Holiday shopping doesn't have to mean braving the horrors of the mall. Indier options abound. Launched this month is Boston's latest addition: Artistry, a South End pop-up featuring handcrafted jewelry by five local designers (plus oil paintings by artist Beth Dacey, who draws inspiration from vintage photos). The designers are staffing Artistry themselves daily through December 24 (hear that, procrastinators?), so curious browsers can learn about pieces straight from the source. Each designer has a unique aesthetic; here's a small sample of their creations.
A.Born in Japan and now based in Cambridge, Chihiro Makio of 314 Studio often draws on origami techniques to create her delicate floral designs, using sterling silver in place of paper — no easy feat. Each sphere in this "Continuous Flora" bracelet ($870) began as 12 silver triangles, which Makio folded and soldered to form a rosette. She pulled off that two-tone effect by oxidizing some triangles and coating others with rhodium.
B.In her Somerville studio, Laura Jaklitsch makes mini sculptures that would look great atop your coffee table — and even better around your finger, wrist, or neck. Think earrings made of cascading silver cones or a ring that ends in two huge, bright-green polyurethane bulbs. Juxtaposing unusual materials in her ultra-modern designs, she combines rubber and sea-green chrysoprase for a necklace, for instance, and wood, urethane, and sterling silver for this colorful ring ($350).
C."Delicately industrial" is how Jennifer Chin describes her Lush Metals line. From her Fort Point Channel studio, she transforms sterling-silver tubing and wire into geometric designs — like this "Cascade" necklace ($950) — that bring to mind honeycombs and double helixes, molecules and machine components. Feeling crafty yourself? Check out her book Hot Connections Jewelry, a step-by-step guide to soldering techniques.
D."My biggest muses right now are deer antlers and horsehair," says Lauren Passenti, a designer who revels in the tension between the softness of organic material and the hard edge of metal. Her jewelry looks like it was culled from the closet of a very stylish mystic — shells, stones, and bones intermingle with crystals, pearls, and even cement. This "Under the Forest Floor" necklace ($295) is made of brass and deer antlers, which she gets from "a sculptor/hoarder/antique seller," one of her neighbors at her Somerville studio.
E.In her South End studio, Sophie Hughes creates sculptural jewelry with a hammer and anvil, a process-oriented approach that yields cool, contemporary, totally wearable designs, like these "Iso" earrings ($1221) in 18K recycled gold. Recently seen on fashion-week runways in NYC and Boston, her pieces can interact with the body in unexpected ways — picture a lariat that moves freely through a hollow U pendant and can be worn in multiple configurations.
ARTISTRY :: 53 DARTMOUTH ST, BOSTON :: 617.419.0828 OR ARTISTRY-BOSTON.COM