Elizabeth Garvin has been on my radar for a couple of years. She is an amazing artist who creates incredible jewelry. Recently I had coffee with Elizabeth and she told me her story. She grew up in a house that was on the edge of a cliff, next to an ocean - the house shook when big storms hit and her family watched the weather closely to prepare for those big storms. Much of her inspiration - which she gets into further below - comes from weather patterns. Elizabeth is also so passionate about the craft of jewelry-making, which is always exciting to hear. More about Elizabeth below!
I think when I was 5 or 6. I found a small bead loom in the basement of our house and messed around with it till I figured out how to make patterns and get the piece to stay together. In middle school I had a woodworking class and somehow ended up making an aluminum cuff bracelet with the equipment. My friends all wanted one, so it went into production. In art school, sometimes I would bring in a beading project to help me get through a 3-hour critique. It was always just something I did for fun. Then I took a metalworking class at Parsons in my junior year and became completely obsessed with making jewelry with metals. I have walked into a jewelry studio nearly everyday since.
I grew up in a creative family. My sisters and I were encouraged to explore the arts, and for some reason I found myself mostly trying performing arts like dance and music more than drawing and painting. Later in art school I did all the core work of drawing, painting, sculpture, and color theory so I do have a solid foundation of fine art instruction, but I also worked with photography and film while also continuing to dance. So now years later when I begin to approach a new idea, material or process, I have a lot of experiences to draw from and interact with. Sometimes I sketch on a napkin or a used envelope. Sometimes I clear a space and a block of time and sit with my sketchbook and pencils, maybe I’ll also have a group of selected stones to focus on. Sometimes I draft an idea in Illustrator. Sometimes I go straight to metal.
I’ve just started work on a whole new collection that has been bouncing around in my brain for several months [another process; brain bouncing]. For this particular collection, which is intensive in mixed metals and patterning, figuring out the tech has to be the starting point. This stage can take a week or a year, and often involves research and hopefully, buying a new tool. I love tools.
The simple answer is natural geometry. What that means to me is the forms, shapes, and relationships that give nature it’s architecture, it’s systems and it’s energy. I’m 25 years in on this inspirational thread and still have so much ground to cover.
One of my current fascinations is the shapes and structures of crystal formations, and this comes out in the collections of Gem Links, Facets and Ice. Each one has a unique way of exploring the beauty of crystals structures. Gem links is open work with diamond accents, like graphic line drawings of asymmetrical, angular forms, very 2 dimensional. Facets is a collection of pieces with an unusually faceted stone as it’s focal point and is very volumetric. Ice uses white diamond baguettes like pencil strokes illustrating various ways that ice crystals form. Did I mention that I love earth science?
Other than jewelry: Travel, cook, play games with family and friends, observe weather, either first hand or online. And go to restaurants. I absolutely love the art and culture of contemporary cuisine.
Favorite artists and designers: Jonathan Prince, Richard Serra, Agnes Martin, Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, George Nelson, Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid.
Currently listening to: I used to have an answer for this at any given moment. I don’t these days. Either I am mentally overwhelmed by the vast amount of amazing music available, or I’m just not in that place where a piece of music can take possession of my heart. It’s a good thing either way I think.
See more designs by Elizabeth Garvin here.