LEGO Friends Collaboration - Life Hacks Launch

Last October I was hired by LEGO Group as an "Influencer" to encourage girls to think outside-of-the-box when building with their LEGO Friends sets. Such an exciting adventure! I focused on two of the LEGO Friends girls, Mia and Stephanie and created these Life Hacks projects that speak to each of the girl's personalities. I flew to Aarhus, Denmark to be filmed in my acting DEBUT for the LEGO YouTube channel - WOOT! I couldn't have been happier working with the production crew from M2Film under the helm of Lord Svanborg ;)!

Watch our video collaborations showcasing the finished products and check out the LEGO You Tube channel for more! 


Ho Ho Holiday Savings Week


As you know, I don't do big discount sales, but after last year's flash sale I heard back from many friends that they appreciated being able to finally pick up that special piece of mine that normally they might not be able to afford otherwise. Waiting this year for the dust to settle a bit on the cyber sales noise in my email inbox, I've decided to launch another FLASH SALE that is TODAY ONLY until 11:59pm PST. 

What's in the FLASH SALE, you ask? Off-season inventory, retro REWARE designs and colorways, and pieces that I thought would be hit sellers, but ended up having a small target audience (i.e. clip-on earrings). 

December 5-7th is 20% OFF STOREWIDE when you spend over $60 including newly launched designs for Winter. So if the FLASH SALE doesn't float your boat, wait a day. 

Cherry on top bonus December 4-7th: FREE SHIPPING on total purchases of $125 and up

All of these promotions are automatically applied at checkout, so no special codes to forget to enter!



My trip to the Mother Ship - LEGO® in Denmark

Where in the world was emiko this summer?! Why, in Europe, mostly Scandinavia - beautifully tranquil, very green, so many happy people (and a bit on the cooler side as you can see by my many layers). And of course they are happy - LEGO® lives here! Billund, Denmark is the original and current home of The LEGO Group and the first LEGOLAND. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen as a family owned business (that is still so today), they began making wooden toys and  in 1958 patented the plastic brick design as we know it, plus a few extra designs just in case (check out the photo). LEGOLAND came to be ten years later in 1968, really exploding the brand and the small farm town of Billund - so much so that LEGO builds an international airport here just a few minutes away.

After a full day at LEGOLAND (always interesting to roam the park as adults sans kid) we spent the following day on a VIP Tour of the company - as much as allowed since a majority of the departments are top secret! A stop at the company's historical museum was a definite treat as we got a private docent tour spanning the history of the company and it's product lines. Our docent was super enthusiastic and had so much knowledge to share, we could have easily spent all afternoon chatting away on LEGO trivia.  Check out the timeline of LEGO here.

One of my fav parts of the museum was the Wall of Reject Girls Toys. Cool that these are displayed out in the open - like airing dirty laundry for all to see and remember. Inspiration to Let's Do Better! The museum is not open to the general public, but we were told that all employees of LEGO (I'm figuring from the store managers on up) from all over the globe are flown out to headquarters for Orientation and this museum is part of the itinerary. Understanding LEGO Culture is embraced as a priority.

The cherry on top was visiting the local LEGO Factory and witnessing the automated robots and machines pump out rainbow of parts. No photos allowed inside, except for the lobby (cool logo sign made of hats and minif hair parts). Humans still work here, but mostly to keep the robots in working order. Super quiet and clean and efficient and mesmerizing.

We returned to our boutique hotel all abuzz with excitement, across the street from which they were still building The Lego House which opens TODAY. An interactive, play and learning experience for kids that sounds amazing, hopefully they'll build one in the States someday too.


SNAG Trunk Show San Francisco

A jewelry lovers treat for those in the Bay Area - I'll be participating in a Jewelry Trunk Show SNAG Fundraiser this month in San Francisco organized by independent curator Elizabeth Shypertt. Hosted by the renowned modernist metalsmith, Tex Gieling in her historic Victorian home in the Castro district.

I'll be among 5 other local studio jewelers showcasing our work for sale, we each have a unique style and use of contemporary and alternative materials. Artists are: Brooke Battles, Deborah Boskin, Raïssa Bump, Petra Class, Kristin Lora, and myself. Come by and say hi and pick up something special for yourself (or for Mother's Day!). 

