The Directrice Hearts Art Jewelry

At the start of the pandemic, I — like many — had an initial instinct to reduce spending and economize as a hedge against uncertainty. Within a few weeks (early summer 2020), it occurred to me that I had a duty to spend like a Keynesian economist on shore leave — meaning that I should invest my hard-earned discretionary spending dollars in businesses that might be particularly hard-hit by the constraints of social distancing.

This meant that I would not spend on clothes but would spend on restaurant food (takeout!) and art jewelry.
I think that The Photographer and I “ate out” more in 2020 than in other years, in part because our entertainment budget (I say that as though we actually have a formal budget for entertainment or anything else) was largely untouched.
Through the Internet I found a number of talented jewelry-makers and delightful gallerists and reconnected with others I’ve met over the years. Here is the one of my recent discoveries: a ceramic and silicone necklace by Maia Leppo (who is represented by Ombre Gallery).
The Directrice is a committed Keynesian

Feast your eyes
This graphic necklace combines ceramic disks, threaded on a silicone cord with steel findings.
It’s simple and elegant, rough and unexpected at the same time. The smooth silicone cord contrasts beautifully with the pitted surface of the porcelain beads.

The charcoal gray beads and terra cotta orange cord look sharp against white, but I bet the necklace will be equally effective (by which I mean Very Effective) against an inky black fabric (silk or satin) and medium-rinse denim.
What do you think?
A versatile piece

Please note the closure
Indulge me and take a moment to appreciate the closure. It’s a marriage of form and function: easy for my clumsy fingers to manage and a delightful punctuation between the cord and the beads.

For those who were wondering, this is the back.
A nice, clean line

You’ve all seen both of these dresses several times before. They’re among my favorite, and most frequently worn, summer dresses.
Doesn’t the necklace give them great style?
I won’t hear a word against the dress, but will accept all accolades for the necklace

Versatile dress meets versatile necklace; will they feel competitive . . . like some people do about Linked-In connections?
I bought this striped dress from JCrew in 2015 and have advised since the launch of this blog that JCrew’s summer sundresses are deserving of your attention.
Take a look back at its previous incarnations here, here, and here. This dress, and the white one,* are perfect examples of a dress that can be changed with accessories. Mind: The dress does not become unrecognizable; it’s rendered just different enough to give the impression of variety.

I started collecting art jewelry in the mid-2000s, but have become increasingly interested in, and committed to, the art jewelry ideal (mission? movement?) in the last five years.
I’ll pull together a tour of my modest collection along with some additional profiles of artists and gallerists. While you wait, take a look at this post from 2017 featuring the marvelous Denisa Piatti and her Washington D.C. studio.
In my next life, perhaps I will get to be an artist

* You’ve seen the white dress with different jewelry here, here, and here. Many wearings!

11 thoughts on “The Directrice Hearts Art Jewelry”

    • I don’t have pierced ears. My mother’s ears aren’t pierced and so it was never a foregone conclusion that mine would be. While I am a great admirer of beautiful earrings, it’s just too late for me. Perhaps I will have pierced ears in my next life!

  1. I love that fantastic necklace with the delicate, every-which-way stripes! Parallel lines and such lovely geometry make my mathematical heart happy.

  2. Love the simplicity, but cleverness of this necklace – the contrasting chord and closure in front against the roughness of the beads. It’s a great quality you bring to the art jewelry you acquire. It’s often clever and witty, like you. Although I’ve been looking at different pieces over the years, I can’t wait to see a post that shows the collection. It’s making me eye my own jewelry again, neglected since COVID.

  3. Very lovely piece! I like the idea of art jewelry (to be distinguished from traditional jewelry). My style has grown under the Directrice’s guidance, but I still have not been able to bring myself to wear necklaces. A chunky bracelet and stud earrings is all I can do.

  4. That’s a lovely necklace, but the phrase “spend like [a] Keynesian economist on shore leave” is a thing of surpassing magnificence

  5. I’m with Wendyloch – My collection of arty necklaces have gathered dust, hanging on their rack. I understand logically that zoom would be an awesome platform to showcase them, but perhaps it’s just my dour mood with COVID numbers on the rise again. I will try harder! This necklace reminds me of your utility belt… construction materials at use for fashion!

  6. Ooh, the necklace’s hardware and heavy, chunky discs combined with the rough unfinished fabric on the sleeveless dress creates a very compelling, almost punk-rock (some incarnations) look. I will dub this version Tory and Sid and Nancy.

  7. I also own and love that JCrew dress so much that if I ever make it to a country known for quick, good handmade clothing, I am bringing it with to have duplicates made in other fabrics. So versatile as you so wonderfully demonstrate!


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