Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eclectic jewelry by Gail Vassiliades

Gail Vassiliades in her studio
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
The jewelry adventure of Gail Vassiliades, jeweler from Northport, started relatively recently. She bought a beautiful necklace with a key and crystals. It was expensive and Gail was mad with herself for spending money on something, she felt, she could make herself.

She was right. In addition to inheriting her father's toolbox filled with interesting looking items - gears, screws, metal parts of all colors and shapes, she also inherited his manual dexterity, her father was a machinist. From her seamstress aunt she inherited a collection of buttons going back years.

Bracelets by Gail Vassiliades
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
Gail started looking for everyday objects, buckles, cloak clasps, dress clips, dominos, keys, watch parts, that could be incorporated into a piece of jewelry. She scavenged at yard sales, bought parts on Internet or at antique shows. Her nurse friends gave her some decommissioned surgical screws yet to be creatively re-purposed. Gail has an eye for objects - her parents collected pewter and landscape paintings, she collects furniture, pottery, hats, fabrics, and hand tinted photos by Wallace Nutting and his contemporaries, among many other things.

Gail has formal training in art, art history, and advertising design. She always wanted to do window displays and she got her wish partially answered. For the last 20 odd years she has worked at Macy's in visual merchandising which spans from arranging display color schemes and signs to the flow of items on display.

Her sensitivity to color is great and she uses it well in her work. Lately she tends to pick brighter hues with Bakelite elements fulfilling the need beautifully. Every piece she makes starts like a puzzle. She plays with the elements a lot to see if they work together. After a piece is finished she will wear it and monitor people's reactions to it.

Gail Vassiliades at work
Photo by Ewa Rumprecht
For Gail, jewelry making is a very enjoyable process, she works with interesting and pretty things. The process is also made pleasant by her choice of the studio, she designated a private upstairs alcove with a full window over her desk, it gives her not only the natural light within but also a view of trees outside.

You will get a chance to see more of her jewelry and meet Gail in person at the Jewelry Extravaganza on December 3rd, 12 - 3 pm at Think Long Island First in Oyster Bay.

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