Design Series, Eve's Insight, Gallery Events

Eve discusses her choice of materials for her new series “Voyage to Antarctica.”

In anticipation of the gallery’s upcoming exhibit opening party, artist and custom jewelry designer Eve J. Alfillé speaks about her choice of materials in the process of completing pieces for her new design series “Voyage to Antarctica.”  RSVP Online for this special gallery event on May 4, 2013.

Phantasmagory Earrings by Eve J Alfille
Free-form Schlangenhaute (snakeskin) agate with petal pearls, diamonds and moonstones and treated drusy removable drops.

Q. Were there any materials that your guests would find unusual in the Series?

Eve: The material selection process continues through the life of the series…and for years to come. When I saw this opaque, intense green gem, called Maw Sit Sit, I knew that was the contrasting experience. When Paul traveled to Antarctica, he first stopped in New Zealand. The lush greens are the last visuals before you enter the world of ice.

Eve: Quartz. It is so beautiful, not only capturing the ‘look’ of ice, but the shine as the sun reflects off the ice. I was also attracted to aquamarines as I can see the water and ice together forming this beautiful texture and color.

We need to remember the extreme cold in Antarctica. I use the cold as a way to understand the feeling of retreat that you experience in your mind. You become more introspective. It’s very different than a nice warm day at home.

I then thought about images. For some series I can have a form that symbolizes it, such as an Acanthus leaf. For this series, I don’t have one, instead I have textures. If I go too literal, then the Series is about penguins!

Q. Once you pick out some materials, what is next in the process?

Eve: I assemble them, and I let the materials speak to me.

A vision of Antarctica
A vision of Antarctica

Do you ever find that you start out making a necklace, or a brooch?

Eve: No, it depends on what materials I have in front of me, and which ones speak to me. The first material was the opal and I added some diamonds to represent flecks of light.  Some of the smaller pieces, I have an idea of what I want to do, but many form throughout the creation process up the day we are to exhibit!

Q. I notice in this series, the little diamonds are often set in rows, but each is set separately from each other. Is there a reason for this?

Eve: You know how I mentioned that when you are so far from your normal life, alone in the Antarctic, you can see things more clearly, with better perspective. So I imagined that just as you would notice each of the individual lights of the camp as your helicopter approached for a landing, you would also begin to see each of the elements of your regular life, back home, with more clarity because you are now away from it.

So I turned to this method of setting diamonds as separate little ‘lights’ in this series. And these lights might seem a little lonely amid the pristine whiteness, but they illuminate a continent of vast beauty.

Stormy Weather Pin by artist Eve J. Alfille
“Stormy Weather” pin, drusy quartz set in sterling silver with 14 karat gold

Q. You mention the word ‘Organic’. What does that mean to you in the creation of a new series?

Eve: Organic to me means that there might be some indeterminate curves, that there is some asymmetry. The more geometric pieces tend to have more symmetry. When I thought about the “Voyage to Antarctica”, I thought at first, it was a place of disorder. Then I realized and saw the repeating forms; there was order. I needed to reflect both the geometric and the organic forms.

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Design Series, Eve's Insight, Gallery Events

Eve discusses Gems, Color and the Creative Process for “Voyage to Antarctica.”

In anticipation of the gallery’s upcoming exhibit opening party, artist and custom jewelry designer Eve J. Alfillé speaks about the gems, the colors, the creative process and the emotions surrounding her new design series “Voyage to Antarctica.”  RSVP Online for this special gallery event on May 4, 2013.

photos of Antarctica, photo by Paul Alfille
The purest white, and the bluest of sky.

Q. Does the sun have an influence in the creation of the jewelry?

Eve: The sun is a condition of working in Antarctica. There are only a few who have stayed there during the dark days and nights. There is no contrast without the sun.

Q. What emotions do you want collectors, visitors and guests to have when the view the new series ?

Eve: I believe they will feel ‘awe ‘: awe evoked by the beauty, the majesty and power of the experience. It is where humility balances the inspiration and the feeling of omnipotence. Being in ‘awe’ is a pause for reflection.

