Swirling shapes and intricate images engraved on silver earrings, bracelets and necklaces with semi-precious stones scattered throughout are the signature style of jewelry artist Ann Allen. Drawing from ancient symbolism to create her line, she thinks of them as talismans or good luck charms for women who love to collect her beautiful and inspiring jewelry.
Allen recalls her background in printmaking, describing herself as a detail person who would spend hours drawing tiny lines and shapes to form larger designs. This translated into her metalwork, and became more meaningful when she discovered a book on ancient symbols while at graduate school in New Paltz, New York. By chance, she also found an electric engraving tool at a yard sale, and began to draw those symbols on her jewelry.
She says, “I see in my mind’s eye a shape – and in a few hours it’s in my hand as a three dimensional object.” When starting on a new piece, she doesn’t plan ahead. “The flow of the piece is the flow of my pen,” she explains.
Her symbols are taken from many sources: Runic characters, hieroglyphics, and motifs taken from Native American, African and Aboriginal societies. Interspersed with her engraving are semi-precious stones which add a bit of color and whimsy to the handcrafted jewelry.
She speaks of her intention to inspire and encourage women with her art. A goddess-themed line of jewelry that she designed is reminiscent of ancient fertility symbols. Words and messages flow from her engraving pen, with quotes such as “Remember your power, don’t give it away” and “Into the vast and great unknown, boldly go.”
Allen draws on the back of her jewelry as well as the front, intent of finishing both sides and considering the power of the inscription as an integral part of each individual piece of jewelry. Not every piece matches, though. Each earring of a set may have different symbols. “I celebrate the quirks,” she explains.
Not surprisingly, her line of collectible jewelry has been carried by many of her gallery accounts for fifteen to twenty years. She talks about the importance of the artist/gallery relationship, and the partnership that is necessary for success.
Some of her secrets for keeping a long-term business relationship going:
- Never undercut your retailers
- Always ship orders on time (even if you have to use next day air)
- Do repairs on your work at reasonable cost
- Respect exclusivity
- Change your line by at least 30% each year
- Get to know your gallery buyers personally
This modern-day jewelry shaman says that she truly believes in magic – and in our opinion, she is creating it every day with a truly superb and inspirational collection of handcrafted work.
Ann Allen is developing a website, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 345-1528.