RESIDENT MASTER JEWELER
Jeffrey Levin (pronounced ‘lehveen’) is the eponymous jewelry collection created and crafted by the artist, an accomplished jeweler and designer and proprietor of Poet and the Bench.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa to parents of Egyptian-French and Lithuanian provenance, Jeffrey discovered jewelry early in life. At age 12, his father became a partner in the family jewelry business. Jeffrey grew up in the workshops, observing and increasingly enamored with the art of custom jewelry making. He pursued a formal 4 year apprenticeship, working under journeymen and completing National Technical Certificates in jewelry theory, gemology, maths and design/drawing before he left South Africa for New York, followed by Los Angeles and now the Bay Area. Jeffrey designs and manufactures using the lost-wax casting method and is a collector of objects of appreciation—an influence he attributes to his mother, Rosette. Read more here and visit Jeffrey's jewelry website to see more of his work: jeffreylevin.com
HARD & SOFT: 4 NEW ARTISTS EXPLORE TEXTURAL DICHOTOMIES
The (OMG covetable) “Toro” Sculpture by Austyn Taylor is a shining example of her figurative work, existing where Hieronymus Bosch meets Picasso. Quietly partnered with contemporary design, the red bull calls back to our animist history where wandering spirits found refuge in masks and idols. Lucky us, animals that imagine being human.
Founded in Charlottesville, Virginia by Corry Blanc, the Blanc Creatives team fuses strong culinary roots and curious artistic backgrounds. The steel cookware collection in stock at Poet and/the Bench features skillets, roasting pans, sauciers and accessories. Each is forged in-house and entirely by hand. Your food wants to be cooked and presented in these!
Nan Collymore's Handmade Jewelry and “Fragile” Wall Hangings epitomize hard and soft. Her focus is on materiality and its relationship to women's embodiment, bringing to the fore the internal, secretive parts of our thoughts and memories and how they interact with our bodies. Touch and affect play an important role in how she approaches each of her works, expressing themselves very differently in her delicate wall pieces vs her statement jewelry.
Kelly Shimoda of Shimoda Ceramics makes hand built ceramics, including jewelry, tableware, and sculptural pieces. Her work has a visceral quality, inspired by observations of landscape, the natural world, textiles, and metallic elements. Her blocks and figures capture a strong element of play. Her wallhangings beg to be transformed regularly. Her jewelry is a study in texture, both tactile and visual.
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!
We were struck by the geometric and architectural shapes featured in Olivia Shih's jewelry collection. They have bold strength and at the same time an elegant grace. She hand sculpts each piece transforming the acrylic into textural jewelry. Olivia's collection just landed across the Bay from her Oakland studio.
Mariella Pilato is originally from Sorrento, Italy, and was educated at the Accademia de Belle Arti in Napes and Florence. She now lives in Bali where she has evolved her craft, using gems and materials in bold and unusual ways. Her Italian heritage, linked to heroic legends, myths and mermaids, combined with the magical history and ancient arts of the Indonesian archipelago push both her imagination and creativity to new artistic levels. We're so fortunate to carry examples of her collections that marry style and innovation.
NEW ARTISTS FROM SO-CAL
Maddalena Bearzi is a Los Angeles-based jewelry designer, scientist and author. She has a Ph.D. in Biology and is president of the research and environmental non-profit Ocean Conservation Society. We love that in Maddalena’s jewelry, you can see the influences of her work in the natural environment and which comes through in her use of environmentally-friendly practices. Her jewelry is organic, earthy, elegant and with that right bit of edge.
Late Sunday Afternoon makes scarves, ascots, pocket squares and bandanas out of their Venice, CA shop. We’d been on the hunt for that just right fabric, style and designer narrative and we found it in Matthew Schildkret’s mission—California-made, dead-stock fabrics, zero-waste, and each with four finishing knots as blessings for love, happiness, adventure and mystery—to inspire you to create more positive ripples in your life.
Long Beach-based Küdd:Krig makes luxury pillows and blankets with intriguing designs, pattern manipulation and hand-loomed heavyweight cotton. All items feature ethically-sourced materials and the rich shades and textured fabrics for the blankets are lined with ultra-soft faux sherpa or faux fur backing. No two pieces are exactly alike, making each work a one-of-a-kind.
Bob Dinetz is an accomplished graphic designer and a member of The Berkeley Potter’s Studio.
Years of collecting Japanese and American pottery inspired him to explore making pottery of his own and we were thrilled when we saw Bob's stunning ceramic work. His wheel-thrown pottery happily lack the industrial precision of machine-made ceramics—sensual shapes, naked clay and glazes. Each piece is numbered to indicate the pounds of clay used and the type of clay—from mix, mix with grog, recycled and soldate 60 to black mountain and porcelain.
While living in Italy and France, Danielle Welmond become obsessed with lace-making and was determined to discover how to bring that to jewelry.
She is inspired by her love of the delicacy and feminine form of lace, the mesmerizing power of beautifully combined gems, and the inert nature of fine metal. Danielle merges the three elements to create a style of jewelry that has become her signature design: weaving gems with fine threads and precious metals. Her stunning jewelry has a regal flare with a modern aesthetic.
