In the teenager’s revolutionary novel, “Johnny Tremain,” Rab is a handsome young Boston silversmithing apprentice. Assigned to read it in middle school (that back-water of aspiration and inspiration) and as a New Englander, and a fish-to-water jeweler myself (whose monogram is RAB) the formative young me found this rebel to be a sign and an absolute truth.
And so here we are.
I majored in Metalsmithing and Experimental Studios in high school and college then set it aside for bigger, more daunting, and public land installations. Forty years later, inspired by the Navajo, Victoria Maase Stoll, and my own studio aspirations, I picked it up again, to see if I had anything new to say.
It turns out I do.
My rules are to keep it simple, inspired, uneducated, and materially rich. My tools are the same as a traditional Navajo working far off the grid. Vintage glass and porcelain debris dug up by gophers on my own property are prized, as well as sticks and stones: weed-whacked, discarded, or rolled. Glass is a constant: silversmithing, scale, humor, melancholy (politics) too.
Larger pieces are donated to museum fundraisers, wearable pieces are intended for just that. No socialites to opera galas, please wear mine out: swimming, to the cafe, on a jet.
RAB ideas will always outshine the craft. Every piece should be thought of as a prototype - leading to the next one and recalling the last, never as an end in itself.
You can contact me for availability or what’s new. The RAB Jewelry page on FB is usually up-to-date. Protea Gallery at the Brewery in LA carries my work. Prices range. Earrings are currently $125 ($300 for three pairs), $750 for cuffs, $1500 +/- for neckpieces. Rings are $125 - $500. Spoons and Forks, $300 on up. I don’t do it for the money. Fantastic people honor me by wearing it. Jazz singers, artists, old people, and DIne’ in Amsterdam, Flagstaff, Paris, and Yuma. As all pieces are absolutely unique, please check on availability. Taxes covered, shipping too.
The work can be considered in several main chronological categories.
Tessellated moth pendants, Concho Belt, Pair of Bear Claw Necklaces, Alligator Lizard Earrings, Landscape Cuffs. These works are mostly silver, with slumped tesserae, deer hide and vintage Italian tourist micro-mosaics from the 50’s. Limited availability.
Further Afield Navajo Inspired
Gaining my own chops, the roots are there but so are my own leaps. Poet Laureate Lariat, Bear Moon, Falling Water.
Rocks and Woods
Found Lake Erie, driveway, magnet, Santa Barbara, and Quartzite rocks fashioned into multi-finger rings, cuffs, and neckpieces. Mesquite, driftwood, pate de verre Haystack branch elements with steel or vintage stamped brass, glass buttons and beads. Antique Belgian turned lace bobbins as earrings for the long necked among us.
Lots of enameled glass Bernie and Hilary portrait neckpieces and brooches. XY chromosome earrings with silver, plastic, crystals, and micro-mosaics. COLLECTIBLE!
A crown for a regal Nevada renaissance friend in brass mesh, vintage fishing lures, slumped glass, and vintage stampings, as well as COVID neckpieces with old Airstream plastic red and amber stops and warning reflectors. Vintage Vermont ship balsa model broaches and bolo ties, buoys and floats with rubber erasers from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Bakelite dies, purse straps and a Rocky Neck round of 45 flotsam.
Rab would be surprised at these chunky and rich salad serving behemoths. Sterling, glass, Mingei antique stone bead heads. I sort of am too.
Modern Nacre and Glass Leis and rings
Refined puti shell-inspired swimming chockers show off a tan. PullTab, one size fits all slumped handmade marble, nacre, and silver rings.
Earrings, lots and lots, better and better
Vintage and modern beads of all sorts, with silver, coral, gold, narce, thistle mink. Light-reflecting as a feather, these are well-considered mobiles, “the best earrings you ever had”, earrings.
Boxes and mountings
As a means of showcasing the work, unique sculptural boxes for exact display of pieces when not being worn. Wall mounted and table top, for galleries and vanities, the Iceberg for instance, houses 12 pairs of earrings, and the Zen box three Tab rings (as well as salt, stone, porcelain, antique Skittle pins, fan coral and a Laird Plumleigh log porcelain. Prices vary from $1000 up - the jewelry comes with the display.