Proceeds benefit the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) which is an amazing trade organization I am a long-standing member of and which is a support structure for thousands of artists finding their place in the world of craft. Founded in 1969, SNAG is a nonprofit educational organization with more than 2,000 members worldwide – comprising all aspects of contemporary metalsmithing. Learn more about SNAG

Saturday, May 13th, 2-7pm
22 Beaver Street, San Francisco, CA94114   MAP



My LEGO® FRIENDS Music Video Debut!

This past fall when I was in Los Angeles for the opening of Beyond Bling at LACMA, I had the most serendipitous opportunity of a lifetime! My husband and I randomly selected a quiet Italian restaurant to celebrate the LACMA opening, and it just so happens we were seated next to two lovely people from LEGO® Headquarters, Denmark. I was decked out in my Winter's Brush statement necklace and soon a conversation sparked about my LEGO® jewelry. Did I have more jewelry with me, they inquired, and what was I doing the next day? Would I be interested in having my jewelry styled on the girl band L2M for a music video whom they were collaborating for the 5th anniversary of the LEGO® Friends brand with an original song, "Living for the Rhythm".

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!! "Is this really happening? - THIS is the magic of L.A.!" is what continuously ran through my head that entire weekend. 

Yes, friends, I did have quite a bit of my newest limited edition pieces with me this trip and I did get to see the girls of L2M get styled out in many of my pieces, getting to witness behind-the-scenes the making of a music video. It takes a village, that's for certain, and I was blown away by the talents of Directors Coco & Breezy, twin prodigies from Brooklyn, NY of all that is hip and stylish, as they brought the best out of the band. Such talent abound!

Chatting with Producer Mads Munk revealed to me "this wouldn't have happened if you had TRIED to go through the appropriate channels at LEGO®, it could have only happened this way". Driving home the fact that sometimes it's all about being at the right place at the right time and GOING FOR IT! 

Watch the "Living For the Rhythm" music video for yourself, both the LEGO® Friends cut and L2M's cut. I get chills every time I watch it and LOVE how they credited me on YouTube - "L2M are wearing awesome LEGO® Jewelry created by Emiko Oye." Make sure to check out L2M's Channel, they are stars on the rise!

The Making of Moonbeam Anthems

Music has been a driving force in the creation of my one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces these last few years, and the Moonbeam Anthems is no exception, with an added dose of nostalgia and young unrequited love that are often embedded in our favorite songs from days past.

Originally this series was created for the invitational exhibition "Celestial: Comets, Cupids, and other Heavenly Bodies" at Facére Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA, February 2017. When I was asked to participate back in April 2016, I was deep into my David Bowie Tributes - Lazarus and the Blackstar Collection. You might say that Moonbeam Anthems is a variation on a theme from those series, a merging of the Blackstar album-inspired pins I created for the Society of North American Goldsmiths' SNAGnext conference (where I gave a marketing presentation you can now watch on YouTube) and the eyemask of my Lazarus piece.

The creation of Moonbeam Anthems began with an Anthem Song from my wistful and romantically-tortured teen years in the early 90s - Depeche Mode's "Waiting for the Night". I'm a night-owl by genetic design, invigorated by working in the stillness and clarity of the evening hours. Much like making a mixed tape for a beloved, I put together the Celestial Playlist on Google Play (which you can listen to here if you're a Google  Play subscriber). Not only did I play this mix on endless repeat while making the work, the songs themselves shaped the work, key lyrics stamped into the fine silver backings on the pins. Bowie, Prince, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, and Depeche Mode are featured in the first four pins of the series.

Want to hear more about my process in making these pins? You can listen to my artist talk via my YouTube channel, the 10 minute video is embedded below. Enjoy!

It's emikooreware Week @ Lillstreet Gallery

At Last! REWARE is now in Chicago, my Dad's hometown and a place dear to my heart as it's where I embraced the idea of making art for a living (and also awakened my desire for New Wave and Alt music of the 80s/early 90s). Lillstreet Gallery is where you can now find my work - they've recently broadened their art jewelry scope in their retail sector and I couldn't be more pleased to be an artist they now carry.

THIS WEEK - December 2nd - 8th I am the FEATURED JEWELRY ARTIST in the gallery. WOOT! From my fashion line to special and brand new Limited Edition pieces, there is a broad selection on display as well as featured online for your purchasing pleasure.

Buy handmade this holiday season - support the artists and art organizations you love!

