Today we visit Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan, New York. Named for former Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins, the park's tumultuous and dramatic reputation has settled down in recent years.
Today the park's family-friendly 10.5 acres houses handball and basketball courts, playgrounds, and outdoor chess tables. New York is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer Madelaine Mayer.
Mayer's design approach is not only concerned with the careful selection of materials but also the creation of jewelry specific to each woman.
"Jewelry should perfectly suit the woman wearing it. It should be just the right length, just the right stones, and just the right composition for each individual," she explains.
Mayer's purposefulness and forethought even resonates in the name selections chosen for her custom-made pieces. The monikers of Greek deities, like Clio and Aeolus, add a wonderful touch of fantasy and spiritual symbolism.
Jewelry has been a longtime fascination for Mayer, "I have always made and loved jewelry ever since I was a little girl," she says. Over the years, however, Mayer periodically experimented with different materials and jewelry styles, but eventually she stopped making jewelry.
She attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where she received a Masters Degree studying her other passion, architecture. She subsequently landed a position with the firm Mitchell Giurgola Architects in New York.
Though not as prevalent, her jewelry-making inclinations never faded and in 2000, she studied jewelry design at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. Eight years later, while preparing for a friend's wedding, she had an epiphany.
"I made an endless rope of pearls to wear to a friend's wedding," she recalls. "I was so busy studying architecture I hadn't made any jewelry in several years, and I had forgotten how much I loved the art of making jewelry. I started getting daily compliments on that necklace and that was it; MRMR Designs was born."
Mayer's passion for architecture could not be expelled from her. Her ethereal, exquisite designs are influenced by ideologies of form and structure.
"I like clean lines, balanced forms, and absolute durability. If a piece can't stand up to my daily abuse and scrutiny, it doesn't make it in the line. One of the best compliments paid me was by a colleague who said that my jewelry pieces look like an architect designed them."
Mayer primarily works with sterling silver and an incredible array of semi-precious gemstones that range from the pale yellows of citrine to the milky violet hues of amethyst.
Mayer's extensive knowledge of gemstones highly affects her jewelry making philosophy. "There are stones, like the green amethyst, which most women have not seen, and they are so delicate and lovely," she enthuses.
"There are so many more amazing shapes, colors, and types of pearls out there. I think beautiful, high quality, and unique pieces should be accessible to all women."
On Monday, September 21, 2009, Mayer will display her beautiful trinkets at the Fall 2009 Trunk Show of New York's Fashion Week.
She also participated in the 3rd Annual Architects by Day, Jewelry Designers by Night jewelry show.
Photo 1 (top right): Leda Earrings with Blue Quartz Briolettes
Photo 2 (center): Hand Woven Triple Sterling Silver Anteros Bracelet with Citrine Cabochons
Photo 3 (bottom left): Estarte Necklace with Citrine Briolettes on Sterling Silver Chain