Monday, January 18, 2010

PETRA CLASS

Erected during the 10th century as a small fortress, in subsequent years, under the direction of dukes and counts Germany's Stuttgart Old Castle developed into an aggregate of buildings with the castle at the compound's center.

Germany is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Petra Class.

After nine months of viewing different styles of jewelry my takeaway is jewelry is so much more than decoration.

It is history and culture all molded from gemstones and metals.  It can serve as an interpretation for as well as evoke emotion.  It is nature as well as reflects nature and it can even reflect a state of mind.

I no longer perceive jewelry in the same way; and like all of the designers featured here, Class has played a big role in changing my perception.

A former Art History and Philosophy major, Class's interest in rendering objects from a variety of materials led her to two creative outlets. She first trained as a metalsmith at Neugablonz' University of Applied Sciences in Jewelry, while also learning to create tableware items in the workshop of Axel Gobbesso.

After several years of making tableware, she moved to the United States choosing to explore jewelry making. With a canvas of glowing 22-karat gold, Class selects from a palette of semi-precious and precious gemstones creating items that are beautifully organic.

Like fellow designer Todd Reed (USA), Class implements raw diamonds into her pieces as well as other stones still in their crystal form. Her overall designs highlight rudimentary, unrefined structures--many of which remind me of simple pictographs--and gorgeous color.

"I am endlessly fascinated with gemstones, precious or not," she says, "I am fascinated by the wealth of different reds found in nature, by the sea of blues: the opaqueness of lapis, the transparency, and subtlety of a lightly lilac-colored sapphire. One can almost paint with these stones."

The organic shapes of the jewelry items are like small sculptures, primeval and tribal; perfectly imperfect like a magnificent landscape looking as though they took thousands of years to evolve.

"I am trying to develop my own language; hoping to communicate my own sensibilities blending with a contemporary aesthetic through the rhythmical arrangements of several elements.  By repeating a similar pattern of forms or colors, and the unexpected contrasts of differently textured materials."

Class' unique jewelry has been exhibited in Germany, and the United States. Her work has garnered awards including the Award of Excellence in Baltimore and California's American Craft Council shows, and the Best First Time Exhibitor Award from the American Craft Expo.
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Photo 1 (top right): 22-Karat Gold Brooch from Blues Collections featuring, among others, Aquamarine
Photo 2 (bottom left): 22-Karat Gold and Diamond Rings from Diamonds Collections
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