More just an adornment, garnets are known to lead a varied life…sometimes, even bringing lives to an end.
To the spiritual, garnets were some of the first stones ever carried on the body as a protective amulet. To the utilitarian, they are known for more industrial ends ranging from abrasive powders to water filtration. Obviously, they’re a superb choice when it comes to fashion; ranging in color from deep red to yellow to green, these stones evoke a wide variety of moods and looks…even looks that can kill!
Garnets can sometimes be found cut into a “bullet” shape: they’re an attractive cabochon that allows for a fun and unique variety of styles. It hasn’t always been such a playful cut, however…In 1892, during the conflict in Kashmir between the Hanzas and the British troops, bullet-shaped garnets were used – you guessed it – as actual bullets! It was believed by the Hanzas that, due to their similarity to the color of blood, they would be even deadlier than lead bullets. Even earlier in history, garnets were launched from sling bows! If you were lucky enough to be wearing the garnets rather that ‘receiving’ them, these stones might also have also been believed to cause invulnerability in battle to some cultures.
While garnets are of a 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making them an excellent choice for jewelry as well as for as projectiles, we do recommend leaving the slingshot at home when you come visit our impressive collection of garnets here at the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio. Swing by and check out the many different shapes, sizes and colors available in our ‘armory!’
A new series of fine art jewelry opening on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 1:00p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, with guests enjoying festive refreshments, live music, and Evanston-made art jewelry.
Q:What first sparked your interest in life beneath the sea?
A: All of my childhood summers were spent near the North Seas…a roiling, vigorous stretch with frequent storms that others thought scary but I found beautiful, even to the flotsam on the beach after the storm. Calm days were spent collecting shells, seaweed, and observing small crustaceans burrowing at water’s edge.
Q: What was your thinking process behind the creation of “Undercurrents” and its underlying themes?
A: When you gaze at the ocean, the horizon seems limitless, so of course, you are going to feel that it is an infinitely expandable resource that needs no stewardship. Most of us that are not fishermen experience the animals that dwell therein as “Nemo” cartoon characters, or ingredients in their sushi.
Q: Is “Undercurrents” at all a reaction to climate change?
A: …Not specifically climate change, but anthropocene-induced deterioration, and the now-permanent gyre of plastic debris in the Pacific.
Q: Marine Biologist & past Pearl Society speaker Michelle Hoffman described Earth as a closed system…Does this have implications in your work?
A: More and more, we come to accept this.
Q: Several pieces in your new series feature long, rectangular compositions of undersea life that appear to have a very contained sense of space. What was your creative thinking behind these works?
A: So we can imagine ourselves as attendees at a future museum exhibit presenting bas reliefs of a vanished undersea world…The series of 10 gold bas reliefs will be mounted on bronze bases, straddling the world of sculpture and jewelry.
Q: In what ways might “Undercurrents” be an evolution of some undersea symbols you’ve explored in past series, like “Les Animaliers” and “Sea of Sargasso?”
A: “Les Animaliers” dealt, not with animals, but with how we represent them, anthropomorphize them, and reduce them into near-abstractions. “Sea of Sargasso” was a moody meditation on the allure and mystery that the “unknowable,” the seven seas, have held for humankind. With “Undercurrents,” I think we have to admit that the ocean’s resource is not finite…there are not really “many fish in the sea,” and we can no longer plead ignorance.
Q: What materials, styles, or motifs might we see in your new series?
A: Obviously, pearls, many, all kinds- even freshwater, since all waters are ultimately connected. Oceanic hues, green seaweed, corals, bright gems adorning rock fish, moonstone-bearing jellies, diamond trails of bubbles, and opals in all their shades…
Q: Just for fun: do you have a favorite sea creature, and if so, then why?
A: A quick, thoughtless answer would be: shells, based on my childhood summers by the sea. But the paradox is that, while collecting shells used to bring delight, seeing some actual living animals in their shell brought only fear and revulsion! Another marker of our human self-centeredness!
