Jewelry is an art form; an expression of a person and their connection with the culture.
Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 31, 2012
Always very popular during the weeks leading up to Día de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration The Day Of The Dead, Jenne Rayburn’s fashionable jewelry line incorporates skulls into necklace, earring and charm bracelet designs that also include colorful beaded flowers and subtle rhinestones. “As a design image, skulls are timeless,” said Rayburn from her Malden, MA Studio. “And, the skull is still a potent symbol, even if it has been transformed into a fashion basic.” Fascinated with cultural identity and personal adornment, the skull, commonly thought of as a rock icon and associated with Goth culture and badass motorcycle riders, has a long history as a symbol for rebirth and transcendence, making it a symbol Rayburn can’t resist using in her work.
Rayburn’s interest in skull jewelry, especially memorial and sentimental jewelry, began when she spent time traveling in Europe, visiting art museums. “Throughout hundreds of years of art and history, the skull has communicated two important messages,” said Rayburn “I'm dangerous”, and the idea of reflection, transformation and growth.” The symbols and motifs we associate with these messages have always been part of a broader art and cultural movement, dating back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and the Aztecs who used the skull as a symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth. Memento mori, thought to have originated in Rome and translated from Latin as "remember your mortality" speaks to the idea that life is short and death is the great equalizer. Symbolic Vanitas, a genre of still-life painting in which temporal pleasures are juxtaposed with a skull, were commonly depicted in Medieval times to remind people of the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. The Victorian Era, one of Rayburn’s favorite, produced Mourning jewelry, which was the height of fashion during Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1851 to about 1880. Rayburn believes that our contemporary fascination with skulls in fashion can be traced to the mid-2000s when bad-boy designer Alexander McQueen made a crystal skull his brand’s signature, working to create a fierce identity not only for himself but also for the women he dressed.
Rayburn projects her modern sensibilities on the skull jewelry she creates, while appreciating the skull’s historic significance. “It is important to consider a symbol’s cultural and historical meaning,” said Rayburn. “That meaning is always part of the artistic intent, even it does not immediately resonate with the wearer.” Most importantly, Rayburn hopes to communicate that a skull is not always about death. Sentimental jewelry is possibly the most misunderstood of all jewelry, especially when used to commemorate the death of specific persons. People tend to see it as morbid and grisly, while the intent was often beauty and virtue. Notes Rayburn, “Creating adornment to honor someone’s life, with a piece of mourning jewelry or momento-mori that you can remember him or her by, is ancient and universal, and one of the key behaviors that distinguishes humanity.” Adornment, in all its forms, is one of the uniquely human traits that distinguish us. For over 50,000 years we have been fascinated with decoration for our bodies and our clothing. Not just for beautification, ornamentation has held increasing value as symbol, status and currency. Captivated by our collective history and relationship with adornment, skulls and other symbols are often integrated into Rayburn’s work.
“Jewelry is an art form, a wearable piece of art,” Rayburn reminds us. “It is an expression of a person and their connection with the culture.” What people wear reflects the art, the mass entertainment and media, and the politics of the time. Encapsulating a cultural moment that includes dire economic forces, a proliferation of violence in the media, actual and possible war and perhaps a lack of substance and ceremony in our lives, skulls embody an edgy toughness that, for Rayburn, goes beyond casual morbidity.
Jenne Rayburn is a Boston-based jewelry/textile artist who also studied interior design and architecture, and her work explores the convergence of architecture, design, technique and identity. Jenne is known for her designs combining vintage textiles, findings and components, with contemporary textile design. A graduate of the University of Washington where she studied metalsmithing and fiber arts, and of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a MS in Design, Jenne has been designing jewelry and accessories for over 20 years. Perpetual curiosity and a passion for experimentation resulted in her first jewelry collection made from etched copper and brilliantly colored enamel. Since then, Jenne has created six unique collections of jewelry and fashion accessories that combine careful workmanship with unique materials and designs. It is her hope that the wearers of her pieces will find joy in a delightful artistic statement, and also something that enhances their individuality and confidence. Her work is carried in local galleries and online. Please visit http://www.jennerayburn.com for Jenne Rayburn’s online flagship store. For wholesale information, please visit jennerayburn.com/wholesale.com