Saturday, October 2, 2010


At 103-years old the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California is one of the state’s oldest remaining amusement parks.

With rides like the Hurricane roller coaster, and Haunted House attraction, it still entices tourists and locals. California is also home to featured jewelry designer Molly McGrath.

McGrath’s streamlined yet visually differentiated modern jewelry brings together innovative design techniques with eco-friendly materials.

Enlisting her training as an architect McGrath first creates sketches that are then drafted in CAD (Computer Aided Design).  She then implements a laser cutter machine to produce samples.

Of utmost importance to the designer is producing sustainable jewelry constructed with “responsibly farmed birch, bamboo, felt and wool salvaged from surplus army clothing, and suede reclaimed from second-hand jackets and warehouse surplus.”

Each of her collections--that are primarily composed of earrings and pendant necklaces--adhere to timeless and classic geometric outlines; at the same time the varied, intricate surface details are inspired by botanicals, textiles, and metallics.

The subtle visuals of dark bamboo contrast against light bamboo, or the color of sea foam felt or navy blue suede peeking out from behind cut-out patterns of wood veneer cattails, rosehips or vines is captivating.

However, her Geometrics Collection introduces more abstract, complex renderings of spinning vortexes, webs, open facets, meshed spirals, as well as the optical illusion imagery of items like her Extrude Earrings.

In my opinion, the eco-friendly designer jewelry is a particularly unique presentation of wood.

Where the majority of wood carved jewelry I have seen is more earthy and rustic in bold, chunky designs McGrath puts a distinctive, ultra-modern take on it with her material selections, design patterns, and creation process.
Photo 1 (top right): Charcoal and Natural Birch Figure Ground Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Gold and Gunmetal Stained Birch Nest 2 Pendant Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Birch Veneer and Black Suede Polygon 2 Earrings
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