Just In: Pamela Love Spring Collection

Pamela Love’s spring collection has arrived! Love’s amazing jewelry is regularly featured in magazines like Vogue and Elle. Her unique and playful designs imply rock-and-roll and Southwestern influences and have been perfectly executed and imbued with just the right amount of edge. Currently in stock are necklaces ideal for layering, statement rings and dramatic cuffs. Her work is amazing – stop by and check it out!

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Featured: Eric Saeter

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Seattle Magazine featured Hitchcock Madrona artist Eric Saeter in their online article, “Seattle’s Stunning Modern Jewelry Movement”! (The author also listed Hitchcock Madrona as a place to find jewelry made by local designers.)

A Seattle-based artist, Saeter started his line Jewelry by Eric Saeter in 2008. His designs are made entirely out of either refined gold or sterling silver, and all his pieces have an organic feel to them that speaks to Eric’s interest in the surreal and in nature. Instantly recognizable, Eric’s work testifies to his unique point of view and place in the fashion world.

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Obsession: Gemstone Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is a stone that has been prized by many cultures for thousands of years. Sites where lapis has been mined are as far ranging as Siberia, Afghanistan, the Andes, and Colorado and California in the U.S. Lapis, a semi-precious stone, has long been valued for its rich blue color and there is evidence that it was traded as long ago as the third millennium B.C.E. by cultures like the Indus Valley civilization in ancient India. The ancient Egyptians were especially fond of lapis lazuli and incorporated it into their jewelry (like their famous scarab pendants) and into their religious and ceremonial objects. Cleopatra used a powdered form of lapis lazuli as eye shadow. Later, painters regularly used it when they needed to feature a rich blue color in their paintings. You can still see lapis in its powdered form in art works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; for many centuries, it was regularly used as the color of the Madonna’s brilliantly blue robe.

Lapis lazuli still has a following today. Pamela Love and Maria Carter use it to maximum affect in their jewelry designs. At Hitchcock Madrona, we decided to showcase some of our favorite lapis lazuli pieces currently in stock. Lapis lazuli often has traces of pyrite (commonly known as “fool’s gold”) in it, and many of our favorite lapis pieces have a shimmering quality as a result.

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Outfit of the Day: I’ve got Sunshine (Pants) on a Cloudy Day

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I am trying to inspire the sunshine with my clothing choices. But, it is still pretty gloomy (but, yeah, no snow!) in Seattle. Maybe that is why I look like I am angry in this photo?

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Faceted onyx and gold plated sterling drop earrings by Hitchcock Madrona.

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Two medallion necklaces by Shannon Koszyk (shortest and longest). Pyrite and labradorite layering necklaces by Hitchcock Madrona. Onyx and sterling silver ring by Crystal Hartman.

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Sterling silver cuff by Crystal Hartman. Gold plated sterling “oyster” ring by Eric Saeter.

XOXO

Erica


Just In: Unearthen

We recently received a new shipment of jewelry from Unearthen. One of the most distinctive lines we carry here at Hitchcock Madrona, Unearthen was founded by Gia Bahm. She creates necklaces, rings, and bracelets that prominently feature crystals. Each of the crystals she chooses for her designs have specific properties that are meant to promote certain health benefits for their wearers. Additionally, it is Bahm’s intent when designing that the crystal she uses should appeal uniquely to its wearer, and that there should be an inherent property in the crystal which attracts its eventual owner. The pieces we currently have in stock are all quartz crystal, which is purported to have general healing properties and is thought to be a powerful stone.

These pieces are edgy, playful, and fun! The crystals are incorporated into designs that showcase their natural, organic shapes to the fullest. While they can be worn alone as statement pieces, Unearthen designs can be easily layered and many of necklaces would work really well as  “second skin jewelry” to be worn every day.

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Artist Profile: Crystal Hartman

We asked designer Crystal Hartman to answer our artist questionnaire. She is one of the most recent designers to join Hitchcock Madrona and she recently created a line of sterling silver jewelry exclusively for us! Crystal makes of all of her jewelry by hand in Durango, Colorado, her home town. The craftsmanship of her work is extraordinary, and her designs are elegant and timeless. Read all about her design philosophy below:

How would you describe your line’s aesthetic?

Sculptural…solid designs heavy in detail referencing botanical illustration and the movement of water, grass and air.

When you design your jewelry, is there any particular woman whom you design for?  

I love the idea of all women wearing my jewelry, but I certainly design for the strong. I love a woman with “feist” in her eyes. The designs are heavy silver with stones set in them to stay; they will withstand being worn on stage, round the world, and to a very fine dinner.

What is your favorite way to style your pieces?