Still "Bling"ing in Beyond Bling @ LACMA

A night I'll never forget - the Opening Night of BEYOND BLING: Contemporary Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection, October 1, 2016. A magical evening that makes Los Angeles the City of Angels (and Dreams) all the more true. I couldn't have been more pleased at the care that went into the exhibition design and display, my necklace having a prominent position at the front of the show. Then BAM! - turn over the exhibition catalogue and there is my piece shining brightly much like the Cartier neckpieces on the back of show catalogues that inspired my work back in 2008.

Meeting Lois herself was the icing on the cake, as she is the most down-to-earth, warm-hearted and humble person of stature I've met in a while. Hugs abound!

Press continues to roll in on this very important jewelry exhibition. The fact that the show has high visibility both in the physical placement within the museum itself and nationwide through the media is very exciting for the art jewelry field at large. May more art jewelry collectors with important collections follow suit.

See my Maharajah's 6th Necklace on LACMA's website.

Find Your Fabulous at Smithsonian Craft2Wear

emiko o reware is coming back to Washington, DC for the annual Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show & Sale at the National Building Museum, October 6-8, 2016. This year's theme is "Find Your Fabulous" and I'm bringing it! Classin' it up with an elevated line of bracelets and necklaces. New magnetic clasps for easy on, easy off, and sophisticated color ways (think lots of sleek black)!

Looking forward to catching up with my East Coast friends and fans!

Admission fee - get Discounted tickets online in advance!

Smithsonian Craft2Wear 2016
Oct 6-8, 2016
National Building Museum
401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Only available via $100 Advance ticket purchase

Fri, Oct 7, 10am-8pm FRIENDS NIGHT OUT
$20 Admission fee, includes free Crafted Cocktail from 5:30-8pm

Sat, Oct 8, 10am-5:30pm
$15 Admission fee


"Beyond Bling" LACMA here I come!

Can I just shout from the rooftops, "emiko o reware is in the Permanent Collection of LACMA!" AND not only that, this major necklace of mine will be shown in a very, very special exhibition,  "BEYOND BLING: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection". Opening is in one week, Oct 1 for V.I.P. (yes, I AM going and I've already picked out my jewelry!) and Oct 2 for the public. In conjunction with the show, a printed catalog is available, plus an all-day Symposium "Jewelry Matters" with keynote speaker, the legendary Dutch artist Gijs Bakker on Oct 1.  See my Maharajah's 6th Neckpiece on LACMA's website.

Lois Boardman is our West Coast Super Woman - having donated over 300 pieces of jewelry from her personal collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. WHOOOAA. Thank goodness for collectors such as herself, that through their generosity and insight are bringing art jewelry to major art museum collections. This is how the general public is finally going to get savvy to our field. 

Speaking of saavy, I'm super impressed by the press that this show has garnered. From "Fantastic Plastic" by Abbey Chamberlain Brach (Assistant Curator, LACMA) in Modern Magazine in the design world, to Marie Claire in the mass media fashion world, and Veranda Magazine in luxury living. Lucky me, my Maharajah's 6th necklace was chosen as the poster child for these publications, which couldn't make me giddier with delight! The Art Jewelry Forum, an international, non-profit jewelry organization released an interview by Toni Greenbaum with Lois that should not be missed - I love her answer to the question on collecting: "A person I met years ago, who was the backbone of the Smithsonian collection of folk art, told me that when he saw a piece he loved for the first time, he buzzed. Know the feeling." 

BEYOND BLING: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection
Oct 2, 2016 - Feb 5, 2017
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Ahmanson Building, floor 2
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90036

"An Exuberance of Color" in Santa Fe

The perfect excuse for a Southwest roadtrip - attending the opening of Tansey Gallery's "An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry," curated by Gail Brown. Gail was the first curator to show my work abroad, in England back in 2000 (while I was still making metal jewelry, pre LEGO® days), and has been an avid cheerleader & collector of my work and the work of many studio art jewelers over the years.

This exhibition truly is a reflection of her love for the field, with so many well-established and unique voices in the art jewelry world. Just to name drop a few that I was in company with in this show: Arline Fisch, Joyce J. Scott, Harriete Estel Berman, Bruce Metcalf, Don Friedlich, Rachelle Thiewes, Helen Shirk, Julia Barello. Whew! 

Apparently August is Santa Fe is THE time to visit, local business owners calling it their "holiday season" with the Indian Arts and International art fairs that come through, epic Santa Fe Opera shows, and so many gallery openings and events. Plus the chiles! Turns out that many of the artists in this show had the same idea of making the trek to Santa Fe for the opening, so it was a welcomed reunion (it's a rare bird to see studio jewelers out of the studio scrubs and all dressed up, ready to party!).

