Sunday, March 16, 2008

Todd Reed: Raw Diamonds, Raw Elegance

Todd Reed In Studio

I was thumbing through a past edition of Ornament magazine and found an ad that stopped me in my tracks. The ad showed a SIMPLY STUNNING gold cuff bracelet by designer Todd Reed, so I headed over to his website, and was confronted by some of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. He specializes in creating pieces that incorporate raw diamonds for a beauty that stands alone.
For all his success and artistry, Todd Reed is a self taught goldsmith and metalsmith--a fact I find astonishing just on its own. With so many tools and techniques, just how does one learn these skills by trial and error? Sheer brilliance is my guess. I started our interview by asking Todd about this...

What challenges and benefits do you think you gained by "going it alone"?

Information was difficult to get, so I learned everything alone. A benefit is that I never learned what not to do in art or business.

You are perhaps best known for your use of raw diamonds. Where did this idea come from and why do you use this form of the diamond?

This idea came from a need to push society into looking at value in a new way; to challenge current social norms.

What does the raw diamond reveal that is different from the faceted version?

Nature’s version of perfection, beauty in a raw and innocent way. There are so many surfaces, colors, and textures that there are infinite examples of nature’s limitless versions of perfection.

How would you describe your style?

Raw Elegance.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My natural environment and my market decide what will be made.

I find your work beautifully subtle. What do you find most challenging about achieving this effect?

The subtle nature of my work is the work; it must always be present. I have millions of ideas that will never be made. That is difficult.

What is most challenging for you as an artist to also spend the time an energy necessary to make your work successful as a business?

The most challenging thing is to mature and grow as a boss and business owner. Relationships alone need work and a growing company means adding and growing in relationship building. It is quite wonderful to have this challenge.

You teach, create and show...what do you get from each of these aspects of your work?

From teaching I get supporting community and giving to a healthy cause. Creating is what I call the “guts”, instilling to all happiness and joy and making the ideas. Showing is a culmination of efforts. The ultimate prize is the pride I get from taking our work to a show and selling it!

What advise do you have for other jewelry designers and beginners?

Go with passion.

Todd's work is in galleries throughout the country...his website lists them all---too many to list here. And, from his website, here's some information about upcoming shows:

We have a short, upcoming show at I. Gorman in Washington, DC, from March 21-22. The Smithsonian Craft Show is always a pleasure, too; it runs from April 10-14 at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. We are getting pumped up for the Couture show in Las Vegas. Look for us there from May 28-June 2 at booth #216. If you are on the East Coast, visit us at the JANY Couture show this summer from July 27-30 at booth #140.

I'm heading to NYC for a business trip, but I plan to stop by DVVS Fine Jewelry in the Chelsea district to see some of Todd's pieces up close. I noticed there are many other amazing jewelry artists at DVVS so look for some of of my favorites in future postings!

Thanks for stopping by!


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