Layers…I like the rings with stones oddly stacked over bands. I like to see the bracelets layered with strands of navy or deep red glass beads, leather or lace tied round the wrist to remember love and texture. I like classic roses; feathers, driftwood and fabrics that emphasize beauty in the line work but remind us a bit of the physical strength of the jewelry in a subtly psychological way.

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A sampling of some of Crystal’s pieces that we have in stock. How beautiful are these?!

Where do you find inspiration for your collections?  

Music, film, travel and contemporary art and history. This line [at Hitchcock] was influenced by the giant, red rock walls and purple grama bursting between [them] at Indian Creek and the water rippling beneath it [in] Utah, [and] by the blue sky breaking to grey in late October [in] Seattle. I am egged on by E.E. Cummings, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Andre Breton, Caravaggio and Woody Allen, by Jonah Skurky-Thomas, Rebecca Tischler, Rachel Mindel, The Panoply, and sound… each album that catches the light in my ears just right at any moment…

On these pieces for Hitchcock Madrona: Cole Porter, Hurray for the Riff Raff, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, LCD Soundsystem, Billie Holiday, The Black Keys, Louis XIV and Ibrahim Ferrer played great inspiration.

What do you particularly love about designing jewelry?  

The tradition, process and accessibility of it. I love to pour beauty into an object that will be worn on someone’s hand or heart to remember a time or display a feeling [and] into an object that is at once contemporary art and functional adornment.

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Crystal at work!

What aspect of the design process do you find most challenging?

I used to be daunted by the enormity of the industry, of all of the different techniques and styles and the desire to try them all out. As I’ve developed a conversation with the materials that fear has faded into excitement… most challenging now is the time it takes to see a process through. With so many possibilities, it is easy to dream up a thousand designs. Choosing the freshest ones and introducing them to the design world takes perseverance.

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One of the wax molds Crystal uses to create her jewelry – she employs a technique known as the “lost wax process”.

What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of being a jewelry designer?  

Letters from lovers. And knowing that the pieces I design will help define an individual. A long time ago, I heard a story about modern man; the narrator [of the story] said that what distinguished him [modern man] was when he hung the first bead round his neck – adornment as an expression of individuality. I am honored to design pieces that are truly unique, where we see and feel my hand in them and no one will have another that is the same.

What clothing or jewelry designers do you admire?  Asagi Maeda, Alexander Calder, Alexander McQueen, Coco Chanel, Agnes B., and Mervin Stilson (an outrageous cobbler down the street from my studio).

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This is a piece that was just cast.  It now has to be cleaned, polished, oxidized and polished again!  Each one of Crystal’s unique pieces is understated but also incredibly detailed.

What would you say are three key pieces of jewelry that every woman should own? 

A band ring that fits on several different fingers and can be worn alone everyday or stacked with others when she likes. A strong, great bracelet. A conversation piece… something big and bold and certainly made by hand.


Just In: Crystal Hartman Jewelry

We are so excited to introduce Crystal Hartman to our customers. Crystal is a new artist to Hitchcock Madrona and to the Seattle area. She has created a collection of exquisitely wrought designs exclusively for us – check ’em out!

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This necklace is an exclusive design for Hitchcock Madrona. It is amazing.

Crystal grew up in a family of jewelers. Her father John and mother Estell began the Durango Silver Company in 1972. It remains family owned and operated in scenic Durango, Colorado. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Crystal also has an interest in watercolor. She initially turned her attention to painting and printmaking before learning sliversmithing from her father, a master gold and silversmith and stonecutter. Dustin and I are planning a trip to Durango to visit Crystal and her family’s business.  We can’t wait!

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Black onyx cabochon and sterling silver stud earrings

Crystal employs a technique called the “lost wax process” when making her jewelry; it involves using wax to create a mold into which she then pours molten silver. John cuts all the stones that will subsequently be added to her designs.

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An example of a wax mold for one of Crystal’s bracelets – be sure to keep an eye out for a future blog post on the “lost wax process”!

We have silver rings, bracelets, and one gorgeous necklace of Crystal’s currently in stock. She is such a talented artist – all of her jewelry is beautiful, elegant and entirely handcrafted!

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Mother of pearl and sterling silver earrings

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Wide sterling silver band with tiny black diamonds

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Wide sterling silver cuff bracelet (with or without diamonds available)

When Dustin and I met with Crystal during her recent visit to Seattle we were enamored with her skill and design narrative. I challenged her to incorporate white, champagne and black diamonds into her organic pieces. They turned out better than I ever thought possible. She cast the diamonds into the pieces and therefore they are seamlessly integrated into the design. Your eye has to hunt for the stones (she didn’t want prongs) and when you see one the others magically appear. Pure genius.