Even though the show closed last week, the online catalog with bios, statements and images of all of the work is viewable for your pleasure on the web. Check it out here

Looking forward to making a return trip - so many galleries and good eats. Did you know that Santa Fe was #2 in the amount of galleries, right after NYC! Woot! Of course every trip my husband and I take involves a culinary adventure, and Santa Fe did not disappoint. I was on a strict, vegan diet and our best meal the entire 3 weeks was at Rasa Kitchen and Juice. We went back 3 times in our 3 days! Where all the dishes are delicious, vibrantly healthy, and mindfully prepared in the most gorgeous presentation. Go there. 


Using Your Authentic Voice to Ignite Your Business - experience it for yourself!

me and SNAGnext coordinator Alaina Clarke after my presentation

me and SNAGnext coordinator Alaina Clarke after my presentation

It's been a month since the SNAGnext 2016 conference: An Interchange and Exchange on the Many Facets of Making a Living in the Field in Asheville, NC and it seems now like a magical dream I had and am still processing. There are few places in the world where I've felt an immediate connection, like a coming home, and Asheville found a cozy place in my heart. There are few conferences where I've felt a sense of community fostered, the atmosphere laid back, where even the coordinating team seemed at ease -  and this one hit the mark, lucky for me I was a part of it!

Right out of the gate I was one of the first presenters of the conference, speaking on the topic of FINDING YOUR VOICE, my talk titled, "Are We Having Fun Yet? Using Your Authentic Voice to Ignite Your Business". I love giving biz tips to others in my field and using my enthusiasm to get people amped up! I had a small window of 15 minutes to present, so it was short, sweet and had sticking power as over the course of the conference a continuous stream of attendees connected with me to express their appreciation for my talk. "You should consider giving TEDtalks", one artist exclaimed. Huh... Maybe I should! 

Let's say all of those bits of gratitude led me to record my talk with the slides, now accessible to the world on Youtube as you can experience for yourself here below. Enjoy and please share with others.

Hear, See and Buy emiko o in Asheville - OH MY!

This week I'll be over in Asheville, NC for three very exciting events in conjunction with the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference, SNAGnext 2016. Two of which are open to the general public, and one is FREE!

Thursday, May 19th, 12:15-1pm
SNAGspark Presentation for SNAGnext conference attendees
On Broadway Arts Building,  49 Broadway St, Asheville, NC

"Are we Having Fun Yet? Using Your Authentic Voice to Ignite Your Business"
The key to a thriving jewelry business is making genuine connections with your customers, and like with any budding relationship, you attract what you exude. Are you trying too hard, standing in the way of your own success, overwhelmed by it all? Get insights on how being super pumped about what you do will catapult your business to the next level. 

Also speaking this hour on the topic of FINDING YOUR VOICE are jeweler Donna D'Aquino and blacksmith Elizabeth Brim.

Saturday, May 21st, 3-6pm

Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Grand Ballroom
31 Woodfin St  Asheville, NC
FREE event, general public welcome

Come find my table amidst 100 other unique jewelry artists hailing from all across the US. I'll be selling my jewelry, including some brand new items for summer! Portion of the proceeds benefit the Society for North American Goldsmiths.

Saturday, May 21st, 8-9pm

Exhibition in Motion 2016
Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Grand Ballroom
31 Woodfin St  Asheville, NC
Ticketed event open to the public. $40 at the door

See live on the runway my latest ensemble, LAZARUS: A Tribute to the life of David Bowie in Exhibition in Motion at the Renaissance Asheville's Grand Ballroom. EIM showcases bold, unique art jewelry made by SNAG artists from all over the US in collaboration with local textile artists. This is the 16th annual EIM event fundraiser benefitting SNAG. A printed catalog will be available for purchase.

Tribute to David Bowie: The Making of my Lazarus

You might say I became Bowie-obsessed after his passing this January 11, 2016 - I was intrigued and haunted by his newly released album, Black Star (released on his birthday Jan 8th), referred to as his "swan song" to the world. Hungry to understand his discography in relation to his biography, I managed to get my hands on as many magazines as possible that ran articles on his life (quite the stack, my fav being the Rolling Stones special edition). Prior to Jan 11th I had only really known of songs from Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory, the early years, mostly via Seu Jorge's music covers from Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Vigilant Citizen says it best about Bowie: "Throughout the decades, Bowie migrated from one musical genre to another, and even from one persona to another, but a constant remained: He was surrounded by an otherworldly aura."

