LOOT: MAD About Jewelry

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) awarded Mariko Kusumoto (designer of this piece) and Joo Hyung Park the fourth annual LOOT Acquisition Prize.


The Museum of Art and Design (MAD) hosted their 19th annual edition of the LOOT: MAD About Jewelry, showcasing 55 emerging and acclaimed artists spanning across 18 countries from April 9th to April 13th. This artistic endeavor seeks to connect collectors and jewelry enthusiasts with innovative creators from around the globe.

LOOT: MAD About Jewelry Curator, Bryana Pomp (left) poses while wearing a Mariko Kusumoto design.

“We don’t often get to see contemporary art that goes beyond paintings and sculptures, but jewelry is a wearable art and it’s often celebrated here at MAD and with LOOT,” said LOOT Curator Bryana Pomp during a Press Preview on April 8th. Pomp was proud of this year’s curated collection, boasting that the exhibit holds many young, ground-breaking artists featuring work made from a wide breadth of materials such as porcelain, fabric, wood, plastic, flowers, and precious and semi-precious metals.

An acrylic piece by Gail Klevan

LOOT is truly a celebration of the creative process; empowering artists to both showcase their designs and provides them with a platform to discuss their creations. It is not often that an art enthusiast is able to browse an exhibit, purchase items they enjoy and speak to the artists about their work. The entire experience transcends contemporary art culture, and cultivates a connection between people and jewelry.

Artist Ute Decker (right) pins one of her designs on an attendees jacket.

The Spring Creek Sun attended LOOT: MAD About Jewelry’s
press preview on April 8th, speaking with artists about the ideas behind their creations and their motivations to make such unique designs.
One noticeable theme amongst a handful of the female exhibitors was that these artists intertwined motherhood with their work, both intentionally and unintentionally. Being a female artist is a double edged sword, combining an internal battle between nurturer and nature. They have the creative ability to tap into a plane of emotional existence that can either be draining or inspiring. Balancing both a self-made career and motherhood have made the following artists so much more intriguing with an additional air of ethereal beauty.

Gail Klevan (left) posed with her daughter, Dalia Mandel.

Gail Klevan is a practical artist who has been working in the field for about 35 years. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, her years of experiences and artistic studies have afforded Klevan with an intrinsic sense of her work. “I quite often can see the piece at the end, so I don’t do too many designs,” Klevan said.

As a mother of three children, Klevan has managed to create her own business and personal life while also holding onto an unyielding passion that continues to motivate her every morning. This London-based artist has an affinity for vibrant colors and acrylic yielding a kaleidoscope of plastic jewelry decorated in inks, metallic foils, and imbued with gold or silver. Klevan’s passion for controlled design has allowed her to hand craft bold, eccentric pieces that are truly wearable art. With hints of the 1950s and Art Deco styles each of her pieces are visually striking without being uncomfortable or gaudy to wear. Klevan’s attention to geometric shapes, particularly the edges of a cube or the endless reflections from her oval bracelets and necklaces, are astounding.

“I like a lot of 1950s patterns and I love working with acrylic because it’s such a fantastic material to work with. If it’s rounded with no edges, you get a cat’s eye effect—you can’t see an edge. The colors magnify. Different colors and hues appear and disappear,” she said.

Artist Helmi Lindblom

Maternal identity is an aspect of artistry that Finnish-based designer Helmi Lindblom tapped into as she developed her jewelry series, “Cloudberries.” It’s an exploration of compassion and the fragile love we feel for a child, but still displays Lindblom’s fascination with oddities. Two years ago her life changed, she became a mom for the first time and with the physical and emotional changes came a new wave of design for Lindblom. “This series I started two years ago because I became a mom. I searched for a place for my artistic self and also for myself as a mom. I was able to form a balance between them both. Before I would make big forms with big colors, but when I became a mother, I kind of toned down. The entire house was filled with rainbow colors and toys that were making noise, and I had a moment of what I call tactile poetry—it’s for the finger tips. It’s kind of a place for solitude that I found from the studio after all of the new things that came about in my life,” Lindblom said.

Lindblom’s combination of sea shells and balloons represent life’s natural and unnatural experiences.

Her creations are like shades of light pouring through a windowpane and brushing against a child’s skin, similar to the soft orange rays reflecting different shades on a textile surface.

Helmi Lindblom is a Finnish designer who based her series
“Cloudberries” on her experience with maternity and balancing motherhood with artistry.

Some of her designs are made from old party balloons she’s collected since she became a mother and then sea shells. She describes these materials as two oddities coming together: the shells and balloons. “They form a dialogue between those two, natural and unnatural. Like motherhood and artistry,” Lindbloom said.

Chilean jewelry designer Vania Ruiz cultivated a typical home décor item, artificial flowers, with sculpting colorful pieces dipped in resin.

Another artist at the LOOT event who explored identity was Chilean jewelry designer, Vania Ruiz. She has worked with home décor for quite some time, and she realized that in her country there is a theme of flowers and the warm sense of home. While visiting a mine town filled with mostly just men
she noticed there was a lack of warmth that females bring—a declaration of care and love that can be created with the simple placement of flowers, even artificial ones. She decided to embrace the essence of femininity with artificial flowers—marking her exploration of fertility because she was pregnant at the time. The tropical pinks, oranges and other shades sculpted into estranged figures exude an internal peace and brightness that emphasize her Chilean background and her experience as a mother.

Ruiz’s designs are a representation of fertility and the overall feminine essence.

“In many working class homes you will find these artificial flowers. Maybe the house is very poor and the context is sort of brutal, and there will be a woman placing these flowers to make the home better. It’s like a way of translating home into love and I think this is an ability that only women have,” Ruiz said.

While Ruiz was tapping into her jewelry, which consists of flowers sculpted and dipped in resin, she found out she was pregnant. It was through this revelation that she was inspired to sculpt flowers representing motherhood and femininity. “It’s very connected. These creatures started appearing to me at the same time as my own creature started growing in me,” she said.

Photos by Dean Moses