You have become the ring guru - an expert on everything about contemporary plastic rings. Please tell us about how you got started being a ring aficionado, blogger and seller of rings.
Aficionado may be fitting but guru is a bit of a stretch. I'm really just an enthusiast, not an expert by any means! The obsession began a few years ago when I developed a metal allergy; since I could no longer wear my silver rings, I started to snap up anything I saw in glass, plastic, wood, etc. Non-metal rings are relatively uncommon -- so every find was like a little victory -- and I guess I became addicted to the thrill, because I somehow wound up with hundreds! Rings are great to collect because not only is the variety incredible, but they are something you can actually use/wear. Plus, you don't need acres of storage space, which is important if you're anti-clutter like I am.
At first, my site was merely an online gallery of my personal collection, but I added the shop as more and more visitors asked about buying rings from me. Blogging is just another hobby I've had for years (even before the term "blog" existed -- I remember seeing it coined on peterme.com). So, having a store on the site was a given -- it was the perfect way to share my excitement about all the phenomenal jewelers out there. (Handmade blue glass ring from Alice's personal ring collection.)
You feature the most amazing out-of-the-ordinary rings on your blog. How do you find them and then how do you decide what to feature?
Finding them isn't the problem -- keeping up with them is! Even though I try to never post the same person twice, only link to personal sites (e.g., no boutiques or galleries) and sometimes group multiple designers together in one post, I'm still overwhelmed. There are just so many talented people out there.
As for what I feature, it's largely based on gut reaction. I have literally hundreds of links waiting in my blog queue but the older ones keep getting pushed back by whatever shiny new ring comes along to distract me! I love rings that are aesthetically pleasing (obviously) but the more conceptual pieces, not meant for wearing, are often the most interesting. If a ring is pretty, conceptual and wearable, it's the perfect storm. For variety's sake, I also include rings that aren't necessarily to my taste, as long as they offer something new to say. It makes me uncomfortable and I never know how to respond when people ask me to feature them, because the blog is really about rings I've found and admired personally. (Paper ring by German designer Susanne Zockler from Alice's personal collection)
You have 314 rings in your online ring collection right now. Yikes! What are some of your favorite rings in the collection and why?
Yikes is right! I lose count of the actual number of rings I have--maybe because I don't really want to know. Picking favorites is difficult but one of the first that comes to mind is a ring I had custom-made by a glass artist in Japan (pictured here--left). It's a mixture of pale aqua and yellow with golden flecks. The idea was to evoke a Caribbean beach, and it certainly does that. Unfortunately, I can't wear it because it's a bit loose on me, but it is absolutely gorgeous in person.
Another favorite is this acrylic and wood ring by Sarah Thirwell, a British designer who primarily makes vessels. I just love her fresh, modern style. I used to sell her rings but am currently sold out.
In addition to being a blogger, you also sell all kinds of rings. Please tell us about some of your favorite handmade rings that you are selling right now - because the Wearable Art Blog is about all things made by hand.
There have been some great ones over the years but I think your readers would be particularly impressed by Robert Dodd. What he does is amazing! He collects bits of antique celluloid (antique celluloid material can come from toothbrush handles or even musical instruments). Dodd creates each ring by assembling 20-150 separate pieces by hand (no glue). Even more amazing is that he is now 90 years old and has been doing it for 70 years. Seventy! I bet very few artists in history have been able to work on their craft for that amount of time (and counting). It's mind-boggling. (Antique celluloid ring hand made by Robert Dodd from Alice's personal ring collection)
Who are your favorite ring artists?
Good thing I'm not a robot, or I'd be short-circuiting with smoke coming out of my ears. Off the top of my head: Yoko Izawa and her gorgeous "veiled" rings; Jane D'Arensbourg and Orfeo Quagliata for glass; Kaz Robertson's cheerful resin; Kyyote's (Amanda Loos) combination of wood and bakelite; Hester Zagt (Zagt's ring is to the left) and Ruth Tomlinson for porcelain; playful artists like Oxx Jewelery, Burcu Buyukanal, Corina Rietveld and Ted Noten; metalsmiths like Beate Klockmann, Beate Weiss, Susan Kerr and Philip Crangi. I was going to say I don't know where to begin but it's more like I don't know where to stop! There are simply too many to name. Don't get me started on the artists who don't make rings. (Porcelain rose ring by Hester Zagt)
Where (what part of the world) is the most creative ring design being done right now?
Great question! I can only judge based on what I've seen via the Web but I'd have to go with the Netherlands as my top pick. The Dutch are known for great design and that definitely spills over to their jewelry. Much of their work is very conceptual and breaks from tradition but is still pleasing to the eye (or my eye, at least!). Dutch jewelers are particularly prolific when you consider the relatively small population of that country.