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Helios: A Q&A with Eve

November 12, 2016
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“Solar Wind” earrings copyright: Eve Alfille. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

What does the concept of “Helios” mean to you? 

This series, “Helios,” falls within my interest in and investigation of how we, as humans, have always responded to the world as we perceive it. So, more broadly, it belongs to the ‘passage of Time’, historical/prehistorical part of my work.

Just like my much earlier series “Les Animaliers” was not about animals per se, but about how we have interpreted them (an ‘animalier,’ in French, is a painter who specializes in animals as subjects), “Helios” attempts to view the Sun as ancient to modern people have seen it: a constant and inescapable presence, overwhelming at times –weak and endangered, perhaps, at others– and capable of multiple interpretations.

That those interpretations have almost always been very graphic testifies to our need for control and self identification: giving the Sun facial features is a very ancient, anthropocentric attempt at understanding it, and hopefully bringing its course under human control. Maybe if the sun is human-like, we can reason with it?

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“Sol At His Most Benevolent” pin/pendant: copyright Eve Alfille. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

What does “Helios” mean to history? To jewelry? 

Given how central the Sun, in its incredible power, is to human survival, I ponder how original sun cults eventually evolved into modern religions! Was it necessary to diminish the sun’s power by erecting defenses? Other, stronger gods to confront its influence?

Certainly Luna, the moon, is more often female, while Sol, the Sun, might more often have been seen as male- though not always.

Why? And why is the Sun’s face often bland? It is only occasionally that we encounter a favorable expression,  or even a particularly angry one.

…And why did humans resist putting the Sun at the apex of their gods, when in fact its influence determines whether they eat or not, survive another year or not? How come Jupiter, how come Baal, how come any other gods came to be seen as more powerful?

What can we expect to see stylistically in this series? Any stones or motifs of note?

How interesting that we are conflicted about the sun: it is the best of things, it is the worst of things. We tan, or we wield parasols. Primitive tribes wailed in anguish during solar eclipses: it was dying, maybe not to return! If we use HFC’s, skin cancer rises. But then it’s beach season again.

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“Carefree Days” necklace:  copyright Eve Alfille. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

So my suns will be both sunny and angry, they will be crowned in beauty with opals, and bare of ornament. They will be subdued, or blazing with diamonds, like the costume designed for Louis XIV, the Sun King. Red spinels, mandarin garnets, yellow sapphires.

 

But we too suffer when Helios, or Sol, removes itself. Its loss, or absence must, too, be celebrated, albeit in somber tones of black spinels, grey and mauve moonstones, and labradorites…

And there should also be peasant suns, enthroned over parched fields of jasper with plump golden rays enlivening sere landscapes, and uncertain suns, November suns, of pale citrine and quartz.

How does this series fit into your work as a whole? 

When we celebrated our 25th year at the gallery, a “Deja Vu” series replayed some favorite pieces in a new guise in honor of the occasion.  This time, as we prepare to honor our 30th year next year, I have taken a few other favorites –rings in this instance– and asked them to present homage to Helios as a special addition to the series. You will see a special version of the Acanthus ring, the Medieval ring, and a few others among the new Helios pieces.  It is my way of paying obeisance to earlier inspirations while forging ahead, as I hope to do for many years to come.

Did you ever encounter anything related to Helios during your time as an archaeologist? 

Heraldry…it is a medieval code of graphic design, and very precise. A heraldic sun’s straight rays always mean Light, but its oscillating rays have to mark Heat. Ancient Incas must have known this: their sun, who is a short-statured warrior, holds in his quiver both curved and straight rays.

Here too, is duality, which we must observe and portray. Heat and light: observe both in the political fray…perhaps more heat than light, alas.

 

To view Eve’s series, “Helios,” join us in celebration at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio on November 19 from 1pm to 7pm. 

 

Guggenheim’s Golden Throne

October 15, 2016

Is your bathroom a bit boring? Is your lavatory too lackluster? Leave the porcelain to the plebeians! The latest in privy improvements can now be experienced at the Guggenheim Museum in New York since Italian artist and editor of “The Toilet Paper” magazine Maurizio Cattelan has unveiled his latest exhibit: America.

