Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inspiration Express

Recently, I was able to take a long Friday lunch with friends and wine in a dark, wood-paneled bar. One friend asked me where I found my inspiration for my jewelry design. Before I had a chance to respond, she said that her mother, who was a lifelong potter, had believed that everything and anything can be inspiration. I agree wholeheartedly.

Permitting curiosity to be your guide, anything can be questioned, expanded, combined, reversed or put to other uses to bring a new idea into being. Michael Michalko wrote a couple of great books on the subject of invention. Cracking Creativity is a particularly good read.

But sometimes, inspiration just does not seem to come. Sometimes you have to wait for the muse to show up. I recently heard a talk on where Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love quoted an older poet saying, that inspiration can 'barrel through you like a train while you try to catch the tail end of it, frantically looking for a piece of paper and a pen.' And if you can't get to a pen, if you miss it, the train will just streak on to someone else who can capture it and bring the idea into being. This talk on is illuminating and heartwarming and decidedly worth viewing.

When ideas are ready to be born, they look for capable midwives, ready with pen, paper, clay, computer, precious metal or stones, who are willing to persist in the work of honing the notion into a fully formed creation. This is a job I love doing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

JJD Sample Sale Time!

You won't want to miss out. Our once a year event, the JJD Sample Sale, will be held at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, NJ on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Oct 13 + 14, from 12-4 pm

New items, one-of-a-kinds, and affordable sterling silver pieces. Fantastic pieces at fantastic prices!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Party in Las Vegas

Picture from the August issue of National Jeweler...a photo from the Facebook party at Taj, courtesy of Ron Samuelson, Michael Schechter and InStore/InDesign. A whole lotta fun...

Pictured: Krista Collins, myself, Claudia Kretchmer

Sunday, August 2, 2009

InDesign Magazine...The Quattro in Tsavorite Garnet and Diamond

Love the green of these tsavorite garnets. Many thanks to Lorraine Wohl and Team InDesign!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Designs, just in time for Couture '09!

We just completed new work to feature at the Couture Show. Our line continues to evolve and I'm thrilled to present our latest pieces!

As I've said numerous times when people have asked me why I do what I do..."Well, some people just have to make things." I love the fact that these are the things I get to make!

How do you like them?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Colorful and Color Feel

Last week I spent 4 hours sorting through colored stones for a series of designs. I heard myself saying over and over, "No, not that yellow sapphire, it has a green undertone. I need one with a warm undertone to go with the orange center stone." Or, "the tourmaline needs to have a blue-green reflection, not purely green." Or, "that purple stone is too close to the red, it blends too much. I need a purple with more contrast, with more blue in it."

This is the beauty of working with a myriad of gemstones. We really can paint with them. Warm colors (reds and oranges) come forward and cools (blues and greens) recede. The undertones of a given color can either be warm or cool and can push the color in one direction or another. So a blue can have either a red undertone, making it warm, or a green undertone, making it cooler. Often it is the contrast of warm and cool or the saturation levels of colors which create a more visually intriguing piece. The eye spends time weighing the intensity and capturing the nuances of the variety of tones. This visual intrigue is my goal.

Different Color combinations have different emotional undercurrents. A ruby, orange sapphire, yellow sapphire combination seems intense and fiery, attention-grabbing and yet, sunny. A blue-green tourmaline with bright green tourmaline seems to capture the serenity of the sea. For me, tanzanite and sapphire suggest gathering clouds before a storm. The combination of aquamarine and peridot has something of the freshness of spring about it.

What do your favorite color combinations suggest for you?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tapping Into It

Why do we tap our feet, snap our fingers or clap our hands when we listen to music? We feel the beat and are often compelled to be part of the experience. The sound of the song - notes, rhythm, vibration and pattern, organize emotional experience. The music gives us emotional cues and tells us a story.

When we tap our feet, we are recognizing the rhythm of a piece of music. Rhythm creates pattern. And, though repetition can bore us, patterns with contrast intrigue the eye, ear and mind as we search for underlying meaning. Pattern organizes our experience and generates interest.

