East Valley jewelry creators included in Scottsdale exhibit - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

East Valley jewelry creators included in Scottsdale exhibit

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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2007 6:55 am | Updated: 6:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Stylish square sapphire rings. Kitsch Bakelite bangle bracelets. Chic silver-wrap necklaces. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art will transform its gallery April 21-22 to host Alchemy, a trunk show of contemporary jewelry art.

These aren’t the rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings you’d find in any department store. The jewelry is considered wearable art, made with unusual materials in clever designs.

The collections range from the affordable for everyday wear to precious creations for special occasions.

Twenty jewelry artists, including five from the Valley, will be featured in the show. Their jewelry is as individual as their personalities.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER

As an environmentalist, Kim Nikolaev sees her jewelry as a way to preserve a piece of the Sonoran Desert.

Inspired by hikes in the desert, the Chandler woman created a line of silver jewelry formed to resemble native leaves, shrubs and bushes.

“My interest is in desert botanicals and plants that are becoming extinct in our region,” she says. The silver necklace she wears is sculpted like the leaves of a bougainvillea, like the one outside her bedroom window. “People don’t realize we’re losing this beautiful desert.”

Nikolaev, classically trained as a metalsmith and fine artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University, spent the first part of her career designing commercial product packaging.

Although she always created art in her spare time, it wasn’t until seven years ago that she started working full time on her jewelry line.

“I used to do a lot more abstract pieces,” she says. “But I just became obsessed with the leaf forms.” Other favorite plants to work with are lantana, oleander and cactus flowers.

Nikolaev’s designs range from $41 to $1,450.

REBELLIOUS ROCKER

Across from the washer and dryer in the laundry room of his Tempe home, Hoss Rogers hammers a piece of silver.

“I grew up in the Southwest, so my work is heavily influenced by Mexican tin and stamp work,” he says, wearing a cowboy hat, T-shirt and jeans. “Sometimes I go a little overboard on texturizing, but that’s just my style.”

By punching intricate patterns into the metal, he transforms large pieces — like what you’d find at a hardware store — into rockabilly necklaces, bracelets and bolo ties.

At first glance the pieces look hard and edgy, but a closer look shows many are stamped with positive sayings like “Love,” “Live” and “Laugh.”

Roger’s dichotomous designs mirror his personality.

Throughout his 20s, Rogers lived the “ski-bum lifestyle” in New Mexico.

“I always wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted,” he says. “I’ve never had a real job.”

But despite his unregimented lifestyle, Rogers is a family man who walks his two kids to school every day and rides bikes with them on weekends.

His jewelry is a favorite among local rockers like Roger Clyne of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, who frequently commissions pieces.

Roger’s jewelry ranges from $42 to $189. Custom pieces start at $250.

VINTAGE VIRTUOSO

Olof Bridgeford started out carving old dominos.

They were made of Bakelite, a synthetic plastic used to make jewelry in the 1930s and 1940s that had fascinated Bridgeford ever since she realized a dangle bracelet her boyfriend found was made of the antique material.

After experimenting on the dominos, she began cutting, carving and polishing genuine vintage Bakelite using the same techniques and processes as Depression-era jewelry makers. Today the Valley woman specializes in creating high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces for Bakelite collectors as well as geometric bracelets, traditional earrings and Art Deco necklaces. The work ranges from $100 to $1,000.

MASON MASTER

Heidi Abrahamson considers her jewelry modern architecture for the body. The daughter of German immigrants, Abrahamson came to America as a child during the height of the mid-20th-century explosion of modern design.

The architecture of the time fascinated Abrahamson and would later become the inspiration for her jewelry line.

In college she studied fine arts and interior design at Indiana University. For 20 years she had a successful career in the fashion industry, but in 2003 she decided to start her own jewelry line.

The Valley woman’s silver pieces consist of uniquely designed rings and necklaces ranging from $49 to $700.

ATYPICAL ARTIST

Catherine Garrigan’s work pushes the boundaries of traditional jewelry.

After training under a Tiffany’s of New York master jeweler, Garrigan moved to Phoenix, where she started her jewelry line, Hellcat Metalworks.

Her pieces are structural and mechanical, often featuring detachable elements and gemstones in unexpected places and contrasting colored metals such as yellow and rose gold with sterling silver. Gemstones include garnets, topaz and pink sapphires.

Her rings, bracelets and necklaces range from $300 to $1,000.

VINTAGE VIRTUOSO

Olof Bridgeford started out carving old dominos.

They were made of Bakelite, a synthetic plastic used to make jewelry in the 1930s and 1940s that had fascinated Bridgeford ever since she realized a dangle bracelet her boyfriend found was made of the antique material.

After experimenting on the dominos, she began cutting, carving and polishing genuine vintage Bakelite using the same techniques and processes as Depression-era jewelry makers. Today the Valley woman specializes in creating high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces for Bakelite collectors as well as geometric bracelets, traditional earrings and Art Deco necklaces. The work ranges from $100 to $1,000.

MASON MASTER

Heidi Abrahamson considers her jewelry modern architecture for the body. The daughter of German immigrants, Abrahamson came to America as a child during the height of the mid-20th-century explosion of modern design.

The architecture of the time fascinated Abrahamson and would later become the inspiration for her jewelry line.

In college she studied fine arts and interior design at Indiana University. For 20 years she had a successful career in the fashion industry, but in 2003 she decided to start her own jewelry line.

The Valley woman’s silver pieces consist of uniquely designed rings and necklaces ranging from $49 to $700.

ATYPICAL ARTIST

Catherine Garrigan’s work pushes the boundaries of traditional jewelry.

After training under a Tiffany’s of New York master jeweler, Garrigan moved to Phoenix, where she started her jewelry line, Hellcat Metalworks.

Her pieces are structural and mechanical, often featuring detachable elements and gemstones in unexpected places and contrasting colored metals such as yellow and rose gold with sterling silver. Gemstones include garnets, topaz and pink sapphires.

Her rings, bracelets and necklaces range from $300 to $1,000.

Alchemy: A Jewelry Trunk Show

Where: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St.

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21-22

Admission: Free

Information: (480) 994-2787 or www.smoca.org

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