I am a big jewelry girl and I truly enjoy wearing beautiful art jewelry every day.
However, I do think there are limits to what looks good, and will continue to give one enjoyment and pleasure for years to come. There are 2 recent trends that I truly believe may not have been fully thought out.
The first, and definitely the more reasonable of the 2 “Jewelry” trends this post will touch on is that of “wedding ring” tattoos. This seems to be the logical next step for those who are determined to cover their bodies in ink. And, while some who have done this expressed the desire to show their commitment in a low-cost manner, I wonder if they have given any thought to a few of my concerns. Specifically, will that really look good when you are older (“When I’m 64” as Paul McCartney sang) and more wrinkled?! Aside from intense pain when the tattoo is done (the base of one’s finger is a very sensitive place!), and the risk of infection, or worse, hepatitis or other diseases that can be transmitted inadvertently through needles, there is also the question of attractiveness. Furthermore, once you do it, it is there for life. I know some say you can have it removed, but there will be more pain, residual scarring and, oh yes, pain! Also, no one seems to talk about the way tattoos blur and fade over time. They are inked into the layers of the skin and over time the lines seem to spread and lose crispness (and colors also blur, sometimes yielding muddy, unattractive new hues).
Not to mention the possibility of divorce, given that the current divorce rate in the U.S. is 50%. And, what if you simply tire of the design?
The second trend that has hit the news this week is the story of a woman in New York City who had a platinum heart implanted in the white of her eye. Yes, seriously! And, Fox 5 News reports that her reason for undergoing this surgical procedure was to give her something to talk about with people. I can think of so many other interesting & less invasive topics to discuss. Her eye-bling was inserted via an incision into the white of the eye and inserted between the clear conjunctiva and the white sclera as Manhattan news crews watched Dr. Emil Chynn work from the other side of his Park Avenue office’s floor to ceiling windows. And, she actually is reported to have paid $3,000. for this to be done! As they say, to each his/her own. For this woman, Lucy Luckayanko, it is a platinum-eye-heart, “It will be sort of my unique factor.” I’ll say!
“The American Academy of Ophthalmology has not identified sufficient evidence to support the safety or therapeutic value of this procedure,” Dr. Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., an ophthalmologist and AAO’s Communications Secretary, said in a statement. The possible risks include: infection and/or bleeding, which could result in blindness, perforation, conjunctivitis, and it is also possible for bleeding to occur beneath the conjunctiva, causing hemorrhage. “It urges consumers to avoid placing in the eye any foreign body or material that is not proven to be medically safe or approved by the FDA.”
And, shockingly this is not the first time this has been done, such procedures have already been done in L.A. and Europe as well. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I will not be joining the ranks of those with eye jewelry permanently embedded in my eyes, or my teeth for that manner (don’t even get me started with that look!)
RSVP Online for the “Homage to Klimt” Design Series Opening Saturday, October 19, 2013 from noon – 6pm at Eve J Alfille Gallery & Studio
Authored by Maggie Flynn, Medill School of Journalism
The intertwined figures in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” scarcely look human at first glance. The first clear impression is that of a woman’s face and shoulders floating in an amorphous gold cloak. Only on closer examination does the back of the head bent over her become apparent. The lover’s hands are tender on the woman’s face, and her arm is wrapped around his neck. It’s an intimate, striking moment, captured with amazing detail.
However the details of this painting— bits of colors, rectangles and circles in the cloaks, textured backgrounds—aren’t what you’d expect from a depiction of two lovers. From top to bottom, Klimt’s work showcases color and texture in a way designed to evoke the experience of all the senses.
That engagement of the senses inspired Eve Alfille’s newest jewelry series, which draws from the works of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).
The jewelry art of Eve Alfille has always engaged the senses, but in her newest series, she’s hoping to capture something of that transformation. It’s a lofty goal. Crafting a jewelry piece that achieves artistic purpose and suitability involves walking a tricky tightrope between art and craft.
In 1900-1912, in which Klimt would produce “The Kiss,” movements for the beautification of objects began to gather momentum. European nations were in various states of upheaval. Freudian psychology was making its way around Europe, and interest in primitive civilizations and primal urges was becoming stronger. Dissatisfaction with the aristocracy’s domination of the arts had been growing for some decades, and more and more artists believed that “art had to be for everybody.” Art had begun to move out of academic circles and off the canvas.
