Arts Craft Arts Education

Penland FOCUS Gallery Presents WEAR Exhibit

(Left) Silk bangles. Maya Kini, artist. (Right) Keyring 31. Dongyi Wu, artist. Photo by Lin Wang

The Penland FOCUS Gallery presents WEAR, an annual exhibition exploring current interpretations and material usage in the field of contemporary jewelry. On display through Saturday, August 26, the exhibit includes both emerging and established makers from throughout the US. Works range from those made with traditional jewelry materials such as sterling silver, gold and enamel, to works made from fabric, recycled skateboards and folded paper.

“The theme song for these pieces could be Claudine Clark’s ‘Party Lights’; they’re effervescent, but with some emotion thrown in,” says Julia Harrison of her work made from metal banding she first discovered while taking out the recycling.

Her pieces include jet-black versions of the classic gift bow in anodized aluminum and several sizes of stainless steel drop earrings. All feature her favorite combination of visual weight and wearable lightness.

“These pieces are much more complicated than they appear,” says Harrison. “I get a kick out of puzzling all that out, but I want them to look easy and light, almost like something that just happened all by itself.”

Artist Funlola Coker created a small collection of braid earrings made from electroformed copper, a multi-step process where multiple layers of metal are allowed to build up, or form, onto a surface. Coker finished the braids with a dark patina.

Jeweler Maya Kini’s work includes organic forms creating her “Wings” necklace, and “Silk” rings and bracelets with surface textures reminiscent of woven raw silk. She brings a love of research, a minimalist sensibility and a sculptural approach to making.

Adam Atkinson presents Scales and Skins, an exploratory series of silver jewelry using pigmented concrete inlay. Each piece is constructed with metal cloisons which create small compartments for concrete to be poured into. This results in nature motifs referencing plants, aquatic creatures and water.

“My work explores the division between humanity and nature, often using alternative or found materials not commonly associated with jewelry,” says Atkinson.

Borrowing techniques from the field of textiles, artist Dongyi Wu utilizes fabrics and thread to construct jewelry. References to fashion, the artist’s casual observations and items from everyday life, such as the key and keyring form, are found in the work. Wu considers this approach a form of storytelling, narrating simple or trivial scenes from life to express emotions.

Participating artists also include Lynn Batchelder, Suyu Chen, Kat Cole, Aminata Conteh, Tanya Crane, Janna Gregonis, Charity Hall, Morgan Hill, Everett Hoffman, Mi-Sook Hur, Tara Locklear, Lydia Martin, Robert Thomas Mullen, Jina Seo, Katja Toporski, Francesca Vitali and Laura Wood.

For more information visit or call 828.765.6211.

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