Saturday, June 26, 2010

KATE CUSACK

Today we visit Playland Amusement Park, located in Rye, New York; the only government-owned-and-operated amusement park.

Officially opened 82 years ago, the Grand Carousel is among many iconic rides featured in the park. New York is also home to featured jewelry designer Kate Cusack.

I reference in my blog profile that jewelry designers look at the world in a different way than the rest of us.

Items like bicycle inner tubes, wristwatch hands, eggs, syringe needles, and stationery are just some of the components of incredible jewelry fashioned by Thea Tolsma (Netherlands), Kiwon Wang (Korea), and Sergey Jivetin (Russia).

Cusack is another designer to include on this list constructing equally distinctive pieces using zippers. "Zippers are exciting because of their association with fashion and costume design.

Their form is appealing to me because of how the metal teeth sparkle, and how the linear construction potential is endless. A zipper is essentially a line, and a line can be shaped into anything."

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts received from the Maryland Institute College, and a Masters of Fine Arts received from the Yale School of Drama, Cusack divides her talents through several mediums.

She cultivates unusual wearable sculptures or costumes using everything from kitchen sponges to bubble wrap.  While doing freelance, window dressing work for Tiffany & Co.--where she created "five Marie-Antoinette-style wigs made entirely of plastic wrap"--she made her first zipper item, the Zipper Pin.

"I made my first Zipper Pin in 2002. I was originally inspired by the Chanel flower as well as the thrifty, resourceful decoration fashion from the 1940s," Cusack recalls. "I made a Zipper Pin for myself and a second one as a thank you gift for the woman who hired me at Tiffany.

In October 2003, I entered Zipper Pins in an exhibition at the Felissimo Design House, and they were accepted. They were later sold at the gift shop.

In about two years, the people who had placed orders for the Zipper Pins started requesting necklaces. In 2006, I made my first collection of Zipper Necklaces, and two years after that I launched my Zipper Bracelets."

Here again, the jewelry possesses a one-of-a-kind beauty that is part whimsy and part edgy modernism. The bracelets in particular evoke feature films like The Matrix, and Mad Max.

The necklaces vary with some resembling the flowing lines present in modern, abstract art while others look like the coiling tentacles and suction mechanisms of an octopus.

It is without a doubt visually intriguing, stylish, artistic, and fun. "As a jewelry designer, I don't set out to make a necklace with beads or sterling silver but instead, I manipulate the zipper into shapes that are like beads or sterling silver, and I make a comparison between sterling silver and the base metals used in zippers.

For this reason, I think my jewelry is "statement jewelry." As far as the world of wearable art is concerned, it is simply art jewelry. It is a mini-sculpture for the body, and the body becomes a living gallery."


In 2009, the designer collaborated with Laotian-American fashion guru Nary Manivong for his Autumn/Winter collection at Fashion Week.

Women's Wear Daily, InStyle, Marie Claire, and Glamour are a few of the publications that have featured Cusack's imaginative jewelry in their pages.
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Photo 1 (top right): Zipper Pin
Photo 2 (center): Zipper Necklace

Photo 3 (bottom left): Zipper Bracelet
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