I quickly became a non-stop Bowie album listener, working at the bench or on the computer, riding the bus; 28 original albums to peruse, compare, reflect on. Social media was flooded for weeks with an outpouring of love for the rock icon and how he made a lasting impact on people's lives. Archive photos, in memorium artworks, music and drag show tributes, and even handmade dolls (I am a proud owner of a Life on Mars Bowie doll by A Little Vintage Doll who sits at the helm of my inspiration wall). Even more to my surprise was learning that within the last few years, his life was being celebrated -- a major touring art exhibition "David Bowie IS", an off-Broadway musical "Lazarus" which he scored, a coffee table art book "The Rise of David Bowie" photography by Mick Rock.

Even now, 5 months later, people are still making discoveries about his work (secret image revealed on Black star vinyl). What seems different to me about this star's passing from others is how respectful the media has been towards his legacy; no petty gossip or banter or unearthing of ugly secrets. 

Needless to say, my spirit was itching to create my own tribute to Major Tom, and with that wish the universe provided not one, but two fantastic exhibition opportunities for 2016: "Exhibition in Motion" in Asheville, NC during SNAGnext 2016 - a live jewelry runway show including a print catalog; "Signs of Life" -- an annual collaborative print journal between jewelry artists and writers produced by Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery, culminating in a gallery exhibition.

And so began my journey creating "Lazarus: A Tribute to the Life of David Bowie", calling forth my fashion design skills of yore to pattern, construct and merge together the Bowie icons of the cosmos. Read more about Lazarus here.


Bigmouth Strikes Again and again and again


It's been a year since I first started creating the surrealist convertible lips for Under the Killing Moon,  which debuted at The Outer Limits exhibition at Facére Art Jewelry Gallery. By Spring, Lip1 Lips Like Sugar was redesigned into a slightly smaller brooch for the Smithsonian show. Testing the market again come holiday season, Cautious Lip and Pillow Lips mini-me'd into an even smaller 2.5" convertible pendant/pin.  

What on earth started this obsession with lips?

Glitter fashion makeup editorials. I had all of these glittery magazine spreads posted up in my studio for months, not sure why except they were enticing like candy. And like with anything else, the more you look, the more you see it everywhere. Lips lips lips. A postcard from the Dali Jewels Museum with Dali's infamous rubies and pearls lips brooch. Which led me on a surrealist road into watching Luis Bunuel's films. Lip imagery was all over his movie posters. Then the ultimate in glittery lips -- seeing NPH perform Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. 

What to make of all these lips?

I dreamed of a wall covered with kisses - a larger installation and a way to enjoy looking at the lips when you weren't wearing them. Picking my favorite lips, I simplified and digitized them in Photoshop, creating maps that scaled to LEGO® bricks. Then plastered my wall with the maps and spread out my bins of LEGO® all around me. My phone's camera became my best tool, a discerning third eye that helped me see what was and wasn't working as I built up each lip. Take apart, redo, shoot, take apart, redo, shoot.

Music being a driving force in the studio,  I was just starting to listen to Google Play Radio stations based on various New Wave artists. For some reason Echo and the Bunnymen's Killing Moon kept coming on. I actually stopped to listen to the lyrics, "Your lips a magic world / The sky all hung with jewels". BAM! It seemed so perfectly Dali-esque. How many New Wave/80's songs could I find that had Lips or Kiss in the title? Of course I made a playlist and these songs would inspire the 'tude and titles of lips as I plugged away through the wee hours.   

See the original five lips up close in the Exhibition section. The Lips Like Sugar brooches and latest MiniLips can be found in SHOP REWARE: Exclusive

Feed Me Seymour! Inspiration down through the rabbit hole

More Fun. More Exploration. Read books. Find Art. These are my new approaches to setting myself up for a successful year to Make More Art. I've been making a weekly date with myself to get out of the studio and see something new, or even just to fall down the rabbit hole of Instagram and see what strikes me. 

So far I've stumbled upon and been struck with the work by Laine Justice (Gallery Lulo, Jules Maeght Gallery), Maurizio Anzeri (Haines Gallery Fog Fair SF), Susan O'Malley (posthumous art installations on Muni shelters on Market St, SF Art Commissions Gallery), Liza Lou & Jen Stark (via Cultured Magazine), just to name a few.

