The exchange

The Contemporary Jewelry Exchange 2015

I’ve always been fascinated by combining traditional metalsmithing techniques with textile techniques. The brooch that I created for Celine is a melding of fabrication, crochet and enamel.

I wanted to make a piece that would really speak to the connection created between the two of us, by giving Celine a piece of me that she could hold on to for years to come. The form of the brooch is meant to be playful and references the meaning of my name in Turkish: Honeybee. I took the inverted conical shape of crochet wire that I use in my conceptual MFA work, and attached it to a pair of silver wings. The piece is enameled with black enamel to monochromatically contrast the silverwork used in the brooch.

Melis Agabigum
United States

Variation in black and blue (fabric sample : netting made from horizontal and vertical black ribbons sown together ; lace ; braids ; sequins ; pearls ; vintage embroided florets ; clasp : magnets, vintage buckle and braid of lace; lining : satin ribbons)
for Melis AGABIGUM



My story is a journey from restoring works of art in museums to creating textile jewellery. My pieces stem from fabrics, ribbons, braids, lace, trimmings, embroided pearls and sequins, vintage pieces picked up in flea markets or found in my personal collection. I draw my inspiration from materials: I bring together, mix and associate colours, shades and textures before starting creating any new piece. My world is permeated with history of art and Haute Couture. My pieces are all unique and different. My work has distinctly shifted from romanticism towards baroque over time, with larger, more complex and elaborate pieces sometimes blurring the lines between jewellery and clothes.

In the framework of this exchange, the distance, the time difference and the fact that Melis was completing her diploma were not conducive to regular contacts. We therefore decided to work in complete freedom, each of us improvising for the other.
My intention was first and foremost to create something “contemporary”, quite a challenge given that my work is essentially influenced by ancient art and that I work with vintage materials. Beyond that, I realised afterwards that my creation for Melis was really about the commonality between her work and mine, that is texture, thread, mesh and, metaphorically, a net, a web, connexions.

This 'Variation in Black and Blue' raises questions about the material it is made of, about its status and function. It is about emptiness and fulfilment, straight lines and curves, interlacing, intersections and encounters. Simultaneously a net, a cage, an ornament or an armour, my piece conjures up images of feminity, fragility and emprisonment, the need for protection, as well as self-confidence, resilience, struggle and emancipation.
I hope that Melis will enjoy wearing this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it.


Photographs : Vanessa VERCEL