Whitney Sharpe is an Oakland-based artist with a handcrafted ceramic studio where she makes all of her stunning wall hangings, jewelry and home decor under The Latch Key brand.
Whitney first started working with clay as a child. She received formal training in the fine arts at Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in ceramics, textiles, sculpture, and painting. From this multi-medium education, Whitney was able to explore traditional and craft based mediums while converging intention, concept and quality.
Esther Sullivan earned a metalsmithing degree from Montana State University in 2005, and after working with jewelers in Vermont and Bozeman she launched her eponymous collection, Esther Metals.
She works out of her downtown Bozeman studio where she hand fabricates her designs—industrial forms built with textured material and highly oxidized metal matched with bright 14k and 18k gold. Her jewelry is refined and thoughtful; each piece has a one-of-a-kind feel and a deep connection to the earth.
Christine Trac is the designer of Abacus Row. She has an aesthetic for rich materials and simple composition, and a strong appreciation for detail in design and craftsmanship.
A background in ethnographic research and environmental conservation shapes Christine's direction on design and process. She is focused on designing jewelry that emphasizes the beauty of small details and timeless styles, and is inspired by a process of production that celebrates craft and community.
Krista Gambrel’s fascination with shape and form were inspired by a distinct moment in her life, when at around 10 years old, she discovered Michelangelo's marble carvings on the internet. She quickly took to filling and freezing balloons to then chip away at the frozen material with her father's hammer and nails.
This sculptural and architectural approach can be seen today in her Ende Collection. Krista’s approach to designing jewelry spotlights art as a unique extension of one's self and the unspoken language of connection. Her clean aesthetic and modern design commingle with her articulation of shape shifters in society, most frequently legendary women who’ve managed to redefine the female role in society.
Betsy & Iya is the jewelry line by husband and wife team, Betsy Cross and Will Cervarich, out of Portland, Oregon. Betsy designs and runs the creative team and Bill handles operations.
We were introduced to their collection when a client of Poet and/the Bench was wearing a cuff bracelet we admired. Soon after, we were heading to Oregon on a road trip and we visited the Betsy & Iya studio. We love their varied influences, their approachable and fun culture, and their celebration of beauty in details big and small.
Ineke Rühland is a classically trained perfumer who studied at the ISIPCA in Versailles, France, the only university-level perfumery school in the world.
Ineke's experience as a professional nose, travels in the Netherlands, England and France, continued studies with sojourns to Grasse and a 3 year apprenticeship at a fragrance house in Paris coalesced in her own perfume "stories" which began with her Alphabet Collection, a journey of the ABC's, currently with the latest release of I for her Idyllwild scent, as well as the launch of her Floral Curiosities, inspired by the plants in her San Francisco gardens.
Orginally from the Netherlands, Judith Lemmens' roots can be found in Dutch Design. After a career in interior design and later illustration, she has been working in ceramics since 2015.
Jeffrey was a 2016 judge for the annual Mill Valley Arts Festival where Judith Lemmens was exhibiting her handmade ceramics. All three judges on the panel unanimously honored Judith a Best in Show. It was only natural we would then visit her studio—and get to know more about the Julems collection, her strong sense of object and her decorative approach.
Melissa Holden is a Bay Area printmaker whose emphasis is block printing. She uses shape, color, line, space and pattern to create the balance and counter point in her abstract limited edition prints.
The graphic prints are produced using a relief block printing method that she developed, mixing her own colors for full control over the result. The technique highlights crisp lines and shapes as well as the natural texture left from a hand pulled block print. Everything is printed by hand on handmade Japanese papers with safe wash oil-based inks.
Kaja Skytte is an architect and home goods designer out of Copenhagen, Denmark and with a special focus on materials and the playful interaction between space and gravity.
We discovered Kaja and her studio when we were walking through the Vesterbro neighborhood of Copenhagen. The Galaxy Globe mobiles hanging in the window captured our attention with their modern, jewel-like elegance resembling small solar systems. Her Planteplaneter are based on a traditional Japanese technique and we loved the way they made the plants heroic in their suspension. We wanted more. While bringing plants from overseas wasn't possible, we're excited to share Kaja's Galaxy Globes, Halos and Hangers.
Kirsty Badenoch is an architect working between the fields of landscape, urbanism, drawing and the imaginary. Originally from England, she now calls Scandinavia home, living in Denmark and Norway.
Kirsty experiments with the delicacy of hand drawing and collage, reimagining conventional architectural drawing and representation with a narrative drive. Every drawing has a personal story, and invites interpretation and imagination. We loved that our meeting Kaja Skytte in Copenhagen (the artist of our new Galaxy Globe and Halo mobiles) led us to architect and artist Kirsty Badenoch. Kirsty created fantastical illustration dreamworlds of Kaja's Planteplaneter work. Because bringing plants from overseas is restricted, we love that we can share Kirsty's art cards and posters with our community.
This Copenhagen-based design company is the product of 2 architects and a cabinet maker who believe in keeping it simple, yet still aesthetically pleasing.
Moebe focuses on the essentials, keeping their output analogue while staying curious, thereby creating intuitive and honest products. We were drawn to their inventive use of elegant wood materials held together by rubber bands and sought out their showroom while we were in Copenhagen.