It's taken two decades of making new year's resolutions to "have more balance in life", to realize that the healthier attitude is to be OK when the scales tip one way or another on occasion. Life happens at a perfect imbalance.  Rather, checking in with my inner creative child, "what would make You especially giddy and joyful right now", and then granting myself permission to do those things with pleasure. Because the laundry list of what HAS to get done will always be there multiplying like rabbits no matter what, so we might as well enjoy ourselves!

Art imitating Art - Playing Tribute: Diebenkorn and Weekend Playlist

Inevitably someone in a gathering of artists and art educators will make the comment that "everything in art has already been done". While some people say it in a bemoaning tone, I embrace it, 'cause face it, all artists are influenced by art they've experienced, otherwise they wouldn't have wanted to be an artist. Very few of us are hermits living in caves without any cultural influence. 

My number one inspiration for my art is going to art museums. I always come away with a refuel of my creative tank, and in retrospect, most of my more important works were inspired by special exhibitions here in San Francisco, specifically the Fine Arts Museums of SF - the De Young and the Legion of Honor. It's to the point that when a specific painting speaks to me, my brain immediately asks, "Can the vibe of this painting translate well into a LEGO® reinterpretation?" 

There's something to be said about visual manifestation for what you want in life. A few months ago I made the decision to focus in 2016 on creating completely new one-of-a-kind art jewelry, separate from the reware ready-to-wear line. Meaning a year off from doing craft shows. Lo, and behold, wouldn't you know it, in the last few months I've been invited by two different curators/galleries to create work for color themed exhibitions, as my LEGO® material so well speaks to this kind of show.

Richard Diebenkorn: Cityscape 1, 1963 and Ocean Park Series #79

Richard Diebenkorn: Cityscape 1, 1963 and Ocean Park Series #79

Getting a head start on my goal, I've plunged head-first into a new series of jewelry inspired by painters I've long admired. Percolating in the back of my brain for ages has been the American painter Richard Diebenkorn, part of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in the 1950s-60s and known for his abstract expressionism. His Berkeley Series of landscape paintings and Ocean Park series left an indelible mark on me when I saw them at the De Young in 2013 and SFMOMA years ago.  

Design process for creating The Scape convertible pin/pendant, inspired by Diebenkorn's Untitled Landscape, 1957

Design process for creating The Scape convertible pin/pendant, inspired by Diebenkorn's Untitled Landscape, 1957

Diebenkorn's works are super fun to translate in to LEGO®, while presenting an interesting challenge popping them out into the realm of 3-D and jewelry scale. A glimpse into the process of me at the bench: starting with a very basic line drawing based on the painting in a scale that will be reasonably wearable; changing the orientation what I'm looking at (counter clockwise looked more interesting); and taking lots and lots of phone pics to act as a second set of critical eyes, especially when it comes to editing color choices.

The Scape final pin/pendant and draft of The Table in front of Diebenkorn's The Table

The Scape final pin/pendant and draft of The Table in front of Diebenkorn's The Table

See the finished The Scape and The Table debut at The Gallery at Reinstein Ross in NYC (down the street from the new Whitney) for their holiday show, Kaleidescope, opening Nov 27 through Jan 10, 2016. 

Here's my playlist of Cover songs that pay tribute to great originals. If you're on Google Play you can listen to the set here.

It's Friday, and I'm in Love with Mixed Tapes

A question people inevitably ask me at some point is, What Inspires You? and while there are a million ways to answer this, the common thread throughout all my projects, no matter if it's ready-to-wear, conceptual art, design, even cooking, is MUSIC. Music can instantly change your mood, give you a burst of energy, get you out of your head back on track. Needless to say, if I can help it, music is always on when I'm in the studio. Heck, my lips series, Under The Killing Moon was fully inspired by music, so much so that I created a Under the Killing Moon playlist to listen to while I was making it. Hence, by osmosis the titles of the necklaces are songs.

On that note, nothing soothes the spirit and soul musically more than a great Mixed Tape. 