The new series will be inaugurated on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 1:00p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, with guests enjoying festive refreshments, live music, and Evanston-made art jewelry.
Never before have the depths of the sea seemed so close that you could take the purple line! That’s what local artist Eve Alfille’s newest series of fine art jewelry, “Undercurrents,” aims to do…Eve has taken creatures from the world beneath the waves, and has replaced their shimmering scales and colorful fronds with new bodies of gold, silver, and gems, only to release them anew at her gallery in Downtown Evanston.
These precious works of wearable art cover an expanse of ideas as diverse as the ocean itself…in one necklace, happy golden seahorses dangle beneath a suspiciously fish-shaped South Seas blister pearl, evoking the joy and life of living on a reef. Other pieces, however, tackle the issues which have formed between the ocean and us. “When you gaze at the ocean, the horizon seems limitless,” says Eve, “so of course you are going to feel that it is an infinitely expandable resource that needs no stewardship…with ‘Undercurrents,’ I think we have to admit that the ocean’s resource is not finite…there are not really ‘many fish in the sea,’ and we can no longer plead ignorance.”
“Undercurrents” will include an array of gems and motifs meant to give due credit to the many creatures therein who often resemble jewels themselves. According to Eve, this will mean: “obviously pearls, many, all kinds, even freshwater since all waters are ultimately connected. Oceanic hues, green seaweed, corals, bright gems adorning rockfish, moonstone-bearing jellies, diamond trails of bubbles, and opals in all their shades.”
The opening celebration will feature a specially-created jewelry raffle prize, Champagne and other libations, delicious treats, and live music provided by classical guitarist Sean McMahon. Join us when the series surfaces on May 6, 2017 from 1:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. at the Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio. Please send RSVPs to either 847-869-7920 or email@example.com. To learn more about Eve Alfillé and see more of her works, visit www.evejewelry.com.
The Oscars…it’s a show that’s all about the audience, and an event where you’ll be less likely to find faux pearls than faux pas…but, rather than focusing on the award-giving awkwardness that occurred, we’re here to shine a spotlight on the many fabulous adornments that decorated the attendees!
The 2017 Oscars were an excellent opportunity for fabricators of fashion to show off their wares to an audience of roughly 32.9 million prospective buyers; by simply tuning in, viewers were immediately exposed to an abundance of beautiful looks and how to wear them. Many of these fashions were tried-and-true staples (Dakota Johnson’s necklace was literally borrowed from a museum!) hearkening back to an “old hollywood” glamour. Many of the winsome wearers, however, chose to go another route with bold and edgy choices that explored the very latest frontiers in jewelry trends.
…It should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited the Eve Alfille Gallery & Studio, then, that not a few of these looks were similar to trends which Eve has also explored through her chosen medium of jewelry. Read on to see examples of how the spirit of the red carpet and the imagination of Eve share the same spirit of exploration and high glamour!
Long & Layered, His & Hers
They may be a girl’s best friend, but there’s no reason that diamonds can’t look dreamy on men, too! In a characteristically bold look, Pharrell Williams embellished his Chanel wardrobe with a brooch in 18K white gold, diamonds, and cultured pearls. His long, luxurious necklaces especially evoke the classic, diamond-laden looks that Eve has crafted, such as her “Odalisque” or “Morning Run by the Lake” black-and-gray diamond necklaces.
Birds of a feather may flock together, but sometimes we mammals like to switch things up! Actress Saoirse Ronan played the matchmaking game with a pair of green and white earrings, not at all unlike Eve’s “Birds of Passage” earrings (which feature one white and one peacock-green South Seas pearl each!).
Isabelle Huppert wowed crowds with an Armani gown and a fitted earring cuff that traced the silhouette of her ear with shining gem-studded brilliance. A fresh and modern statement piece, this look bears resemblance to Eve’s “Lilith” earring from her “Garden of Eden” series. Also contoured to the outside of the ear, this piece features an 18 karat white gold design with a suite of shimmering diamonds sure to update any look.
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?
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.
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.