Polymer ikat bracelet inspiration

In April, wanting to return to my textile roots, I thought it would be fun to make “ikat” cuff bracelets. Then I realized that some of the canes I had already been using could be translated into ikat. ©AnnBrooks_Two Ikat BraceletsI pulled out the canes I had made late last fall using Melanie West’s tutorial for striped Skinner Blend canes.  I had made or adapted four different canes from this tutorial and they had been wonderful to use in making brooches and other bracelets. Now they would be pressed into service as ikat “cloth”! But then, a funny thing happened when I used an extruder to make little ropes to edge the bracelets with. I had extruded stacks of color so that I could reveal dots of color to add to the ethnic feel of these bracelets then . . . ©AnnBrooks_Circus_HoopsIt occurred to me that by making extrusions this way, but a little larger in diameter, I could make hoop earrings. And so, my “Circus Hoops” were born, some with polkadots, some without, but all with contrasting  colors revealed at the ends! And the stacks of color in the extruder had also given me variegated earrings.

Design Inspiration for a Special Wedding Bracelet

Having found my online shop while planning her wedding, Ghazal and I communicated off and on for a few months regarding which earrings she would get for her wedding in Tulum, Mexico. She ended up ordering two pairs. This one and also this one, not being sure exactly which she would want for that special day.

We also had much conversation over how best to send them from the US to Canada. When they arrived, I got this lovely note from her . . .

“I’ve received them! They look just great, thanks! I love the earrings I ordered first. My fiance likes the 2nd look. I guess I’ll have to see what they look like on the day. I will definitly send you a photo.” You can see which pair she wore at the bottom of this post.

Then Ghazal added, “Was just wondering, is there any way you could make a bracelet that would match?” Well, that got my design juices going that very night. By the next day, after several iterations, this is what emerged. And you can see it and another view here in my online shop.

And here is Ghazal, radiant on her wedding day in Tulum, Mexico!

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Dia de los Muertos altar exhibition at Art Works Downtown

The art center, Art Works Downtown is such a stimulating place to have a studio, especially one right down the hall from the gallery – you can see the “Ann Brooks” shingle just above my door on the right.

The communal altar above was created by students at San Rafael High School. Detail is below, left.

 This selection of Day of the Dead altars is from both groups, as in the case of the San Rafael High students and individual artists or general public who wish to honor departed friends and family members.

Several of the altars honor the people of San Rafael of the past as well as early settlers like Don Timeteo Murphy.

The exhibition was juried by Sharon Christovich, Folk Art Gallery owner, and Carol Durham, Art Works Downtown studio artist.

Above and right, an altar which invites the public to write their own wishes, prayers for people dear to them – see the detail below on the left.

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The altar directly below by Petrina W. was given the Jurors’ Award. In it she pays homage to so many friends and relatives she has lost. She writes about them with such elegance that one ends up breathless over the losses she has suffered, yet wonders at her open, friendly personality!

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To the left, Patrick Gavin Duffy has created an altar honoring one of San Rafael’s earliest founders, Don Timeteo Murphy, the legendary six foot, 300 pount, red-headed Irishman who was granted the “Rancho de las Gallinas” and most of the former mission lands by the Mexican Governor. This altar references items from the Rancho period when this western edge of the ‘world’ system was Spanish, not American.

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Fine Arts Department student at College of Marin, Novato. Isabel Hayes’ altar “Home is Where We Rest Our Bones” is a memorial dedicated to the people of San Rafael, then and now. Isabel calls San Rafael her home.

Friday, November 11th Art Walk will be the closing reception for this very stimulating show.

All photos by Ann’s iPhone 4s with post production in Photoshop.

 

Above: detail from “Home is where we rest our bones” by Isabel Hayes. 

At De Young Museum’s 2011 Ethnic Textile Bazaar with jewelry

Ann Brooks with Jeanmarie Nutt at De Young Museum's 2011 Ethnic Textile Bazaar

Ann Brooks and Jeanmarie Nutt (seated left) at the De Young Museum’s 2011 Ethnic Textile Bazaar in San Francisco.

Sunday, for the second year, I participated in the De Young Museum’s Ethnic Textile Bazaar, selling my ethnically inspired jewelry from my World Peace Collection.

Book and fiber artist Jeanmarie Nutt was, again, a great assistant. In the spirit of the day, we both wore Guatemalan hupiles we had purchased in Oaxaca. Mine is an “eagle” style from the village of Chichicastenango with it’s sunburst around the neckline.

Some of my most popular items at  the Bazaar were my Tibetan Buddhist mala earrings, and red vulcanite (vinyl) bracelets from Africa, one with turquoise, Baltic amber and Tibetan mala beads, and another new design, red with black and “silver” Fulani tribe prayer beads from Africa.

You can see more of my jewelry at www.annbrooks.net or in my online zibbet shop.

1950s North African market influences my jewelry today

The North African souq which was to influence my travels, my photography and my jewelry for years to come. Taken with a Kodak Baby Brownie.

