Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Home to seventeen lakes and geothermal areas, the city of Rotorua, located in New Zealand, has been a popular tourist attention since the 19th century.

Due to the city's position along a volcanic crater, the mud pools and hot springs receive large amounts of visits from those wishing to partake in the area's therapeutic gifts. New Zealand is also home to featured jewelry designer Brian Adam.

Adam loves the playful aspect of jewelry making. By playful he means the explorative factor of learning the building mechanisms of any given object.

About forty years ago, his capacity and patience for shaping random materials into a durable form is what led the designer to pursue jewelry making.

"There were no jewelry schools in New Zealand at the time I started learning how to make jewelry. In fact, I wasn't interested in making jewelry prior to that time," he recalls.

"I began my education at the School of Design at Wellington Polytechnic in New Zealand. I studied graphics and textiles. I got interested in jewelry when I pulled apart my motorbike to fix it.

Tinkering around with my motorbike, I discovered that I had the ability to take something intricate apart, and methodically put it back together. It was an epiphanic moment. Making jewelry is a methodical process."

By 1979, Adam met jewelry maker, Ruth Baird, whom he married, learning from and working with her in her Auckland-based studio.

In contrast to Baird's ultra feminine and beautifully woven lattice patterns of crocheted silver wires, Adam's aesthetic is masculine and earthy. The essence of his design approach is organic, rustic, and pure with paua, turret, cockle, and pipi shells infusing a primal energy.

However, the artist gives a nod to his wife's niobium and titanium work with forms highlighting anodized, "tiger-skin surfaces."

"My methods of designing are melting, forging, alloying, folding, chasing, grinding, sawing, brazing, and riveting.

My motivation to create comes from the delight I get playing with materials and processes. I use soft-tech, and low-tech ways to shape materials into jewelry that is durable and comfortable to wear."
Photo 1 (top right): Niobium Beetlewing Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Paua Shell Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Jade Knife Pendant
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