XOXO

Erica


Outfit of the Day: Painter’s Pants and New Vests

Handmade wool and silk vests by Hitchcock Madrona.

 

Dustin and I were not looking to create a vest but we were so inspired by a men’s tuxedo waistcoat from the early 1900’s that I found at a costume shop. We deconstructed it to create the pattern for this fabulously androgynous vest. Menswear has been a consistent trend in women’s fashion for several decades (Hello, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall!). A sharply tailored menswear piece is so sexy on a woman. This vest excentuates your waist and is a great frame for jewelry.

Steel “Tic-tac-toe” ring by Surplus. Gold filled bangle cuffs by Hitchcock Madrona (never take these off!). Steel pipe ring layered with my faux diamonds by Surplus. We have received our holiday order of Hitchcock Madrona bangle cuffs. They are going to be great gifts this holiday season!

I acquired these pants in the most hilarious way – Reilly, a local artist, friend and client came into the store minding her own business when I accosted her regarding the perfect paint splatters on her pants. She told me that she had worn them out and was ready to move on to a new pair. Since I tried, and failed miserably, to create authentic painter’s pants (and I didn’t have the budget for the Double RL version) we did a trade! She got an awesome new necklace from one of her favorite artists, Surplus, and I got the pants! We still alight about it when we see each other – another woman’s trash is MY treasure!

18K gold and diamond shield necklace by Hitchcock Madrona (on oxidized sterling silver chain). I have plenty of these for holiday!

I love the small checks of the vest paired with the larger plaid of this Barbour scarf. At $65, these Barbour scarves are a great gift for everyone on your list – father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, dog. Anyone!

XOXO

Erica


Artist Profile: Harriet McNamara of Surplus

Harriet in her new MOSCOT frames!  So cute!

Harriet in the late eighties/early nineties on a photo shoot, and her now (blurred in the background).

Dustin checking out a more current portrait.

Harriet has traveled the world (her father was a diplomat) and has a passion for anything ground-breaking, alive, turned-on-it’s-head, raw, woven, textured, African, and vintage (to name just a few).   She has lived in Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris and now Seattle.  She has a B.S. in Design (with a photo journalism minor) from University of Iowa.  She went back to university in the late eighties and achieved a B.F.A in Metal Design from the University of Washington.  Harriet has been working on her two passions: photography and metal design/jewelry/art for 30 years and 25 years, respectively.  She is responsible for the beautiful sunset that we have blown up and mounted on the back wall of the store at the moment.  She is such a creative inspiration to both Dustin and myself.  As far as her jewelry line, Surplus, she specializes in steel that has been found, altered and tumbled (for up to two years on some pieces) from her favorite Seattle forge.  She is also the master at incorporating found objects, usually exotic and from far flung locales, into her work.

We asked the fabulous Harriet McNamara to answer some questions for us about her jewelry and what inspires her amazing and eclectic line. We so appreciate her jewelry here at Hitchcock Madrona, and are grateful for how honest and open she was about her design process when responding to our questionnaire. Thank you so much Harriet!

How would you describe your line’s aesthetic?
I love references to history, imperfection, which is the mark of the human hand. (The less manufactured, the better.) Somewhat edgy/ethnic. If it doesn’t make a statement, I don’t bother. An overused icon is forgettable. And, it MUST be sophisticated.

When you design your jewelry, is there any particular woman whom you design for?
I design for all the women I’ve loved in past and present. Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, Veruschka, Julie Christie, Isak Dinesen. These women have/had not only beauty, but [also] class.  Now, class is something you can’t buy. But, if you have it, you can wear anything! (And that includes our own Erica Nelson-Sheehan!)

I’m soooo sophisticated!

What is your favorite way to style your pieces?
I love to work with shapes that are similar. They can be of any material but if the shapes fight, I know I won’t win the battle in trying get a stunning result. I try not limit myself, re: size. Anything too slick relegates the piece to Louis Vuitton. And, it would be so fun to wear a bit of glitz with a t-shirt—can’t do that with “slick.” In fact, I quite dislike “slick” in general. In shoes, in clothing, in everything. [I] have a similar dislike for safe and “matchy-matchy”. What I like is surprise, humor, wit, and mystery. If a woman has those qualities we love her. The way she characterizes herself tells a lot about who she is. I never wear fleece or puffy coats!

Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
All around me. Especially in my studio, glancing around at all my random stock from all over the world. I was lucky as a young person to travel. I hardly know where my mind will take me. What will remind me of the time I had an eight course French meal?!! What the women were wearing at that time was amazing. I remember, I was a post-teen and it was the mid ‘70’s. Someone sitting near me told me that to preserve “scent” you must put it on your jewels!! I’ll never forget her scent or her jewels. My best friend from college always wore a piece of jewelry with her clothing. She was near six feet tall, with chopped blonde hair. Nobody looked like her.  She was absolutely unforgettable and still is. The shop girls in Paris with white t-shirts and amazing faux jewels were the trendsetters. Karl Lagerfeld gets his best ideas from them (rumor has it).

A collage of Harriet throughout her life.

What do you particularly love about designing jewelry?
I was never much interested in working with the one dimensionality of painting. I enjoy taking something like a flat piece of metal and making it a three-dimensional item. And it doesn’t have to be as exact or have an intellectual aspect, like architecture.

What would you say are three key pieces of jewelry that every woman should own?
One fabulous, huge ring (not your engagement ring). A simple but intriguingly shaped necklace (I like my tic-tac-toe necklace) that can be worn with anything. A lot of fascinating bracelets that can all be worn together.

Statement ring by Surplus.

What aspect of the design process do you find most challenging?
Deciding if the piece that I love will be loved by anyone except a runway model. I get pretty far out there with my ideas. Taking things apart has to be [a] part of my process.  I hate it. I am currently working on a piece that looks like part of a robot. I adore it, but have already started taking parts off it. Tres tragic.

What clothing or jewelry designers do you admire?
I love all the unnamed jewelry designers who are street vendors in NYC. I love the flea markets in Paris and London. If I can still find Schiaparelli, Chanel or Adele Simpson in any of the vintage places, that’s my favorite! I have an old Christian Lacroix piece that I keep at my workbench.  FABULOUS! Ethiopian jewelry is the best! Comme des Garcons’ designer Rei Kawakubo made imperfection into an art form. She IS the 21st century. But, she is old now. Very far ahead of her time. There was and never will be another like her. I think Rick Owens is the best for VERY modern. I admire his work. It is so clean, yet terribly sophisticated. Hard to achieve.

What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of being a jewelry designer?
When I finally say, “this will work!” So much goes into being inventive without being offensive or too “over the top.” I was told to send my “over the tops” to Paris. I could, but I really want to challenge the June Cleavers of the world to just get out there and BE!!  Take that apron off and have some fun.

As you can imagine, we LOVE Harriet!  If you own a piece of Surplus jewelry consider yourself ahead of the curve.  Every item that leaves Harriet’s studio is full of HER.  Her energy, spirit, creativity and wisdom.  She is truly an original and we are so lucky to work with her.

XOXO

Erica & Dustin


Concept: A Study on Patina

pat·i·na – noun:

1.  a film or incrustation, usually green, produced by oxidation on the surface of old bronze and often esteemed as being of ornamental value.
2.  a similar film or coloring appearing gradually on some other substance.
3.  a surface calcification of implements, usually indicating great age.

As the definition above suggests, patina is a tarnish that occurs through oxidation, weathering, age, or the wear-and-tear of an item as a result of deep love and constant use. It is perhaps most easily recognizable when it occurs on metals like bronze and silver. The process resulting in a patina can happen organically over time (think Greco-Roman bronzes or the Statue of Liberty) or through intentional distressing. Not limited to metals, patinas can manifest on leather, wood, or even buildings like this amazingly weathered wall in Anacortes.

At hitchcock Madrona, we believe in embracing the “imperfections” that can be found on pieces of jewelry. These so-called “flaws” have an unusual beauty all their own, and contribute to an item’s uniqueness. Patinas indicate a special quality that signals to the deeply personal connection that exists between the object and its wearer. They reflect where these objects have been, how they have been worn, and the ways that they continue to be vibrant elements of a wardrobe as they morph and change over time. The boots, bag, and jewelry shown below are all testaments to this ever-evolving process.

I noticed that when I photographed my sterling silver jewelry and turned the photo black and white you could really see the color and texture variation – patina!

Hammered yellow and rose gold filled bangle cuffs (the hammering is a man-made patina) and sterling silver men’s id bracelet by Hitchcock Madrona.

Sterling silver monogram shield necklace by Hitchcock Madrona.

Seventy Eight Percent laptop bag (smaller size).  These bags are made from Italian leather and Japanese canvas.

I have had my Seventy Eight Percent laptop bag for about 3 weeks so I have only noticed the upper right hand corner getting broken-in.  I can’t wait until this bag is rich and dark!

Check out my Frye boots – I have had these for a little more than six months.  Dustin just told me that if he wants something broken-in he would just give it to me to wear for a few weeks!  I guess I am hard on things – that is why quality goods and embracing patina is important.

Have a great weekend!

XOXO

Erica