Jewelry gone MAD

Monday afternoon was all about the dazzle.

And it came from the artistic interpretations of a variety of materials, going far beyond the traditional silver and gold to embrace felt, silicone, leather, paper, thread, enamels, pencils, buttons and so much more.

I was down at the Museum of Arts and Design for the press preview of “LOOT: Mad About Jewelry 2013.”

The annual show and sale – the funkiest of pop-up shops  – was about to kick off and continues through Oct. 5.

The curated show puts the spotlight on designers from around the world who are creating innovative contemporary studio and art jewelry.

“We have looked at creativity. We have looked at design, and we have looked at materials,” said LOOT chairman Michele Cohen in opening remarks. “There is a lot of eye candy for you to look at.”

And some of it was – literally – depicting candy. I was drawn to the exhibit of one artist, in particular, smiling as I recognized a felt brooch’s design was actually a handful of licorice allsorts. Her other work featured chocolates and fruits, flowers, petals and bows. How fun.

I was pleased to realize the designer of this clever work was Danielle Gori-Montanelli. See, I was determined to touch base with the Sarah Lawrence College grad once I heard she was among the exhibitors – and here she was in a cheery pink oversize link necklace standing by her vivid display.

We had a lovely chat (you’ll be hearing more about her in future newsletters and in our print edition) during which she told me exhibiting here is quite the honor: “To me, it’s just really the tops. I mean it’s the Museum of Arts and Design.”

And that sentiment was echoed throughout the show, which is a virtual around-the-world trip through modern jewelry design. At one moment, I was chatting with French designer Fabièn Ifires about his bold collection featuring leather, mother-of-pearl and calfskin. Moments later I was amazed as I touched a silicone necklace created in the Paris workshop of Tzuri Gueta, and then marveled at the intricacy of the enamel-on-copper work on brooches, earrings and pendants by Korean designer You Ra Kim. Patricia Herrera, whose designs are crafted in Turkey, had necklaces that resemble the finest laces, while Australian Meghan O’Rourke’s pieces were vividly alive with a rainbow of titanium hues.  The sharply geometric metals from Janka Juhos of Hungary stood in contrast to the draw-you-in charms of the creations of Roberta and David Williamson, whose work combines ephemera and artistry in an unforgettable way.

“All of us are so excited to have new eyes looking at our work,” Roberta Williamson told me. The Ohio couple has been working together for some 40 years, their teamwork producing the most intriguing pins and necklaces that become virtual memory boxes under glass.

“I think being in a show like this gives your work validation,” added David Williamson.

And for many, we’re sure, it will also mean new customers who will likely become collectors.

If you get a chance, catch LOOT before it closes – you’ll be glad you did. (And note that Oct. 5 is also “Jewelry Day” at MAD).

For more on all, visit



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