Q. Were you inspired by any individual gem?

Eve: I’ve always been fascinated by opals and moonstones. An opal is one of the most versatile gems. It could be used as part of a landscape, or like here, an icescape. It’s a place where the imagination can find scenes in Antarctica…reflected. And moonstones capture light in a filtered way, very much the same way ice does.

Night Snow Moon Earrings
“Night, Snow, Moon” earrings. 2 drusy black agate, 2 Brazilian chalcedony, 2 carved oval moonstones set in 18k gold +18k white gold

Q. Let’s talk about the creation process. Once you have the idea, what is the process you go through to make it come alive?

Eve: The process is more about isolating the emotion(s). I wait for years sometimes until I have a specific vision of the colors and shapes I want associated with a particular series, and I won’t release a piece for production until I am completely sure it ‘sings’!

Q. What is the emotion for the new Series?

Eve: Immensity. Solitude (which is different from loneliness). Being able to contemplate life from a very distant perspective.

When I identified where these emotions originated, I realized it was from the pictures I had seen from my son, Paul. Once the emotions and their origin are identified, then I start to see colors, textures and light as if I was standing in Antarctica seeing all the experiences for myself.

Q. What were some of the colors you started to see?

Eve: Pictures don’t really show all of the ‘sun’ colors, so I visualize myself in Antarctica. I begin to feel the experiences of seeing the sun rising and setting and the colors as they appear on the ice, the water and even the few animals that live in the immense space.

Now I can begin to identify the materials that capture the experience.

Design Series, Eve's Insight, Gallery Events

Eve discusses her inspiration for “Voyage to Antarctica”

In anticipation of the gallery’s upcoming exhibit opening party, artist and custom jewelry designer
Eve J. Alfillé speaks to her inspirations for her new design series “Voyage to Antarctica.”  RSVP Online for this special gallery event on May 4, 2013

an Antarctic Weddell Seal, photo by Paul Alfille
an Antarctic Weddell Seal, photo by Paul Alfille. Click to enlarge photo.

Q.  This is a very special Series to you. What was the inspiration for the next Series, “Voyage to Antarctica”?

Eve: Paul Alfille, my son, was in medical school when he became involved in a research project with Weddell seals. There are only 4 land and air animals that live in the Antarctic, one being the Weddell Seal. They are fascinating animals as they can dive for up to one hour, a unique feature. The research team went to Antarctica to discover what enabled seals to remain submerged, in the hope to help newborn babies.

During his month long trip to the Antarctica, he spent time taking photos. As we gathered as a family to view the pictures, it was interesting as the interpretations were divided. Some found the pictures somewhat uninteresting as they appeared to be just white on white. But when I saw those photos, I see things on many different levels.

Antarctica Earth and Sky
Antarctic earth and sky, separated only by sunlight.

For the past 20 years, the pictures have been in the back of my mind until I saw a way of translating the experience. And when I saw them again recently, I wondered how anyone could have ever found them bland: they are full of searing drama!

Eve: Yes, absolutely. Paul has agreed to share his adventures to Antarctica in a special presentation in June. We’ll share more details as soon as possible. Keep Sunday, June 23 open!

As we take a look at the pictures, there’s a sense of simplicity.

Eve: Yes, there is a simplicity in the colors, but that is what draws attention to the complex textures in the whites and blues, and besides, the colors change with the light.

"McMurdo" pendant
“McMurdo” pendant, blue topaz, sterling silver, 14 karat gold and 14 karat white gold pendant

Q. Explain how you want to express Antarctica to your collectors and guests?

Eve: I know that I cannot bring ice or water from Antarctica. For this Series, I wanted to give guests the sense of being in this wondrous place where very few humans visit. As each creation is revealed, it captures a moment of time in Antarctica and as an entire Series, it encapsulates the experience.   For example, the “McMurdo” pendant shown at right, features blue topaz, sterling silver, 14 karat gold and 14 karat white gold pendant.  Click the photo to enlarge the view.