This solid-18-karat-gold treasure of a toilet is now available for public reception on the fifth floor of the museum, which the artist intended to be fully functional as well as fashionable. Despite its current popularity with guests, the fabulous facilities were initially delayed: though the piece was created to be a working replica of a common Kohler model, the grand unveiling was delayed due to technical difficulties. According to the museum spokeswoman: “to the museum’s knowledge, this kind of casting process has never been done before.”

Ironically, despite the perniciousness of the plumbing, this is not the first golden toilet to grace bathrooms of the world (despite its clever monicker, “America”). In Hong Kong, a 24 karat solid gold toilet is included in the Hang Fung Gold Technology Group’s showroom. Elsewhere in Asia, a Saudi King kindly gifted a golden toilet to his daughter on her wedding day with the additional present of a wedding dress designed to embody all the glamour and style of the ancient pyramids. This strikingly geometric silhouette is the boldest choice in design since Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” another bathroom accessory fit for the annals of art history.

“Latitude & Longitude:” A New Jewelry Collection to be Unveiled by Art Jewelry Designer Eve J. Alfillé

April 27, 2016

The new series will be celebrated on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery and Studio, and will allow guests to indulge in beverages, food, live music, and Evanston-made art jewelry.

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Evanston, IL – Get your walking stick and rucksack ready, because it’s almost time to traverse some terrain with Evanston’s resident citizen of the world, Eve Alfillé. This world-conscious creator has tackled fields ranging from history to language and more with her art jewelry, and is using her latest series to explore even more of the world she loves. The series, “Latitude & Longitude,” will be celebrated at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio on April 30 by fans of jewelry and geography alike!

No world capitols, no school quizzes! Alfillé’s exploration takes us back to the physical world, and how we learned to relate to the space we inhabit and the lands and seas beyond. Each place, both familiar and foreign, will be evoked with materials ranging from pristine diamonds to baroque pearls to unruly fossils that celebrate the world in all its textures…wavy seas, grainy sands, and more will have a place on Eve’s map.

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Sterling silver and garnet “Rose des Vents” earrings could be yours…enter Eve’s raffle and see!

Symbols will also be key: a compass rose, a pendulum, birds in migration, the fish of the seas, along with a circle of ebony to represent the unity of the earth and all things in it. Above all, Eve stresses the importance of solidarity in a world with as many varied passions and opinions as there are latitudes and longitudes.

The opening celebration promises to be worth the trip– tantalizing treasures await, including a raffle for a stunning necklace and pair of earrings designed by Eve just for the party (no purchase necessary!). Come test your luck at the raffle, or simply enjoy the party atmosphere with a glass of Champagne! Festivities will also include delicious catered treats by Donna Goodman and musical stylings of jazz duo, The Casual Flyers. All earthlings are invited!

The new series will be released and celebrated on April 30, 2016 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery and Studio. To ‘book your trip,’ send us your RSVPs at 847-869-7920 or by email at contact@evejewelry.com. To learn more about Eve Alfillé and her inspiration, go to www.evejewelry.com.

Unearthed in Angola

March 2, 2016

 

 

An illuminating discovery was unearthed only weeks ago in Angola, Africa, unexpectedly escalating the shares of the company responsible by 29 percent. Lucapa Diamonds, an Australian-based mining company, was already in the public eye following the recent discovery of three other diamonds over 100 carats from their Lulo mine in recent history.

The uncovering of a diamond of spectacular proportion, however, broke all of these records: a 404.2-carat behemoth of a diamond was found, sporting a top-tier D-color and Type IIA. The stone itself measures about seven centimeters in length, which would be comparable to wearing a diamond ring the size of your finger itself.

While the final fate of the gem is unknown, it caused a stir at market when the stone sold for $22 million Australian dollars, or roughly $16 million in the US. That’s quite a bit of change, with an estimated $55,585 per carat!

This stone is currently measured as the 27th largest recorded diamond in history, following such illustrious diamonds as the Cullinan diamond found in South Africa in 1905…And if rare stones such as these are your fascination, there are many minerals far more rare than diamonds! Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks to possibly read about them in a future story.