I was a very impressionable teenager in the 1950s, when I first set eyes on a North African souq.

My grandmother and I had been traveling independently in Europe, from Ireland and Scotland, south through England, France and Spain. It was not all that long after World War II and Europe, itself seemed very “different” to this American teenager.

But I was in no way prepared for what I would see across the Straights of Gibraltar in Morocco, in Tangiers. The French were still present there and it was not unusual to see a European woman pushing a stroller on the same sidewalk with an Arab woman, covered from head to toe, with a toddler in hand. And Coca-Cola signs in both French and Arabic — on the same sign! The snake charmer! I found it all quite amazing.

But it was the sight of the the Arabs gathered in a souq, that North African market, that sunk deeply into my psyche. That view would influence where I chose to travel in future decades and even the jewelry I make today, a half century later!

It was my first view of how other people in the world lived that seemed in no way connected to the life I had known growing up in California. It stirred my my curiosity, my passion. I knew I wanted to see, learn more about other people, far away lands.

But then, time out to marry, raise a family and I was pretty tied down for two decades. I did manage to take my own children to Europe in 1973.

The yearning did not go away. Mexico was near and satisfied some of that need. Finally, in 1989 I saw India for the first time, but it was not till 2005 that I was able to return to India and made contacts with a Muslim family in Rajasthan that I would end up doing a photo documentary about their teenage daughter the following year.

That North African souq had a major influence on my current jewelry World Peace Collection ” . . . Creating a vision . . . beads from the world’s cultures and religions coming together in harmony.”

Here’s our next Ornament Magazine ad!

Jewelry of Barbara Cromer, Sharon MacLeod and Ann Brooks in Ornament Magazine

Gotta love teamwork!

Once again three of us, jewelers who met while participating in the forum of an online site where we all had shops, coordinated our efforts to come up with new work that would harmonize well in another, our third Ornament Magazine ad.

The new issue of Ornament will be out in early March. We look forward to seeing where our ad will be placed among the ads of many  jewelers we find very inspirational.

Also in this beautiful magazine will be new features showcaseing some of the top jewelers and other wearable art artists from around the world. The current issue has a feature about North African jewelry.

Additionally, we’ll be checking out reviews of exhibitions in top museums and galleries in the US and Europe.

You can see more of Barbara’s jewelry here, and Sharon’s here. The two necklaces of mine are part of my World Peace Collection and you can view them here and here.

Silver Ruffles earrings in AWD “Small Works” show

My Silver Ruffles earrings are one of many works of art featured in the current Art Works Downtown exhibition, running  November 18, 2010 – January 7, 2011. There, you’ll find lots of art for giving during this holiday season …

… and more in my Art Works Downtown studio or at my online shop.

New Ornament Magazine ad, this time with our own domains

During the past summer three of us, who had met online selling our jewelry on the same site, decided to join together and advertise in Ornament Magazine using our 1000Markets.com shop URLs. No sooner had the edition been published with our ad in it, than 1000Markets.com was acquired, and with it’s demise, those urls were rendered useless.

What followed was scampering by the 1500 or so 1000Markets shop owners to find new online homes. Not only had we lost our shops, but had developed a large online community of artisans and it was sad to go our separate ways as we searched for new venues that would best suited our own work.

One thing became quickly apparent to some of us — if we had our own domains, they could not get sold out from under us and we would have more control over our destinies.

The three of us with our, then current, Ornament ad rendered useless by the sale of 1000Markets, immediately agreed that we would do another Ornament ad, this time, with our own domains.

I happily share the latest issue of Ornament Magazine here … and our new ad.

For me, it is personal pleasure to be in the current issue, the one that annually features the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, one of the top shows in the country. I had participated in that show in 1999 and consider it to be one of the greatest honors of my career.

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I want to give special recognition to the extraordinary generosity of the staff at Ornament Magazine. They felt so badly that the urls in our first advertising venture with them had suddenly gone bad, rendering the ad all but useless, that out of the goodness of their hearts they not only went out of their way to get this ad in under deadline, but have promised a free repeat of our ad in the edition that follows this one. For years I have known Ornament as an outstanding and beautiful magazine, tops in its field, but now I know it is created by truly good souls.

Introducing my new World Peace Series at Ethnic Textile Bazaar

Creating a vision … beads from the world’s cultures and religions coming together in harmony. ~ Ann Brooks

I’m pleased to have my jewelry included in this year’s Ethnic Textile Bazaar on November 14th 2010. The event is a benefit for the Textile Arts Council of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

It is the perfect occasion to introduce my new World Peace Series – “creating a vision … beads from the world’s cultures and religions coming together in harmony”

For example, a necklace with vinyl made in Europe, used in Christian and Muslim Africa is combined with beads from a Buddhist mala from Nepal.

To my surprise, I’m doing jewelry photography … some history

Jewelry copyright 1997 Ann Brooks

To see some of my history as a jeweler and why I was surprised … see this January 2010 post on my photography blog.

~ jewelry Ann Brooks, photo Hap Sakwa.