Visual rhythm is part of every design with strong emotional resonance. I believe that strong design stays with you like music that haunts you. As in a musical composition, we designers are trying to evoke certain feelings. I created the Mandala pattern thinking about a window from the St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. But I refined the curves of the design, creating more visual interplay between the straight lines and the arcs.

While designing the Mandala, I thought about the experience of watching a pinwheel, a windmill or one of the original film making machines - a kinetoscope. I was thinking about how centrifugal forces appear to make things spin out of control, but strong centers can hold them together.

The Mandala has become both a focus and an element in many of our designs. The Buddhist spiritual idea of a Mandala, as an object of contemplation that calms the soul and generates insight, appealed to me as I worked on the design, (thus the name). For me, the Mandala is a symbol of controlled creative energy – a fitting symbol for our company.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Designs I Can't Wait to Make

I've been madly scribbling down ideas for about a month now and am getting ready to put some new work into production. Here's a composite image of some of the sketches.

I am continuing to explore the JJD Mandala design in different contexts -- hoops, a brooch. And I have a new "Fleur" stained glass window concept to try out.

I will post the finished pieces when they are done. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Feel Good Factor in the Rap Report

Thank you to Amber Michelle and the team at The Rapaport Report for including Jeanne Johngren Design in your March issue. This article, "The Feel Good Factor," focuses on involving your company with philanthropy. We loved seeing our jubilant Sunburst earrings lighting up the page! And we think donating to local and national causes is an important part of our responsibility as business owners.

You can read more about this article here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Designs...Super Fine in '09

I am always thrilled to see new work. I see how one idea comes out, and it just makes me want to see more.

So here are some new pieces...

We added stones to our small Mandala hoop. These are set with fiery orange sapphires. I loved the stone-set large hoops, and had some requests for a smaller size. (I've been really enjoying the warmth of the orange sapphires in other designs as well.)

Our Fleur design is set in all diamonds this time (G, VS1, for lots of sparkle.) I added a twist ring above it, for extra fluidity. It is regal and sublime.

The positive and negative space of the Cutout Mandala continues to intrigue me. It has a "pillow" top, meaning it curves out toward you. The piece has a lot of movement to it. This one is in blue sapphire, the color of distant mountains in the late afternoon.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on these pieces or other designs that we create. You can see more of our work on the JJD website.

If you would like to receive our Newsletter, send us an email through the Contact information on our website. Thanks!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Member of the Club

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been selected by Simon G as one of his favorite up and coming designers in InDesign's "Fan Club" section. Thanks to Simon G, and InDesign's Beth, Dan, Matthijs and Trace!

You can read the article here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trend Spotting

Here are some websites that keep tabs on current fashion + design developments. Lists of this sort can be energizing if knowing the trends quickens your pulse.

I, of course, am a big fan of Coco Chanel's saying, "Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” And I believe that I need to design beyond the trends. But, "all the world's a stage..." and it is fun to stay au courant.

Here's a list of some of my favorite places on the web to check in on new directions...
Fashion Trends 2009
Spring Color for 2009

Seasonal Fashion Trends, Color Trends (including Pantone color references,) Events

Design Sponge
Mini Trends in Housewares

For runway videos, articles on trends, fashion culture

A blog from the School of Visual Arts

Design Observer
Writings on Design and Culture from some incredible minds

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
Obscure and fascinating facts that may end up influencing pop culture, which of course, influences art, fashion + design.

A Guide to what's new in fragrance.

Here's my quick rundown on the fashion trends for Spring '09:
See-Through Fabrics
Continued Layering
Continued use of Gradient Fabrics
Appliques, pearls and beads attached to fabrics
Imperfect Fabrics (referencing all things "green.")

Neutrals mixed with Brights (especially yellow)
Black and White
Seaside Colors (that remind me of seeing color through ocean mist.)
Mauve (believe it or not...though it is looking rather like raspberry. But those of us who lived through the 80's know...)