Yep, I said it, an actual cassette mix tape, that dinosaur relic most of us can't even listen to anymore. Talk about Craft - hours gone into handmade, personalized cover art, thematic ties among songs, and importance of song order. They really are time capsules of an experience in a specific time and place. And when we're gifted them (or give them), they embody all that we felt at that time too.

the mix that imprinted my musical tastes for years to come, encapsulating a summer at Chicago Institute of Art

the mix that imprinted my musical tastes for years to come, encapsulating a summer at Chicago Institute of Art

Perhaps it was the recent birthday of my musically-forward, teenage niece, mixed with craving some inspirational tunes in the studio, that led me to bring out of the darkness the few treasured mixed tapes I saved from high school and college (if only I had saved more, in hindsight). Now, thanks to digitized libraries such as my Google Play account, I've been able to revive these beloved mixes, and with them, access a bit of that inner giddy teenager that we all have lurking in the shadows. 

Friday Playlist 08/30/2013 Minna Gillgan, rookiemag

Friday Playlist 08/30/2013 Minna Gillgan, rookiemag

Lo, and behold, poking around for more mixes, I stumbled upon a weekly curated mix by rookiemag that comes out every Friday, just in time for your weekend dance party (even if your dance party is mostly in your head as you work at the bench or computer)! Sure, Rookie is a teen mag, but it's smartly directed and appealing to post-teens as well, plus the music is a widespread mix of all sorts of genres, new, retro, classics, obscure. Mostly there is a sense of humor and carefree nature that the mixes exude - who couldn't use more of that in their lives?

Because I knew you were dying to see the playlist for my ePower mix, circa 1994...

When getting a cold is a blessing

Sure it sucks being sick, as the weather gets colder, people around you are coughing germs into your airspace, all that. But what I secretly appreciate about getting floored by a cold is that is FORCES me to SLOOOOW down and appreciate myself - taking long, hot baths, getting to bed early and cancelling all outside obligations. Task lists are of less importance. Eating uber clean and making lots of mineral-rich broths*. Indulging in guilty pleasure reading**. This week being sick means lots of me time focused soley (or should I say soul-ly) in the studio, which is exactly what makes me happy.

As some of my senses get dulled down (everything tastes metallic, can't smell), the other senses heighten, and in my slow-down mode my eyes and ears eagerly take in new sights and sounds from surprising places. Such as the lobby in the building of my doctor's office - an extensive art exhibition "And You Thought Puppets Were Just For Kids"***. Or the words of wisdom heard on my new fav podcast, How to Be Amazing, an episode with Tavi Gevinson, a remarkably accomplished and definitely old-soul 18 yr old.

Another gift of a cold is how open and vulnerable you are - we spend a lot of energy on guarding and protecting, that often life's little treasures fly by us unawares. When we're wide open, the universe seems to know to bring them back around to us - like the simple visit from my awesome assistant Kathy and her beautiful Jedi pup. Nothing like a happy corgi to put it all in perspective. 

As Tavi so keenly noted, "No magic moments ever come out of Art Directing your own life." 
Aho, sister. 


*Dr Schulze's Healing Potassium-rich broth

*Rebecca Katz's Magic Mineral Broth

**W mag, YogaMantra, Rookie

***Puppet exhibition curated by Myrna Walton at 220 Montgomery St, SF CA



The Art of the Brick and REWARE at Bedford Gallery

"Art makes better humans, art is necessary in understanding the world and art makes people happy. Undeniably, art is not optional."   Nathan Sawaya, The Art of the Brick, NYC 2014

I can still relish the experience of being on a Meet The Makers panel for toy artists back in 2012 with the mighty and prolific LEGO® Master Builder, Nathan Sawaya (click here to see the video of our presentations). Talk about a LEGO® visionary! And how thrilled was I to spend an entire afternoon at the best art show in NYC last May, Sawaya's The Art of the Brick (see images). Some of my fav segments of the show were IN PIECES, Sawaya's collaborations with photographer Dean West to create large-scale tableau compositions (red dress above is a sculpture from one of the collaborations).

So you can imagine my delight when the curator of the Bedford Gallery at the Lescher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA, approached me this summer with interest in carrying my reware jewelry line in the gallery to coincide with The Art of the Brick exhibition this fall.  What an ideal opportunity!

If you've got young LEGO® fans at home, bring them for a Halloween LEGO® - themed party with hands-on fun Oct 23, 2-5pm. OPENING RECEPTION is Thurs, Oct 8.

Go see this show, be inspired, and buy jewelry!

The Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya
& emiko o reware now featured in the gallery shop

Sept  29 - Dec 20, 2015

Bedford Gallery at the Lescher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Dr
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Meet the Makers panel  with Nathan Sawaya & me, Exploratorium SF 

Meet the Makers panel  with Nathan Sawaya & me, Exploratorium SF