorious eye for colour and balance. Her wonderful beaded jewellery is inspired by far-off cultures – the beads of Africa, India, and other places around the globe. I love her work so much, I own some! And I wear it A LOT. You can find her work at www.olenkafj.bigcartel.com.

 

olenka fj - earrings

olenka fj – earrings

 

Libby from Crimson Pear is another professional that comes with a personal recommendation. With her fabulous tech-whiz, she has helped me overhaul this site recently, and I couldn’t be happier! Some very tricky behind-the-scenes stuff makes this site much easier to navigate across all platforms, including mobile and tablet. She has been great with advice on user-experience, and was always fast to respond to any queries I had, however small. Libby can do the same for you! She also currently has a range of mobile-ready wordpress themes, social media icons and more available in her shop, which you can find at crimsonpear.com.au.

crimson pear - blog design

crimson pear – blog design

 

 

Bespoke Magazine is ALWAYS full of fab stuff – stories of illustration, craft, tips on DIY and small biz, recipes and more. All presented in a very cute retro-inspired wrapping. You can get it in hardcover, or by ebook, so you can have it at your fingertips wherever you are! You can find it here – www.bespokezine.com.

bespoke - summer 13/14

bespoke – summer 13/14

 

Jemima is the gal behind the gorgeousness that is My Liefie – a wonderful array of clothing and accessories in natural fibres such wool and silk, hand dyed using plant dyes with shibori techniques to produce very distinctive work that is beautiful and comfortable. You can find Jemima in her Etsy shop at MyLiefie.

my liefie - leaf-dyed top

my liefie – leaf-dyed top

 

 

Ruthie from The Silver Forge has been making jewellery for many years, and loves to pair gemstones with silver. She is ALWAYS up for custom orders too!  Check out her huge array of unset gemstones, and get something very special. You can find her at thesilverforge.com.

thesilverforge - coral & granulation ring

thesilverforge – coral & granulation ring

 

 

RMDJewellery is Rachel, who is all about simplicity in her jewellery. She loves a splash of colour, and brightens her pieces with the hard wearing and bright colours of enamel. You can find her at www.rmdjewellery.com.au.

rmd jewellery - silver and enamel

rmd jewellery – silver and enamel earring studs

 

 

Thanks again to these wonderful folk; it would be great if you could visit these good people and show support for those who support me!

 

Cheers, Julie xx