In our rush to embrace new techologies, think about the future and move forward, sometimes a little bit of nostalgia is just what we need to contextualize our present actions. Naomi Muirhead (Art 925) is an American jewelry designer who has been living in Florence, Italy since the year 2000. Her work, using traditional silversmithing techniques, traps bits of a nostalgic past in precious containers to wear on our person. She gives new functions to lost objects like yellow wooden rulers, old paper maps, pieces of board games, the gears of non-digital clocks, objects that we have replaced almost entirely with our iPhones. Each piece is as unique as our personal memories.
We have selected some of her pieces to make available for sale on MakeTank because we appreciate the contrast her work provides to those we tend to promote - those created with new technologies that are part of a digital world. We think that their traditional aspect and connections to the past make the pieces in the Art 925 shop on MakeTank an important anchor to the past, a reminder that what we create today must be first rooted in our manual and visual tradition, in our own experience, and in the past of our own cultures.
The visual is of supreme importance for Naomi, who studied first fine arts, then interior architecture. She started working in metals about thirteen years ago, and dedicates most of her time to this now, although she still paints and does collages when time permits. In Florence, she teaches jewelry at the study abroad program SACI and is the school's gallery director and graphic designer. She participates regularly in group and solo shows and has held popup stores annually in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, where the American public has very much appreciated the mixed Italian and American roots of her designs.
Italy has, of course, influenced Naomi's style. You see it in the types of objects she chooses to 'trap' under resin and encased in silver: a wooden tombola piece (from the Italian bingo game)... an old Italian map... snippets of old Italian dictionaries and books. It is as if she is preserving a past that is not hers, but that she has adopted. On the other hand, Naomi says that as she passes more years abroad, she finds herself grasping at bits of her own past in America, growing up just outside Chicago, and she feels a need to preserve those memories, too. For that matter, Naomi points out that she will make bespoke pieces upon commission too, so can create silver memories specifically for you (just let her know you saw her on MakeTank).
Her aesthetic is vintage, handmade and contemporary. Her pieces show evidence of hand casting, the occasional bulk of contemporary jewelry, and the vintage aesthetic of the actual repurposed objects. An interesting way to mix past and present, that results not in a clash but in harmony. Perhaps this comes from the artist's own very balanced personality - a hard worker and a person full of creativity, Naomi is nonetheless particularly level headed and easy to work with.
Bring home a piece of the past, make your own memories and construct your own future with the unique repurposed jewels of Art925 on MakeTank.
With thanks, all photos are by www.