“Entra en el Teatro”- course with Carles Codina / part 1

At the beginning of this month I had the pleasure of attending a course with the renowned jeweler and teacher Carles Codina i Armengol. He came to Escuela Crisol last year, and I could not attend unfortunately, so I was very happy to be able to make it this year.
Carles and Jordi (my teacher) go way back, as they studied together at Escola Massana, one of the leading art and design schools in Europe. They are still good friends, and lucky for us in Costa Rica, they decided to collaborate and bring amazing courses across the Atlantic.

Last year the classes were mostly practical, and I hear they learned how to make mokume-gane, among other cool and complicated techniques.
This year the plan was different. The approach was focused on the conceptual part of jewelry design, geared specifically to the design of a piece of jewelry to be sold at the gift shop in the Costa Rican National Theater. We were to design a piece inspired by the theater itself, to serve as a souvenir to whichever target group we were to choose (habitual opera fans and theater buffs, or in-and-out-in-five-minutes tourists), and in turn choose a price point to correspond with the spending habits of each group. The piece had to include packaging, so it could be displayed in it, and be packed quickly upon purchase, and hopefully, the packaging would be appealing and special enough to draw the consumer in and add value to the piece itself. It was a tall order for a class that would last less than 10 days- but we did it!

To begin the whole thing we all visited the Teatro Nacional to take pictures. I have to confess that I hadn’t been there in years (probably since elementary school). This theater is considered one of Costa Rica’s architectural jewels, and it was built in the 1890s with money earned by the country through a tax imposed on coffee export (one of CR’s major industries still to this day). The style of the theater is very interesting, as it mixes European influence with images of Costa Rican agricultural images- more specifically, the Alegoría del café y el banano (Allegory of coffee and banana), by artist Aleardo Villa.

Here are some images from our visit:

floor pattern and the group looking up / mirror detail / numbered seats

the Allegory of coffee and banana: image on our ¢5 bill / lady picking coffee

elaborate doorknob / ceiling light fixture

foyer / wall detail in the foyer, 1890

floor pattern made with national precious woods / cool floor tile / big lamp in the theater

Though I didn’t get any pictures of the outside, it’s very beautiful as well, so google it :). Until the next installment.


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Gemstone and mineral stamps / 2

Rhodochrosite, amethyst, petrified wood and tourmaline. You can see which one’s my favorite.

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Gemstone and mineral stamps / 1

I’ve been obsessed with finding cool images for my tumblr blog lately, and in doing so have sort of gone down the rabbit hole of image collecting and reposting. Which is how I found these images you see below. I love stamps, assorted printed goods, and getting mail, so combining these with minerals and gemstones just about blows the top of my head off.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. I will be posting them in small groups for the sake of making them last and savoring them a bit more.

There’s a bunch more to share from this particular group, but the line drawings are so good I had to leave them large to appreciate them better. Here we have Amethyst and Peridot (aka Olivine).

Source: mineralstamps.com – *composites made by me

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Words by Carles Codina / 2

“You have to exploit your neighbor as you would exploit yourself.”

This is a very interesting and important point Carles made during class: take advantage of your resources and of others around you as well. Cultivate an environment of sharing, of exchange, and let go of being secretive.

This really resonates with me since it is one of the reasons I started this blog, and sharing information with fellow jewelers and designers motivates me to do better and go beyond technique alone. Anybody can learn to follow instructions and see a process through; what really matters is the idea behind the piece, and the personal touch you infuse your work with.

And from another point of view, it is also important to learn to rely on others, ask questions, interact, delegate, and your work will be the better for it. Very often we ‘makers’ feel that we should be able to do everything ourselves, and our work (and profit margin in some cases) might be compromised for thinking this way.

No man is an island, right?

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A study in color: the jewelry of Hemmerle

Color is an element of design that always catches my eye. No matter what the material, if the color and its use is used correctly, I’m drawn to it. This is precisely what pulled me in when I found images from the house of Hemmerle. Monotones are not usually the go-to color schemes in jewelry, and these pieces are just exquisite.

Their use of copper really impressed me. Copper is nowhere to be found in high end jewelry, considered to be the red headed step child of metals, so to speak. So to see it used in bezels encasing precious gemstones is refreshing and daring.

I am now obsessed. Add these pieces to my impossible wishlist.


-all images borrowed from the web to make the composite, property of Hemmerle-

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Wise words by Carles Codina

“Don’t confuse abstract expressionism with a poorly made piece.”

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Metal & Mineral: new tumblr image blog

There are so many great images of jewelry and related subjects that I come across that I would like to share (and also some of my pictures that don’t have a proper sharing site) that I got my arm twisted into creating a Tumblr image blog. It’ll be a nice dumping ground for all images (and maybe videos) concerning jewelry, gems and the like. It’s different from this blog because there will be hardly any text accompanying the images, and most of the work featured will be other people’s, and in the case that it’s mine, it’ll probably be a random image that doesn’t take part in a larger blog post like the ones on onmyworktable. It’s a work in progress for now, and the rules are fuzzy still, but I’m excited.

Let me know what you think. Or if you’d like to see something specific on there. I’m all [virtual] ears.

Click here.

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