Conversations with an Artist: Elizabeth Strathern of Franny E Fine
We have been coveting the work of Elizabeth Strathern for a few years. Her hand-formed jewelry speaks to craft in the most brilliant of raw meets delicate meets fierce heroine. Her Franny E Fine collection masterfully melds together ancient themes with contemporary design and subjects. We're thrilled to feature this jewelry from Vancouver, Canada in the shop and take you behind the scenes of a modern mind with our interview.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
In the summer of 2001, I attended a festival where an artist creating beautiful lampworked beads mesmerized me. I’ve always been fascinated by jewelry and I was beginning to study the composition, shapes, patterns, colors, and meanings behind the objects people wore. That day, I was inspired watching the transformation of raw rods of glass into art. I loved how using only a few simple materials and tools the artist efficiently created what he envisioned in his mind’s eye. This has since instilled a passion in me to explore all aspects of art and its history, connecting to an inner awakening to create and inspire others through creating one-of-a-kind adornments.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
- Human connection with nature and each other
-The Present Moment
- Meaning vs. Sacrifice
- Truth and Beauty
- The Mind's Eye
- Symbols and Mythology
- Circles of Life
- Corruption and Greed
- Form and Function
- Birth and Death
Tell us about what influences the direction for your jewelry collection.
Art unites us. It is needed for the essence and well-being of humanity. People often ask me what inspires my jewelry. I am always at a loss for words because I feel I am inspired by everyone and everything. From the cracks in an ancient building to the smile of a stranger. From a fleeting sunset to witnessing a blind man being led along a path by his daughter, I try and deeply feel every experience this life has to offer and somehow translate small pieces of these experiences into my art. I feel honored to rise every day and connect with people through this expression.
I continue to understand the importance of art and jewelry throughout history. Whether it is a simple necklace of seeds or an elaborate diamond broach, art and jewelry can define a culture and its people at a moment in time. Art has meaning. It can capture a historical event or an aspect of nature, but it can also symbolize devotion to the divine, protection from evil spirits, the love of two people, a commitment to a common cause, or simply be an object of beauty that gives its viewer pleasure and satisfaction. Art can stir our senses and emotion or call us to action.
I believe that art is needed to preserve the uniqueness of our human spirit. Economic globalization has resulted in a world where everyone is encouraged to buy the same products and think and act in the same ways. Artistic creation by its nature is unique. Every artist’s vision comes to existence in its own way, because everyone’s experiences, histories, and environments are so diverse. This variation should be embraced and I expect that art in all its forms will become more important to us in the future. Our hunger for the special, the unique, the innovative, the one of a kind, will become greater as economic forces try to move people towards homogeneity. Art is the antidote to a bland world.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My grandfather's anvil and my father's hammer.
Do you collect anything?
One metal token from every city I visit. My favorite is an old scale weight from a street vendor in Paris.
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
The book 'Portraits' by John Berger that my father has read excerpts from to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
The cliche, 'Enjoy the Journey' becomes more and more meaningful to me as time goes on.
Jeffrey says he can feel the wisdom in Elizabeth's work and we hope you'll come in and see her talent for yourself. The Franny E Fine collection of cuffs and rings, glistening as if unearthed, are forged and textured with diamonds and semiprecious stones that celebrate the organic and uneven creations in the most perfectly imperfect ways.
~ Bonnie & Jeffrey
Photography credits include Nan Collymore and May Daniels.