Eve’s fascination with the art of that time played a major role in her ‘Homage to Klimt’, but it’s not the first time that 1900-1912 has inspired her. In the fall of 2011, she created a series titled “Dancing Under the Stars,” inspired by the work of Lyonel Feininger, another artist of that period.
Unlike Klimt, Feininger depicted a world fueled by the subconscious.
“That was work was about dreams, images from dreams. It was about surrealism,” Eve explained in reference to “Dancing Under the Stars.”
Her newest series, ‘Homage to Klimt,’ draws inspiration from the same time period, but her creative process for the Klimt series has been brewing steadily for some years. It’s part of her creative process- to wait out the initial spark, think about the designs. And when the time is right to begin her art, she knows, though she doesn’t say much about how- merely that when the images start to come, she begins to get a better sense of what to make.
“That’s the chef’s secret, right?” she said with a smile.
Two artistic movements that intersected at that time were surrealism and symbolism. While surrealists, in Eve’s words, “were trying to access the strange logic of dreams,” symbolists were concerned with the senses. For symbolists, the senses were the true source of art, and “it was felt that all the senses speak together.”
Klimt, a true symbolist, drew his artistic inspiration from the academic art which he learned in his artistic schooling, the goldsmith work of his immediate family, ancient golden frescoes, and the societal unrest that had spread throughout his lifetime. His work is marked with symbols and strange sensual correlatives ranging from the Egyptian eye to ovals, color schemes associated with life and death.
Eve finds those symbols particularly meaningful.
“I’m fascinated by his particular- what I call his alphabet,” she said in reference to the symbols.
His alphabet was endlessly intricate and endlessly inventive. In some pieces Klimt would pay the trappings of his subjects more attention than the subjects themselves. With his symbols and lines, he forces his audience to pay attention to how the senses work in tandem to produce a fuller picture of reality than what the eye perceived. Klimt’s use of texture and goldsmith work in his paintings proved how artistic such blending of the senses could be, something that Eve appreciates in her work as a jewelry artist.
“Jewelry is one of the arts, and I consider myself an artist. But jewelry is- in art schools, they distinguish between art and craft. The idea being that a piece of art does not have a useful purpose other than to inspire. A craft can be utilized. So craft has been considered less exalted, secondary. Most museums deal in art, not craft. In art circles, craft is also called the decorative arts or the minor arts,” Eve said thoughtfully as she paged through a collection of Klimt’s works.
“It’s an artificial distinction and Klimt doesn’t do that.”
Eve’s newest series showcases how artificial that distinction is. Even while the jewelry pieces are works in progress, they evoke the sensual engagement of a Klimt painting through their use of colors and shapes. However she says not to expect mirror images of the Klimt patterns, or the reproduction of accessories in the paintings.
“One of the things that has made me even more cautious is that Klimt has been appropriated so much. You can get a Klimt bedspread that’s one of the pieces- so I realize people might expect that,” she said drily. “I hope they will understand that it is not an appropriation, or an exact replica.”
One of Eve’s expressed goals is to produce pieces that convey intense sensual effects paralleling Klimt’s work, and a small pair of pearl earrings, simply constructed, brings to mind his use of off-kilter patterns and textures. At first glance, the earrings look identical. But the pearls are not quite the same shape and size, and the difference between them only highlights the similarity in their trimmings, which consist of tiny rubies and wire.
The rubies show up frequently in the sketches and completed pieces for the jewelry series. Interestingly, they are almost never the focal point of the jewelry piece; rather they provide a tiny splash of color in the midst of the triangles and spirals that are reminiscent of Klimt’s use of eyes and ‘trees of life.’
“It means plentitude, it expresses fullness. It’s a very expressive stone. It’s the blood, but it’s also the life,” Eve said when asked about the rubies.
She described Klimt’s paintings in similar terms, speaking fondly of the fullness of Klimt’s paintings and how they cover every inch of the canvas on which they stand. There’s no space unused in a Klimt painting, and Eve hopes to convey some of that richness in her jewelry.
