2017 Enamel - Second Place
Although she's a jeweler who is just beginning her art-based business and career, Nicolette Absil already has a strong sense of design and is establishing her own voice in the medium of enameling. (She was selected as an Enamel category finalist in the 2014 Saul Bell Design Awards.) Her passion for her art is currently based on the changing seasons as well as ancient Japanese wood block prints. She has been able to effortlessly bring them together in her Dried Flower Series and particularly her "Chrysanthemum" pendant that is a Saul Bell Design winner. And she has only just begun.
The Winning Piece:
Sterling silver, copper, 24K gold, vitreous enamel and graphite were used in the piece.
Die-formed, fabricated, enameled, tab-set and hand-drawn onto the enamel and fused in.
My designs are based on nature, specifically flowers. I keep a bouquet of dried chrysanthemums in my studio that I drew inspiration from for this piece.
Are you going to sell it?
No, this one will stay in my personal collection. I was really excited about how the piece came together, and am even more so since I have won an award for it.
Do you think this piece will influence your work going forward?
I tend to work with the seasons, so for this past winter I also drew a lot of inspiration from dried flowers. My past work often inspires my future work.
What do you like most about the piece?
I love how all the elements came together, the firing, finish, setting and design.
Did you try it on?
Where do you live?
Did you study jewelry?
I received my BFA from Rowan University in New Jersey in 2011.
When did you discover you loved making jewelry?
When I was in high school I took weekend classes in jewelry, and I fell in love with it. I enjoy the process, finishing a piece and being able to wear it.
How long have you been making jewelry?
I’ve been creating jewelry as a business since 2013.
Do any of your other passions influence your work?
I love nature, hiking and I love to draw. These all strongly influence my art.
When are you most creative?
I don’t have a time of the day when I am most creative, but I am most creative after I have taken a hike or have been visiting places. For example, recently I went to the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia to see the cherry blossoms, and the sketches from that visit will inspire some of my next grouping of work.
Tell me about your jewelry business?
Nicolette Absil Studio is the name of my company, and I work extensively in enamel.
What is your artist statement/design philosophy?
“My work focuses on process and using enameling, the ancient art of fusing glass to metal, in a more contemporary manner. Nature serving as my inspiration, I illustrate serene and delicate imagery that I fuse into enamel and then set the work into hand fabricated settings. Recently, I have been working with multiples and repeating forms, as well as exploring the life cycles of flowers, capturing different stages of their existence.”
How do you market/sell your work?
I market my work through my website, email list and Instagram. I also sell nationally at galleries, retailers and craft shows.
Describe your current jewelry collections.
I hand-draw nature-inspired imagery with graphite on white enamel and add gold accents. I am currently experimenting working with white and black enamel with gold accents.
Do you have a staff?
It is all me.
Saul Bell Design Award:
What did you feel when you found out you were a winner?
I was very excited and very honored. When I heard, I was at the ACC Baltimore show, and it was a challenge to keep it a secret.
Have you entered before?
Yes. I was a finalist for the Saul Bell award in 2014, I have won other awards at craft shows.
How did you hear about the competition?
I heard about it through Rio Grande.
What is your favorite material?
What differentiates you from other designers?
My hand-drawn imagery makes my designs unique.
What do you love about making jewelry?
I love the process and when all the elements come together to create a wearable piece. I also love that I am able then able to connect with others through my work.
Are you influenced by trends?
Studio and surroundings:
What is the one thing you most love about your studio?
I love the natural lighting in my studio. I am in an artist studio building in Philadelphia. It is great to be working with other people in other mediums. It is a supportive and inspiring environment.
What is the one thing you would change about your studio?
I don’t think I have one.
What is your favorite tool?
I love many of my tools. At this moment it is my kiln, as I use it to create a lot of my work.
Do you listen to music, book on tape or watch tv when you work?
All of the above. Depends on what I am doing on any specific day.
What one word of advice would you give beginning designers?
Keep making! Work hard and be true to yourself.
What work inspires you?
I pull inspiration from Japanese Ukiyo-e wood block prints. They were produced from the 17th through the 19th century.
What achievement in your jewelry life are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I am making a living at my art and able to create pieces that reflect my passions and aesthetic.
You can see more of Nicolette's work at www.nicoletteabsil.com.
Interview by Marlene Richey