Pushing the Boundaries

Pushing the Boundaries
by Jackie Adamany

Courtesy of Handmade Business

Artists Create Extraordinary Designs With Extraordinary Success

Jerry Moran,
Criffin Designs

Jerry Moran calls himself an ordinary guy, a former Marine who's spent his career building, refurbishing, and repurposing both commercial and military aircraft. His jewelry line, however, is no ordinary jewelry collection. As Moran explains, ''It was after a visit to the Tucson, Ariz., aircraft graveyard that I started to think outside the box. I've always been able to manipulate aircraft aluminum to whatever specifications I needed. Could I create something much more finite? Could I take something that no longer had purpose and give it a new history?'' From that simple Tucson visit, his jewelry line, Criffin Designs, was born.

Earrings Made from Aircraft Aluminum by Jerry Moran of Criffin Designs In his studio, located in the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Moran architecturally designs and handcrafts each jewelry piece using both new and reclaimed aircraft materials. He borrows from history, giving each style a name after World War II and Korean War aircraft nose art.

Moran knows that Tucson visit was the beginning of a new career path. ''That trip gave me quite a bit of food for thought. I started puttering around with bits of aircraft aluminum found in the scrap metal bin. My very first jewelry piece was a pair of earrings for my wife Mary, embellished with aircraft-grade hardware. Then her girlfriends saw the earrings and wanted me to make pairs for them! Shortly thereafter while out shopping, a gallery saw Mary wearing what has become known as the Miss Behavin' Earrings and the next thing you know, I'm selling jewelry!''

Jordan Graves,
Repeat Offfender

Jordan Graves graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with her BFA in motion media design, a fusion of graphic design and animation. Her jewelry line, creatively named Repeat Offfender, became the product of her exploration to turn her digital skills into something tangible outside of the computer screen. Graves begins the design process in 3-D software, with each piece eventually 3-D printed in nylon or steel. She utilizes Shapeways in New York City for their process called selective laser sintering, which bonds nylon or steel powder in fine layers. Each piece is created individually, never mass-produced, with Graves hand-dyeing each printed piece of jewelry in a variety of colors.

''I had been experimenting with textiles, [and was] especially interested in digital printing, but when I learned more about 3-D printing, it instantly became my primary focus. I actually wanted to 3-D print before I knew what I was going to design! Jewelry was a fun, new challenge, and 3-D printing is a quick way for me to start creating high-quality work. And the technology was now affordable enough to offer it at accessible prices.''
3D Printed Earrings by Jordan Graves of Repeat Offfender

Graves' aesthetic is organic and geometric, and digital 3-D printing offers her a canvas on which she can explore a sense of motion. ''Because of my background in time-based media, my static work is still strongly rooted with a sense of motion, with motifs now transitioning over space rather than over time.''

Tamara Kelly,
Tamara Kelly Designs

Tamara Kelly was first drawn to jewelry-making in college after studying with Fay Rooke, a master enamelist. Kelly explains, ''She was so excited and passionate about her art and it seemed that was the way to go--be the controller of my destiny, work hard, do what I love, create, and be happy.'' Her most recent line, Pebbles on the Beach, was first conceived after her father passed away. ''He and I loved fishing and going for walks on the beach. After the sudden loss, it was a good way to process his passing. I spent many days on the beach looking at the water and sketching my ideas--it made me feel at peace.''

Sculptural Jewelry by Tamara Kelly of Tamara Kelly Designs Kelly designs and creates sculptural jewelry influenced by nature's lines and textures using sterling silver, copper, bronze, gold, and semiprecious stones. She employs a variety of tools to help her, including a rolling mill, forming stump, torch, and so much more to create every item individually. ''With each piece, especially those in a series, I try to expand on the concept, push it further, and explore the shape and its relationship to others in my work, which is never static and always evolving.''

Pebbles on the Beach pieces start with a flat sheet of sterling silver metal, then wire, multicolored metals, and stones are added--all hand-fabricated by Kelly. The patterns are drawn out on the metal and the pebbles are cut, dabbed, and soldered individually, incorporating bezels or pearl platforms for further texture and interest.

Hope Meadows,
Minds Eye Design

Hope Meadows started to design greeting cards while living in Toulouse, France, in 2002. ''I had owned my own stationery and gift stores in the '80s and '90s. I saw a need for greeting cards written in English for the expatriate community in France and started designing cards and selling them to local stores in Toulouse and Paris. I moved back to the U.S. in 2005 and that is when the business really started to grow. I have been designing ever since.''

Meadows is the designer for both Minds Eye Design and Fly Paper Products collections. Her company licenses the designs of the LadyBirdLand collection by Allison Strine, allowing Strine to now focus 100% of her time on designing and making art. Strine's soul-searching artwork has been sold to thousands of spirited women worldwide.

Minds Eye Design works out of a 1,000-square-foot office space in Ann Arbor, Mich., and all products are printed and packaged in-house by a small team of women. Meadows explains, ''When I began, I was a single mother to a small child; my company concept was to have child-friendly hours and flexible schedules so other moms could work easily and not stress when their child is sick or there is a school event they want to attend.''
Art Print by Allison Strine of Minds Eye Design

Kathy Zimmerman,
Kathy Zimmerman Photography

Pendant Made by Kathy Zimmerman with Photo from Kathy Zimmerman Photography Kathy Zimmerman has two main desires in life, to travel and to photograph. She explains, ''I am very happy doing one or the other. I'm in heaven when I'm doing them together. I love stepping foot in an unknown place, or perhaps a known place with a new perspective, and opening myself up to its dynamics, culture, and people, capturing it all in photographs. I enjoy wandering around overlooked streets and finding little curiosities as much as photographing iconic landmarks.''

Zimmerman became interested in the art of photography during her high school years and developed her talents while at the University of Arizona. With encouragement from family and friends, she took the leap, establishing her photography business in 2009. Then, by chance, her jewelry collection began. ''As I was immersing myself in the art shows, I heard from a few people that they loved my photography, but ran out of wall space for anything new. That is when I developed the idea to combine my photography with jewelry. We may run out of room on our walls for art, but there's always room on ourselves for jewelry!''

It's been three years now since her first wearable pendant. Today Zimmerman displays her photography in .999 silver-plated earrings and pendants, leather cuffs, bracelets, and key chains. She adds, ''Whenever I travel, I always add an image or two to the collection.''