Off-The-Shoulder Dresses (+ other expressions of asymmetry)
Grecian Dresses + the Ultra Feminine
Longer, unstructured jackets (but not sloppy)
Short jackets
Harem Pants (believe it or not.)

Statement Jewelry
Fringe, on jewelry and clothing.
Pink will play a role, as will black and white accessories

Do you have any additions to this list? Love to hear about it in a comment.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What’s in your Jewelry Wardrobe?

I always find it surprising to hear that many people wear the same jewelry every day. You wouldn’t wear the same t-shirt, skirt, or even the same shoes every day. Why would anyone wear the same necklace or earrings every day? ( I know, it is one less decision to make, but let’s believe that with a little upfront investment of time, we can have what we need at our finger tips and it won’t take a whole lot of bandwidth to make the choices.)

I know that some people wear diamond stud earrings and a "journey" necklace all the time. To me this is dull, dull, dull. But then, I do not design diamond studs or diamond journey necklaces...because, there’s not much design to it.

Women can wear jewelry that reflects their moods or the activities scheduled for any given day. After all, we are picking our clothes, shoes and maybe even our perfume based on these criteria. I think we need different jewels that work in the different contexts of our lives. All of the fashion magazines talk about modern women as excellent jugglers--multi-taskers who make ADD look like child’s play (which I believe it mostly is.) We are expected to take care of house and home, children, work (some of us full-time), volunteer activities, lunch with friends, dinner (or reservations and calling the sitter,) and going to the bloody gym...never mind staying civil.

I am in need of a spa vacation just thinking about it all. I think a real jewelry wardrobe is the least we can do for ourselves.

So, pray tell, what is at the heart of a good jewelry wardrobe?

OK, here we go for the basics…

Long and short chains so that they work with the different necklines of your clothing. If the pieces can work together, all the better.
2- Layered chains are still a favorite look of Hollywood stylists and I don’t think it is going away anytime soon. It is great to have flexibility, so being able to --
3- Add a pendant to a chain or double it so that you can wrap it around your neck more than once is a bonus. Large and small are important for flexibility.
4- A thicker, face-framing necklace, chain or pearl necklace gets you a pronounced classic, office or board room look. Or if you are doing one of the very big "statement" necklaces, it can get you a high octane fashion look.

Well, here we need options. Earrings frame the face and so are very important statement pieces. They can make us feel glamorous in an instant.
1- Long dangles or chandeliers for dining out.
2- Large buttons or hugging hoops for the office.
3- Small Buttons for Yoga or Spinning class...or for a day when you need to feel finished without making a loud statement.
4- Large hoop earrings for a dash of eye-catching glamour.

Of course it is great to have earrings in many color options, for special events or particular outfits, to work with your clothing wardrobe. (More on color in future posts.)

1- Thin bangles for spice. Nice if it has a charm attached.
2- Thick bangles for statement and to call attention to great arms.
3- Link or charm bracelets for ‘feeling dressed.’

1- If you have a wedding or commitment ring that you wear all the time, great…don’t be afraid to upgrade. Tastes change. Styles change. (That pear diamond you loved and bought 8 years ago may just feel a bit out of step with the current zeitgeist.) It is nice to have extra rings to make you feel ‘dressed’ when you are out and about.
2- Thin bands for a simple look. It is nice if the bands can be combined to make more of a statement as...
3- Stack rings, especially when mixed with rings with gorgeous stones.
4- Cocktail rings. All colors, all sizes (leaves plenty of room to collect these over a lifetime.) Less is definitely not more when it comes to rings…less is less.

Of course, there are other kinds of jewelry, but we’re going to stop there and keep our G-rating.

We'll talk about more fashion-forward choices that aren't on our "short" list of must-haves in blogs to come.

The beautiful thing about jewelry is that it really doesn’t take up that much space. If you are going out shopping and trying to decide between that it bag and a new pair of earrings, you know which choice is going to stay with you beyond this season.

What are your favorite pieces in your jewelry wardrobe?