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Monday, March 3, 2008

Susan Chin

Philomena Earrings. Ebony, 22k and 18k yellow gold, australian boulder opals. 2.5" x .33 x. 33".

The first time I came across Susan Chin's idiosyncratic jewelry it seemed reminiscent of cartoon motifs. This is hardly a bad thing; I was instantly attracted. As I explored more of her style I realized there is nothing simple about it. To the contrary, it is extremely complex. It just looks simple. Doodles in bone and ebony, precious stones and pearls, asymmetrical whimsy in 18 karat gold.

Opal & Ebony Podform Earrings by Susan Chin.

Wearable objects formed from unusual and refined materials: that is one of the very profound features that sets her pieces apart from those of other artists.

Starry Stick Brooch. Ebony embedded with 18k and 22k yellow gold, semi-precious stones. 4"x .5" x .5".

Chunky Bracelet.

Susan Chin is a fine metalsmith, craftswoman and jeweler. She is above all an artist. Although they are fairly abstract, one finds a familiarity in her pieces. Above is a Chunky Bracelet that looks as though it was made from found objects at the seashore. Below is a gorgeous brooch suggesting a doughnut with sprinkles.

Crusted Circle Brooch

Yet another bracelet, this one evocative of urchins and seed pods:

Ebony Pods Bracelet.

Her inspiration:
"My ideas or inspirations derive from the collective experiences and encounters of my walking and imaginative life. I love the forms of the natural world… the clever seed pods, the designs of the human body, floppy microorganisms. A brooch or a ring emerges from my stash of materials and is coaxed and teased into physical form until it is a thing which can be cherished. I see most of my pieces as installments in an ongoing conversation that I started many pieces and many years ago."
Look at the Hoary Heart Brooch - its soft look is deceiving, as it's formed from metal, but it doesn't stop one from wanting to reach out and touch it.

Hoary Heart Brooch.

And it reminds me of hedgehogs.

As I said, her work is far from simple. Susan is a pensive and intelligent person, calm and serious, and yet her work reflects a wonderful sense of humor as well as a canny grasp of natural beauty and the ability and need to express it.
"My work is highly personal wearable sculpture that is in conversation with
my emotional and preconscious self. I grapple, hammer and negotiate to
make the ideas and images, the bone, the metal, the wood, the stones, and
whatever other shiny objects join the fray, to construct a wearable totem or
body decoration. It¹s a compelling activity that¹s hard to match."

Bone & 18K Gold Brooch.

The bone and gold brooch above reminds me of a euglena,

only it's much prettier, of course.

Ebony Rocks Bracelet. Ebony, 22k and 18k yellow golds, australian boulder opals and pearls. 8" x 1" x .5"

Her work is highly personal - it is unique and charismatic. (Seriously, I want to touch it.) I love the Cassandra Necklace - charms and asterisks, pearls and opals, gold and ebony and bone. The black and white are alternated with the blues and golds and purples, and I would wear it every day if I owned it.

Cassandra Necklace

You can find a large portion of Susan Chin's resumé here. To find out more about her and her unique vision, visit her web site here. And if you'd like to contact her about exhibiting her work (and see her upcoming shows), buying her pieces or telling her how amazing her talent is, click here.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Clare & The Reasons

My friend, Paul Dalen of Reverse-Thread, wrote on his happy blog about this band. That's when I knew I had to check out Clare & The Reasons, because Paulie's got great taste. He's one of those lucky people in NYC who can just walk to the nearest cool venue and listen to great music. Fortunately, he shares his discoveries with me.
Clare Muldaur

Clare Muldaur is the daughter of Geoff Muldaur (amazing singer and founding member of the Paul Butterfield Better Days blues band), half sister of Jenni Muldaur (daughter of Maria Muldaur, whose big hit back in the 70s was "Midnight at the Oasis," although I love most of her music) and niece of Diana Muldaur, who played Dr. Pulaski in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

All of that said, she's obviously her own woman and stands without her famous relatives, on her own, exciting and novel in her talents. You won't hear a band with this unique sound anywhere except a C&TR show.

Go to her MySpace page here and listen to her music - I highly recommend "Pluto," "Rodi" and "Cook for You."

They will be playing at South By Southwest in Austin this month, so you can catch them there, or you can buy the new CD, "The Movie" on iTunes, at your local record store or on Amazon.com. Do it. I did. Be cool like me.