For Love of Gems

February 10, 2016

…A treatise on stones with ‘lovable’ properties for this season of romance! Read on to learn more about their varied histories, abilities, and how they can help to give you and your love life a lift…

 

3c42df9ce7f4224bdce617be44674bab.jpgPearls:

Crushed pearls were often used as an antidote to many ills…including wandering lovers! Swallowing a potion made from a crushed pearl sometimes had the power to bring them back.

During the Renaissance in Florence, Italy, it was pearls and not diamonds which were actually the costliest stone. During this time, pearls were commonly hailed as the gem representing both purity and the Virgin Mary. As such, young brides would often cover themselves in pearls for their weddings; particularly their hair. A women’s hair was considered extremely alluring during this time, and only unmarried women wore it down.

Bridal hairstyles were always, as a result, worn up and elaborately braided…brides’ ears were usually covered with a cloth embroidered with pearls, largely due to the belief that the Virgin Mary conceived through her ear.


Rubies: 

Rubies have many uses, but one can be as a warning or alarm system. One Renaissance author “himself had warning of the death of his wife as his ruby changed color.”

Rubies could also symbolize chastity, as in the 15th century portrait of the niece of the Duke of Milan, Maria Sforza (who was married as an “old maid” at the late age of 21!). In fact, like pearls, rubies were often used by Florentine brides during the Renaissance: this was because they were believed to remove both inappropriate lust and depression from the wearer

 

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Amethysts: 

Amethyst has been said to intensify desire within both men and women, and can also function as a dream catcher to keep bad dreams at bay while in bed. Even St. Valentine, the symbol of romance, famously wore an engraved amethyst bearing the figure of a Cupid!

 

Rose Quartz:

rq.jpgThe stone of unconditional love, Rose Quartz promotes within the wearer a greater sense of self-worth, and as such, can create the confidence needed to bolster a spirit of romantic daringness!

Used as an aphrodisiac during the Middle Ages, rose quartz was said to arouse one’s lover “if a stone were held between thumb and forefinger and slowly drawn between the navel and the parts below.”

 

Sapphires:

A famous sapphire which once belonged to the Count Welitski of Poland was known for being intensely blue during the day, and yet would transform into a fantastic shade of violet at night. Similarly, a French countess wrote a story titled “Le Saphire Merveilleux,” which claims that a change in sapphire color could be used to test a women’s faithfulness: a faithful woman would ensure that the sapphire remained blue.

We now know these as color-change sapphires, a very precious and valuable variety of stones. At the time, however, if a man wished to prove innocence, the woman in question would be asked to wear the sapphire for three hours in the afternoon. If he wished to prove unfaithfulness, however, she would be asked to wear it during the three hours from sunset leading into nightfall, when the gem’s hue would be completely different.

A nun from the Middle Ages, Hildegarde Von Bingen, once wrote: “sapphire has a magical property: if a stupid man uses it in the proper manner, he will become wise; if irritable, good-tempered.” ….Perhaps a great gift idea for the man in your life!

 

 

 

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“Treasures of Ur” emerald necklace. Copyright Eve Alfillé. Photo Credit Matt Arden.

Emeralds:

 

These stones were known to miraculously retain the wearer’s beauty, and could grant good luck to a marriage!

Emeralds are known to be the stone of Venus, the Goddess of Love. They were also said to splinter upon the deflowering of a virgin, as is told in the story of King Bela of Hungary…upon touching his new wife, his famed emerald suddenly split!

 

Diamonds: 

An old English ballad tells the story of a lad who loved a princess in spite of the king’s disapproval, and was forced to escape to sea. Before he left, the princess gave him a ring with seven diamonds. However, “One day he looked his ring upon, he saw the diamond pale and wan” From the diamond’s message, he knew to hasten back, stopped her wedding to another suitor, and they lived happily ever after.

As exemplified in this story, diamonds have been known and praised for their ability to send messages since ancient times! They also have been said to promote courage in the wearer, and to grant them the ability to see one’s lover as beautiful always (even in sickness and old age)!

 


463501.jpegMoonstones: 

It has been said that a woman could see the face of her lover within a moonstone, if he were faithful and unwavering. For another suggested use, give your love a moonstone on the night of a full moon, and you may find that you will always have a mutual passion for one another.

..To keep your love strong this Valentine’s day, don’t forget to stop by the gallery and ask our helpful staff to see examples of any of these magnificent “Love Gems!” 

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