DaW: Jessica Ricci Jewelry & Hwang Bishop
JESSICA RICCI JEWELRY
Visiting Jessica's studio is like stepping into a museum! Creating “jewelry for the wanderluster,” Jessica transforms artifacts from all over the world into stunning, hand-crafted jewelry designs right here in Rhode Island! Jess regularly travels - to Mexico, Italy, Spain, Thailand... and many others - to look for unique artifacts to cast and make into jewelry.
JRJ has been featured in Marie Claire, Real Simple, and Oprah Magazine, and her jewelry can be purchased on her website and at TJ Maxx!
I asked Jess about her design process and why she runs her *global* jewelry business in the small state of Rhode Island:
WHAT'S YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? "A lot of this is self-taught and a lot is experimentation." But it doesn't look like it! When I visited Jess's studio, she was very focused, working on refining an intricate wax piece, made from some sort of architectural object she found in Spain. "I cast it, made a mold of it, made wax versions of it, and now I'm making a cuff out of it. So I first put it all together in the wax, then I form it to get the shape I want."
WHY RHODE ISLAND? "I could not be doing what I'm doing if I were not in Rhode Island. All the resources are here for me and it's been the best place for me to teach myself.
I love living and working in Rhode Island because it's really easy to get done what I need to get done. The jewelry industry that was booming so long ago still has its infrastructure here, so it just makes my life so much easier for the fact that I can always find a plater, or a manufacturer, or any sort of chain or findings... they're all right here in Rhode Island... They do a type of work that so many people don't do anymore, so Rhode Island in a lot of instances is the only place you can go to actually find a lot of these things to get done, so for me it's actually the ideal place to be."
*Go to the Design Is Rhode Island Instagram NOW to see Jess at work in the studio!*
Hwang Bishop Designs has been providing the luxury residential and contract design community with finely made contract quality furnishings for over 20 years! A studio of 5-6 designers and makers, Hwang Bishop is known for their ceramic furniture and lighting pieces. Founder/Designer Felicia Hwang Bishop runs her business out of a studio space in Warren, Rhode Island, where she takes her designs from conception to fabrication to glazing to shipping.
The design process starts with scaled hand drawings by Felicia. From there, Felicia has a prototype made (either in wood or clay, depending on the form), then molds made out of plaster. Felicia and her team make castings by pouring slip (liquid clay) into the plaster molds and letting them sit. The plaster is so dry that it sucks up the ceramic over time, leaving a ceramic coating around the plaster. Dumping out the remaining slip leaves a hollow ceramic piece - ready to be dried, fired, glazed, and finished.
Hwang Bishop specializes in COLOR - the studio spends a lot of time making and perfecting their own colors: "We do lots and lots of tests to make sure that our stains are stable and work on all different sorts of forms. We do quite a bit of testing before we put a color in the line," Felicia said.
A unique part of Felicia's studio is their work with custom color. Clients send her paint chips of colors they like, and Felicia and her team can make ceramic glazes of the same colors! "When we have a new color come in, we will take from our library the colors that are closest to it. Normally we can find something that's in the range of, so we have a place to start," Felicia said.
WHY RHODE ISLAND? "I'm originally from New York, but I moved to Rhode Island 20 years ago, and it has been great. There's so much going on [in New York City] that I felt a little bit overstimulated. Here in Rhode Island there's time to enjoy the nature and the water, to really think about things and have space.
Also, the community here is really fabulous. There are a lot of makers, entrepreneurs, and a lot of creativity. That's really the special thing about this state: the size of Rhode Island and how many creatives there are here in comparison."
Images from www.hwangbishop.net... check out more of Felicia's work there! AND stay tuned for videos from Hwang Bishop coming this Thursday to Instagram.
A huge THANK YOU to Jessica Ricci Jewelry and Hwang Bishop for inviting us into your studios! Check out the video clips we took with them, up TODAY and Thursday on Instagram Stories (@designisrhodeisland).
Want to join in? Post yourself working on something cool using the hashtags #DesignIsRhodeIsland and #DesignersAtWork on Instagram, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you know a Rhode Island designer who should be featured in this series!