Eny Lee Parker’s New Ceramic Chainmail Has a Secret Message Encoded in Its Links
Where do you go after you’ve been named this year’s “breakout American design star” AND one of the best fashion brands of 2017? If you’re Eny Lee Parker, you just keep churning out incredible new work, even if you’re in the throes of an upcoming cross-country move. (Parker’s relocating from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City this month.) The triple-threat ceramicist/furniture designer/jewelry maker debuted a new collection this weekend at Laney Contemporary, a fine art gallery in Savannah. And while the new work covers some familiar ground (thick ceramic legs as table bases), Parker also dug deep into a new obsession: ceramic chainmail.
“The idea for ceramic chainmail came to me as I was making earrings. Growing up, my parents would always give me odd jobs like braiding leather belts — 300 of them in one weekend. That repetitive motion was so natural and therapeutic for me. But once that craft is exploited for industry, it suddenly becomes devalued. In the past, that repetitive motion was about skill, knowledge, patience and virtue. Today, it can be viewed as cheap and dehumanizing. The whole show is about the essence of craft, and for me, that essence is time — how things can take time, and how that is neither favored nor appreciated in our industry of objects.” But don’t worry, encoded in the chainmail is a more uplifting meaning as well, Parker says: “The ceramic rings represent us as people, imperfect and fragile on our own; stronger when linked together.” Take a peek at her new mirrors, tables, objects, lamps, and stools below, and get excited for when Parker’s ever-more-sophisticated next collection drops.