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Mastering a Friendship by Alexandra Watkins and Nancy Michel

Exhibition  /  12 Oct 2018  -  02 Nov 2018
Published: 21.09.2018
Mastering a Friendship by Alexandra Watkins and Nancy Michel.
Patina Gallery
Management:
Ivan Barnett, Allison Buchsbaum Barnett
.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Patina Gallery is preparing a new virtual exhibition, Mastering a Friendship, which will feature gems by master jewelers, Alexandra Solowij Watkins and Nancy Michel, owners of Atelier Janiyé in Boston, MA. After their retirement in 2014, their jewelry transferred exclusively to Patina, now the only place where their work can be viewed and purchased.

Artist list

Nancy Michel, Alexandra Solowij Watkins
Mastering a Friendship honors the unique collaboration and innovation pioneered by Solowij Watkins and Michel throughout their career working together at Atelier Janiyé, and each piece is one of a kind. The virtual exhibition will open for public viewing on Patina’s website, Friday, October 12th and will run until Friday, November 2nd 2018.

Solowij Watkins and Michel met in 1975, when Michel was hired as an associate of Atelier Janiyé under Miye Matsukata (midcentury modern master jewelry maker, owner of Atelier Janiyé 1922-1981). Solowij Watkins had been working with Matsukata since 1968. After Matsukata’s death in 1981, her workshop closed. Solowij Watkins and Michel opened their own studio under the same name, Atelier Janiyé, Inc. 

Both artists favor bold and eclectic designs. Pieces by Solowij Watkins often resemble artifacts. She utilizes high-karat yellow gold and uncommon, sometimes uncut, stones, antique beads and fossils. Michel places stones, fossils and beads in generous settings to inspire narrative in her work, which stems from her fascination with nature (landscapes, petroglyphs, ruins and architecture).  

Solowij Watkins recounts that she was more attracted to warmer tones in her work while Michel was often drawn to cooler hues. She adds, I like that in life – I like yellow, orange and greens. I don’t usually work with blue but once I came across an Opal and I had to have it. Nancy loved blues and greens and used a lot of Opal.

Solowij Watkins and Michel worked together to create the kind of life they wanted to lead. Symbiotically, they built an environment where they felt free to be creative and were able to support each other and their life from making one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. There are things that I feel I wouldn’t have had the guts to do myself or maybe couldn’t have managed myself. Says Watkins, We would do craft shows together, manage it together, have dinner in the evenings. When at the Atelier, sometimes I would look to her [Michel] for advise about a piece I was working on – ‘is it too high? Should it be longer? How do you like the arrangement?’ It was very valuable to have her there.

Not long after they retired, the co-curators of Patina Gallery, Allison and Ivan Barnett, paid them a visit in Boston to discuss the possibility of exclusivity. Solowij Watkins says a big part of their decision was trust in the gallery. I thought Patina was good to work with, they paid on time, it felt natural to take the partnership on.

Solowij Watkins and Michel’s skill is recognized at large and their work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. Mastering a Friendship will feature work, seen and made available virtually, like never before and these exclusive works will be available at this magnitude for a limited time. 

More about the legacy of master jeweler, Miye Matsukata.
Nancy Michel. Pendant: Kachina, 2018. 18K & 22K yellow gold, antique Tibetan turquoise.. 5.53 x 2.76 cm. Kachina figure of natural Tibetan turquoise, with glowing head and feet, a deity of stone and gold.. Nancy Michel
Pendant: Kachina, 2018
18K & 22K yellow gold, antique Tibetan turquoise.
5.53 x 2.76 cm
Kachina figure of natural Tibetan turquoise, with glowing head and feet, a deity of stone and gold.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Nancy Michel. Necklace: Conch Shell, 2018. 18K & 22K yellow gold beads, antique white conch shell white coral beads.. 59 x 2.4 cm. These peachy colored shell beads, often mistaken for white coral, are paired with high karat gold beads in a beautiful and simple necklace composition.. Nancy Michel
Necklace: Conch Shell, 2018
18K & 22K yellow gold beads, antique white conch shell white coral beads.
59 x 2.4 cm
These peachy colored shell beads, often mistaken for white coral, are paired with high karat gold beads in a beautiful and simple necklace composition.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Alexandra Watkins. Brooch: Round Coral, 2018. 18K yellow gold, red coral.. 3.55 x 3.81 cm. Inspired forms. Lunar phases. This retro brooch is a classic for Alexandra Watkins, as the coral sheds it's skin to reveal the gold hiding just beneath.. Alexandra Watkins
Brooch: Round Coral, 2018
18K yellow gold, red coral.
3.55 x 3.81 cm
Inspired forms. Lunar phases. This retro brooch is a classic for Alexandra Watkins, as the coral sheds it's skin to reveal the gold hiding just beneath.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Alexandra Watkins. Brooch: Tourmaline, 2018. 18K & 22K yellow gold, tourmaline.. 6.09 x 3.17 cm. Where does inspiration come from? The shy moss on a tree hidden in plain sight? The shimmering coral just below the surface of the sea? The madness of undulating color deep inside the scales of a fish? Embrace this. For in nature, nothing clashes.
. As do these crystal tourmaline layers; inspiring the whisking of the gold across the surface of this masterful brooch.. Alexandra Watkins
Brooch: Tourmaline, 2018
18K & 22K yellow gold, tourmaline.
6.09 x 3.17 cm
Where does inspiration come from? The shy moss on a tree hidden in plain sight? The shimmering coral just below the surface of the sea? The madness of undulating color deep inside the scales of a fish? Embrace this. For in nature, nothing clashes.
As do these crystal tourmaline layers; inspiring the whisking of the gold across the surface of this masterful brooch.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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