Naturally Inspired to Make Jewelry
By Denae Dietlein
When I began making jewelry the first truly original pieces that developed from my sketches revealed to me where my purest inspiration came from. Until then, my sketchbook was mostly an incoherent and inconsistent assortment of underdeveloped ideas that I had already lost interest in, and which rarely captured my personal style. Like many new makers I gave in to the temptation to begin with what was on trend; it's difficult not to, as the popularity offers both the enticement of salability and there are existing examples everywhere that "inspire." However I felt that my work was stunted. I didn't put my full passion into it because I knew from the outset that it was a false sense of inspiration. I liked what I was seeing on trend, but the feelings that drove me to create similar pieces were limited to a shallower, aesthetic level. It took many late-night sketchbook sessions, some Google image searches, and a few episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with a wine glass in hand before I had a burgeoning collection of passion-driven, inspired new designs. The deeper, purer inspiration? Nature, of course, but in its most basic but incredibly complex form—the cellular level.
I have enjoyed the geometric trend in jewelry that really gained momentum in the past couple of years, and I definitely appreciate clean, simple lines, which you'll see with some of my classic collection, but I feel that the unexpected is so much more interesting. Plant cells and wings are designs in nature that follow their own pattern and rules and which take form in unexpected ways—the organic shapes that are found in nature are entrancing to me. There's something about the asymmetry in the wing pendant, the first Signature Collection piece I created and the one I wear most often, that really draws people in, but—like the remarkable designs found in nature—it is still accessible. To me it's important that a person can feel like they are making a unique, artistic statement by wearing these pieces but also that it isn't so out of the ordinary as to be exclusively high fashion or experimental. I've seen many well-made, creative jewelry pieces that are phenomenal and striking in photos but which I know that I would never wear. The average person wants to show off their personal style and taste in their accessory selection, and I do my best to support that and not limit my creations to things only for the very bold. In this collection I aspire to create unique and extraordinary jewelry that allows the wearer to make a style statement while still complementing their everyday wardrobe.
Building on my newfound cellular and organic inspiration, I am in the process of bringing these nature-designed pieces to life as a complete Signature Collection for my jewelry metalsmithing shop Mayweather Goods. This is my first official collection and the experience has taught me a lot already. As is typical of significant undertakings, the journey itself has been worth the while, and I am excited to see where this experiment in inspiration takes me and my fledgling brand.
Materials in collection: brass, bronze, copper, and silver.