Wanna eat dinner 500 feet about the ground? You are in for a real treat as we visit Seattle's Space Needle. Built over 40 years ago, it stands 605 feet tall, and a rotating restaurant overlooking the city is just 20 feet shy of the Observation Deck. Washington State is also the home of featured jewelry designer Gina Pankowski.
Pankowski, a skilled metalworker and solderer, creates jewelry that easily captures the imagination of anyone observing it.
The pieces clearly express her appreciation for the unconventional with truly awe-inspiring forms. "I explore pattern by sketching combinations of shapes and how they will work together," she says. "I explore line and repetition as a way to build three-dimensional, moving art."
Once a student of designer Mary Lee Hu, while studying jewelry and metalsmithing at Seattle's University of Washington, Pankowski's orbital and somewhat skeletal pieces are influenced by Hu's modernist jewelry.
The jewelry features thin, overlapping metal lines that alternately resemble a beautiful link of small-scale birdcages, as well as single cages suspended from a gold chain. In other designs, the long twisting, intertwined curves resemble wreaths of barbed gold and silver wire. In many items she implements moving, kinetic parts adding more surprise and intrigue.
The weighty, substantial look of her necklaces and bracelets are beautifully offset with delicate accents of Tahitian pearls, amethyst, or clear, art glass. Some pendants are more understated in construction but still feature sweeping gold or silver lines that curve back into the larger design to suspend a single gemstone resembling elegant, four-legged arachnids.
The artistry and detail are a marvel, and Pankowski enjoys the chance for observers to explore the jewelry's unique intricacies. "I don't want to explain what things are or to have my work to contain specific meaning," she acknowledges.
"I'm really trying to make beautiful objects and I enjoy it if someone looks at my work and it reminds them of more than one thing."
Earlier this year, the World Gold Council displayed Pankowski's jewelry at its booth during JCK's Las Vegas tradeshow.
Her phenomenal jewelry is featured in numerous exhibitions across the United States, including the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York, the Velvet da Vinci Gallery in California, and the Shaw Gallery in Maine.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Orbit Ring with Pearls
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold Earrings with Pearl Accents