Jewelry Is Her Art
We are in the showroom and studio of Rebecca Myers, jewelry designer, at 11 Annapolis Street, in the village of West Annapolis. Glowing glass caskets lined in cream velvet and bathed in light seem to float dramatically. Gracefully arranged necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings… diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, moon stones and opals in settings of gold, platinum and silver, rest inside the display cases. Silver draperies separate the spacious showroom from the artisans’ workshop where Myers and her assistants burnish bracelets, set gems in rings, and polish brooches.
As we enter the gallery, a slender woman with honey-blonde hair emerges from behind the silvery panels. Her eyes and smile glow as warmly as the jewelry displayed before us. Every piece is hers, creations of her artistic vision and technical skill. We can wander past the cases, perhaps linger over a bracelet that catches our eye. With earrings starting at $200 and rings from $450, an original piece of fine jewelry is not out of reach. No doubt, the pieces we are admiring will become someone’s heirlooms—maybe ours.
Powerful, restrained, mysterious describe Myers’ designs. These adornments are somehow reminiscent of a distant age, yet contemporary. Earrings with black pearls dangling from gold squares, rings with oval gems on wide bands of platinum. Filaments of gold ensnare jewels caught in a golden web and fashioned into necklaces.
“I find sublime beauty in simple natural forms: seed pods, the intricate fabric of bark, the freckled pattern of a quail’s egg,” says Myers. Her jewelry designs bear this organic stamp, a sense of authenticity and simplicity. She speaks of herself among the “tribe of makers,” the craftsmen.
Rebecca Myers opened her studio nine months ago, but her skills as an artist and craftsperson have evolved since her graduation from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Design in 1991. As her senior project, she designed and executed her first line of jewelry—earrings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches. The collection was a great success; all sold before the Senior Show had closed. For the next five years Myers practiced the goldsmith’s craft with Parkinson Company in Wisconsin.
She began to travel, and as she did she found inspiration in European art and design. Myers admires German design and speaks knowingly of the Bauhaus Movement which wedded the creative arts to modern technology. She admires contemporary German jewelry designer Michael Zobel, whose work has influenced her own. His jewelry stresses organic design with modern interpretation. Myers draws our attention to postcards of favorite works she’s seen_—they decorate the bulletin board above her design table—including small images of paintings by Miro and Giacometti sculptures.
In 1996, Rebecca Myers was named the “Best New Talent” by the American Jewelry Design Council. She created her second original line for the American Jewelry Design Show that year. This prestigious award gave her the opportunity to break away, gain a wider audience for her own vision and work. Eventually, Myers was able to open her first gallery/studio in Allentown, Pennsylvania, not far from her childhood home. Her jewelry line gained a following and her career was launched. “The award pushed me into independence,” Myers says.
A transformative experience for Myers was her first trip to Venice in 2000. She happened upon the Guggenheim Collection there. Myers marvels at Peggy Guggenheim’s courageous rescue of great works of art and artists from certain destruction and death in Europe during World War II. Myers’ subsequent jewelry designs respond to the abstract works from the Venetian Guggenheim Museum. “Peggy Guggenheim is my hero,” she says.
In 2003, Rebecca Myers became engaged to Troy Juliar. Myers accompanied her fiancÈ to the Annapolis area when Juliar accepted a position as an editor for Recorded Books. Myers found West Annapolis a perfect setting for her new gallery/studio. Their wedding will take place this September at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, one of the nation’s premier venues for contemporary works of art.
If you stop by the gallery/showroom, she may show you the elegant wedding band she is completing for her fiancÈ: platinum panels on oxidized silver with diamonds sparkling between deep, horizontal grooves evenly spaced around the wide band—a labor of love.
Myers finds the technical aspects of working with precious metals and gems endlessly fascinating. While she works alone on her husband’s wedding band, assistants Mona Bustard and Carol Miller work on other pieces of Myers’ design with her—casting, setting and polishing.
Striking pieces by Rebecca Myers have recently been exhibited at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, the prestigious Ann Arbor Original Art Fair, and the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco. You, however, can see this graceful, exotic jewelry and meet Rebecca Myers without traveling so far. Just stop by her gallery on Annapolis Street or go online to www.rebeccamyersdesign.com.