Midway through our visit to Erin Considine’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment earlier this summer, we began talking about her parents, who — no surprise here — are interior designers. She told us a story about her father being on a job site in Connecticut in the 1980s, where a company was giving away all of its Knoll furniture. A set of Mies van der Rohe Brno chairs here, a Saarinen Tulip table there — these are sorts the things the Brooklyn jewelry designer grew up with. When my jaw dropped, she shrugged. “It’s just being in the right place at the right time,” she says.
Considine should know. Her home is filled with the spoils of an expert thrifter — major pieces of fiber art, a paint by numbers horse, light fixtures picked up at stoop sales for less than a tenner — and since 2009, she’s been making jewelry that often takes as its starting point metal forms or pieces that were found, either in deadstock warehouses or on the street. After college, she says, “I started doing out doing experiments and casting. I was making these little washer rings — metal washers I found on the street that I would set in rings or pins. That still creeps into the collection every once in a while.”
But Considine’s jewelry practice doesn’t rely entirely on luck. The other side of the equation is discipline and healthy dose of self-education. Considine is known for her natural dyeing capabilities — she even teaches a class at New York’s Textile Arts Center about it — but it’s a skill she learned only recently. “At first it was mainly a kitchen experiment — dying with turmeric and onion skin and avocado skin and hibiscus,” Considine says. “Those dye stuffs are awesome for everyday casual dyeing. But if you’re going to make a product it’s really important to dye with something more substantive —things like indigo and woad and madder root. I took a class in Philly last fall from this man who’s been studying the chemistry of natural dyes for the last 30 years, and he explains everything in a very scientific way. There are so many old wives tales surrounding natural dyeing, and he breaks it down and explains. There are factors like pH, the temperature of the water, the alkalinity in the water — it was so interesting.”
Each collection is inspired by a different place and time in Considine’s life; last year, a girls’ vacation to the Southwest inspired both her weaving techniques and the palette. To see more of her inspirations, read through the slideshow at right, and to view the entire collection, visit Considine’s online shop or stop by the New York Capsule show, where Considine will be parked through the end of the day tomorrow!
Heaven Tanudiredja didn’t have a chance to tidy up the day I visited his Antwerp studio in early February, leaving his desk a maelstrom of beads, tools, and findings, punctuated by the odd Marlboro package. “Cigarettes and Red Bull — this is the real me,” he joked, apologizing for the mess. But to the uninitiated visitor, of course, it was a fascinating sight, a glimpse at the primordial soup that would soon be transformed into Tanudiredja’s ever-more-elaborate fall jewelry collection, which he’ll show this week in Paris. Because everything is made by hand in the studio, his desk is actually a production hub; with his line Heaven now in its ninth season, and his elaborate bead-encrusted necklaces selling for $5,000 at the likes of Barneys New York, Tanudiredja and his three-person team are responsible for churning out upwards of 300 pieces every six months, each of which takes 48 hours of exacting beadwork to construct. Hence the stimulants — not to mention the thick-rimmed glasses he has to wear while working as a consequence of his failing eyesight.
“I grew up going to pow-wows and stuff” isn’t the first thing you expect Annie Lenon to say as she’s puttering around the garden apartment and studio she shares with her boyfriend in a brownstone in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene. But then you recall that the 25-year-old jewelry-maker and Pratt grad hails from Bozeman, a city of 27,000 located in the southwestern corner of Montana — a state that with its prairies and badlands and Indian reservations seems downright exotic to most New Yorkers — and you realize she’s working from an entirely different reference point.
Had you visited Eskayel's website in 2004, back when Shanan Campanaro was still an art student at Central Saint Martins in London, you would have seen a very different site from the one that resides there today. That’s because the ethereal, high-end wallpaper and fabric company Campanaro now runs out of her studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was in fact once a homespun T-shirt label she started with a college friend, featuring the booze- and boyfriend-related escapades of a comic-book character she’d invented.