“I like to have a certain depth- to express a message in different ways. So you get one impression, maybe from the lushness of the materials, the textures, the cabochon rubies, the warmth of the gold- and gradually also feel- the other things I’m trying to convey- the riches of experiences and the sensuality- I’d like for the whole to be more than the sum of the parts.
“I’d like people to feel when they see the piece that there’s an underlying intelligence at work- that it isn’t merely an object.”
Please join us on Sunday, September 22, 2013 from 3-5 pm to see some of the stunning images and learn more about the ocean environment that supports us all, and allows us to wear the softly glowing orbs we so love! Get Directions
Oysters are delicate creatures. Situated midway on the ocean food chain, they depend heavily on the microscopic creatures that inhabit the ocean. Without this oceanic food supply they would be unable to produce the lustrous pearls we all admire. Michelle Hoffman, is an award-winning educator who holds advanced degrees in Marine Biology and law and is currently working on a film about this delicate, microscopic, ocean environment.
Call (847) 869-7920 toRSVP, or use the form below to submit online.
Microcosm is a ninety minute, high definition visual journey into the microscopic universe of the ocean. Within the microcosm dwells the foundation of life as we know it; it is the base of the oceanic food web, generator of the air we breathe, toxins that can poison our food supply, potential medicines that will save a loved one, and the fuels that might someday power your home. There is exquisite beauty and biological diversity in the microcosm that has captivated artists throughout the centuries and provided the foundation for coral reefs so large they can be seen from outer space. Through this film Michele hopes to underscore the artistry of the delicate creatures she calls “living snowflakes” and help people understand that these organisms represent the topsoil of the ocean.
About Michelle Hoffman: Ms. Hoffman began her love affair with the ocean at age five with the gift of a shell. At sixteen, she took her first life-altering breath on scuba, and by twenty-three she was a fully hooked PADI instructor. Michele’s articles and photography have appeared in international publications including an underwater photo shoot for Playboy, and she has been recognized in several international photo competitions. Some of Michele’s favorite dive locations include Thailand, Ireland, Hawaii, Australia, Honduras, Bahamas, Puget Sound, and the Floridian caves. Currently Michele is an active contractor with Dive Into Your Imagination and a faculty member of Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, and Roosevelt University where she teaches a range of courses that span traditional ocean sciences to sustainability courses that encompass law, policy, and ethics. At the core of Michele’s teaching philosophy is the belief that there is an inner scientist in everyone. She resides in Chicago with husband Bob and young son Ryan (also avid ocean enthusiasts) who share in her research and travel adventures!
Readers may also wish to attend the Microcosm: An Evening of Art & Inquiry fundraising & education event at Columbia College of Chicago, October 17, 2013 from 6:00 to 9:00pm. More information is available on their website: www.microcosmfilm.com
Pearl Society member and world traveler, Emily Christian reports on her recent visit to the Persian Gulf tracking the history of the world’s most valuable natural pearls.
Ms. Christian is the second Pearl Society member to gain access to the relatively inaccessible Dubai Pearl Museum. The Bank of Dubai, where it resides, which former speaker Heidi Bohn described, has changed ownership. It now features a segregated section for women’s banking. Come and hear the adventures of this intrepid traveler.
RSVP by calling (847) 869-7920 or by e-mail Eve at email@example.com
Did you know that Eve is not the only famous Alfillé in her immediate family?
Her first born, Paul Alfillé, invented something that most of you have heard of, and may even use on a regular basis. In fact, Paul’s creation was the hint to a question on the game show Jeopardy a couple of years ago!
What did he invent, you ask? Why none other than the original computer game Freecell! In fact, as you will see if you click this link to an interview with Paul about the game he invented, he wrote the program in the mid 1970’s while he was a pre-med student, well before there was an internet, on the University of Illinois Plato computer system. What precipitated this? His impatience with shuffling cards, prompting him to find a solution that would allow him to play solitaire without having to shuffle the deck manually!
Paul will be speaking Sunday June 23 from 3-5 pm about his time “Working in Antarctica” accompanied by a slideshow of the images which inspired Eve’s most recent design series release “Voyage to Antarctica.”