Welcome to installment three of my new inspiration series. Weekly on Muse Mondays, check in to see what is catching my eye. The goal is to nourish my own muse by following wherever she leads with amazement and study, but I’ll gladly share with you. Today’s artist is jeweler Gabriella Kiss.
When inspiration doesn’t come,
I go halfway to meet it. -Sigmund Freud
When I travel up to Dallas occasionally, I always make a point to go visit Grange Hall, just to look at their collection of Gabriella Kiss jewelry in person. Her work is, like mine, nature inspired. I find a great sense of elegance to her creations, along with a touch of whimsy.
As before, I sat down this week to do a bit more research and study of this artist. And more than just a collection of pretty images (which is plenty inspirational, but fits better on a Pinterest board), I wanted to do a little analysis. Why am I attracted? How do I characterize her work overall? What techniques does she use? How has the work evolved? What can I learn here that can guide me on my own creative journey?
Luxury Fashion Jewelry
I’d classify Gabriella Kiss into the category of luxury fashion jewelry, so a bit different than the first two artists I profiled. That is to say that, while her work is wildly original and handmade, it is for the most part production jewelry cast into bronze, silver or gold.
Her larger tiaras and necklaces definitely fall into the aspirational category, but there are multiples of them out in the world.
There are some one-of-a-kind pieces, and seemingly a more recent move toward simpler designs with stone emphasis and her signature scalloped bezels
Gabriella is well known for striking earring designs. Who else dreams up clipper ship dangles with carved horn sails and sapphire water drops??
All of her work from bird and insects to “body parts” like hands, feet, ears, and eyes is streamlined and elegant.
There’s a subtle sense of humor behind some of the choices, like nose studs.
Inspired by nature, Gabriella’s jewelry is nonetheless pared down to the essentials. Since all the production pieces are available in multiple finishes (bronze, sterling, various gold alloys), it’s clear they are cast as multiples. Finishing, including gemstones, of course, would be done individually by hand.
Her work tends to fall into series. Anatomical designs study gesture through hands, feet, eyes, etc. Birds, insects, snakes, mushrooms, and bones reference the natural world. Another gifted collector, rather than combining found objects (see Muse Monday – Jeweler Grainne Morton), she reveres specimens for their purity of form.
Gabriella Kiss is Canadian born and attended the Pratt Institute where she studied sculpture, where she designed her own jewelry major within that department and learned lost-wax casting. She apprenticed with Ted Muehling, another amazing jeweler, spending eight years learning the trade and craft before going out on her own. Married to a furniture maker, and living/working in a collected and curated home means that her entire life is consumed by art ,
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 Gabriella Kiss’s images, seeking a thread to lead me forward.
Of course, I share nature as a source of inspiration with this artist (and a million more!). I’m drawn to the lyrical line and elegance of her pared-down designs. Sometimes I think my heavily detailed jewelry is too much – overdone – and that I should experiment more with abstracting just a bit or using more negative space. Another thought I’ve had repeatedly is that I need to work more three-dimensionally, whereas my current process is low relief. My ceramic clay experiments are serving as a stepping stone in that direction, but the tiny scale of jewelry makes this difficult (and maybe that’s part of the appeal of Gabriella Kiss jewelry).
Her clear focus on small details is interesting. The idea that she can do a simple gemstone ring that looks similar to so many others, but have it clearly marked as her own by something as simple as a scalloped bezel detail is helpful to ponder. Similarly, she has particular ear wire designs that she uses over and over, another detail for which I’ve been searching for myself.
So my take away seems to be simplify more, look at details closer, design signature elements.
Gabriella Kiss website
Gabriella Kiss Instagram
Dont miss! Gabriella Kiss Portrait in Creativity video