On a recent trip to NYC, I was fortunate enough to connect with jewelry designer Jane Bohan in her bright, lovely SoHo studio. Filled with art, sculpture and bits of treasure collected over a lifetime, the space itself is inspirational. I had a great time looking through her collections and getting to know her through her art.
I was at first almost overwhelmed with the variety of the fully formed collections, with names like Opalescent Waters, Blush Pastels, and Exotic Woods. Then I started to notice the consistencies of her design principles: warm, rich textures in the metals, with finishes that almost look as if grafted directly from nature. Many of the gems she uses have an interesting internal dialogue. And all of the jewelry was tactile and infinitely wearable.
Jane has been making jewelry since 1983, a natural extension of her upbringing surrounded by art. She continues to hone her design aesthetic, with new collections, themes, and lovely pieces that reinvent how jewelry can feel and what it can represent as wearable art. Her current collections span beautiful necklaces with faceted and carved gems and wood, sculptural pendants and earrings, lots of richly-hued gemstones, and beautiful engagement rings and wedding bands that are arresting and classic. Surrounded by textures, treasures, light, and memories, I can see that she’ll be inspired for a long time to come.
Jane Bohan Interview
I had some questions for Jane about finding inspiration and being an artist in New York City. This is an excerpt from the full interview, which you can read here at CJDGjewelers.org, a website of fantastic independent jewelers where Jane is a member and I am an Editor.
idazzle.com: You grew up in the Midwest. Where are you from, geographically and metaphorically speaking?
Jane Bohan: I’m from Galesburg, IL. I still have family there. My family, with my Father collecting art and my Mother making art, probably informed my perspective more than the area I grew up in.
Your connection to jewelry is natural, since your mother made jewelry, but you also studied sculpture at RISD. What about jewelry made you focus on it specifically as a medium?
Pretty early on, I found that sculpture was kind of unmanageable. As I took jewelry and metalsmithing classes as part of the department, I found that jewelry as a creative outlet allows for lots of variety. I gradually transitioned from working with metal sculptures to precious metals and colored gemstones.
How does New York City, and SoHo specifically, figure into your inspiration and direction?
I think it’s a tremendous advantage to be living and working here. It’s better for my and my husband’s careers, as we both are artists. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by so much energy. And 47th Street [the Diamond District] is a very valuable resource of industry knowledge, skill and design.