Welcome to my artistic jewelry inspiration series. Weekly on Muse Mondays, check in to see what is catching my eye. The goal is to nourish my own artist muse by following wherever she leads with amazement and study, but I’ll gladly share with you. Today’s artist is jeweler Sydney Lynch.
Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working. – Henri Matisse
Sydney Lynch has long been a source of jewelry inspiration for me. It’s bittersweet to see that she has just retired, after 35 years of making jewelry. Literally within the past few days, she sold her last inventory and only that work still remaining in shops is available.
Working within a framework of styles, Sydney was ever able to create stunning one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces by relying on variations and inspirations from gorgeous stones. It’s actually really interesting to analyze the recurring elements in her work.
The cluster necklaces rely on a grouping of color-themed stones, combined with intriguing shapes and details, repetition and variation.
Each stone is beautifully bezel set on a long stem, accented with a combination bright gold and dark or bright silver. There’s a variety of textures – faceted stones, cabochons, rough cut, stone beads and pearls.
A cluster of stone stems hangs from a ring, with spacers to make everything fall just right. That ring then attaches to a dark-oxidized silver chain, usually with a gold or stone accent attached somewhere asymmetrically. The combinations are endless, but follow that prescribed format.
Consistency of design elements carries across all the collections. For simpler pendants, the artist still uses the chain formats seen on the cluster necklaces, and repeats wire and dot accents around the bezels.
These can range from statement pendants with large, important stones, to more modest miniature beauties.
The same generalized formula works well for bracelets as well. The twig cuffs use a framework of twigs made of dark-oxidized silver with bezel set stones suspended between. Accents of gold dots and small faceted stones add a sprinkling of detail.
The same elements are used repeated in the earrings, with easy one-of-a-kind results. Wire “twigs,” gold stone bezels, small tube-set faceted accent stones, intriguingly bold but simple and not necessarily perfectly matched shapes, gold dots, etc.
Of course, my recent ring fetish forces me to peruse the ways these elements can be translated into finger fun.
While most are statement cocktail rings with bold stones, there are a few stacking rings with smaller stones in that grouping.
As a maker, I strive to analyze why I’m drawn to certain art and how it might help me move my own work forward. So, I’ve searched through the collections of Sydney Lynch’ images, seeking enlightenment. What is the take home from this jewelry inspiration? Why am I so drawn to this work?
I admire Sydney Lynch’s jewelry highly. She has a talent for abstracting from nature to very simple, stylized elements that can be combined endlessly in statement jewelry. Her way of working with those elements is totally aligned with my own process, so she has much to teach me.
It’s pretty easy to draw up her design language that she uses repeatedly in her designs:
- wire “twigs”
- gold dots
- tube set faceted stones
- bezel set large stones – cabochons, faceted or smooth
- cap or collar set beads or pearls
- gold/silver bimetal or gold foil on silver
- personalized textures – rolled or filed
- a set of simple chain styles – coin, rectangle, oval short & long, round
- dark-oxidized silver (which I also love!)
- gold links in the midst of blackened chain
- pearl or stone bead drop on the chain
- bold freeform shapes in gold or dark silver
- balanced but asymmetrical designs
- collections of stones themed by color
- long stems for bezel set stones
- filed zig-zag borders
- clusters on rings, with spacers
That leads me to want to sit down and enumerate my own design language elements. I have the feeling that perhaps I need to add a few more to expand my work. Perhaps I can find analogs from Sydney’s language?
I’m noticing again the use of negative space – openings – in many of these designs, that I’ve become recently very cognizant of craving for my own work. I’ll be exploring that more going forward.
Whereas I work sculpturally with clay and then add that to sheet and wire, Sydney works exclusively with milled metal. It’s simpler and faster. I’d like to explore ways to reduce my hand-sculpted components, both for labor reasons and because it might lead to more refinement in the finished piece. I tend to get sucked into detail and realism, and I’d like to experiment with more abstraction.
And of course, this artist uses a huge amount of high karat gold. I love the black & gold combination, and I just have to find a way to incorporate more gold into my work. She uses bimetal, which puts gold on only one side of a sheet of silver. That would be an option for me to explore. I have gold foil and have done some keum boo in the past. This is a less expensive option for me to add gold, and I should try it. I’ve already been using gold flattened dots and round granules, so maybe just more of those would also be worthwhile.
Her brilliant use of color inspires me to add more to my own jewelry. I tend to use just one stone as an accent. I’d like to explore using some small accent stones in addition.
My Pinterest Board for Sydney Lynch
Sydney Lynch website
Sydney Lynch Instagram