Brooklyn jewelry maker Christine MacKellar calls her work “contemporary organic.” Her inspiration is nature, but she’s not interested in “literal representations.”
Growing up on a dairy farm in the midlands of England, MacKellar said she naturally absorbed the subtle patterns of the changing seasons. Her approach to design is rooted in the observation of these small changes. She is fascinated with natural repetitions, and she plays with iterations of shape.
“Abstracting from this endless resource,” she said, “I fuse gold to silver in precise designs, and texture the patterned metal with a rolling mill to provide the material to fabricate the work. The work is then focused on dimensional form using a subtle color palate to create distinctive wearable jewelry.”
MacKellar uses sterling silver and 18K gold in shades of green, yellow and rose pink. She combines the different alloys for their color values, and she textures the surface using hammers, engraving tools and the rolling mill. She then forms the bimetal using anticlastic techniques, combining traditional metal working and stone setting to create striking, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Mackellar earned a bachelor’s degree in jewelry making and 3D design from the Hallam University, School of Art and Design, in South Yorkshire, England, in the 1970s. She continued to train in England and subsequently New York for several years. In 1980, she opened her design and production jewelry studio in Brooklyn.
This acclaimed jewelry maker is best known for her interesting bangles, with their juxtaposition of the mixed metals. Her work wears well from jeans to evening attire. The bracelets, which range from simple unadorned accent pieces to more dramatic ones fitted with stones, look wonderful worn stacked in a group.
MacKellar wants women to feel “confident and comfortable” in her jewelry. “Once on, the jewelry should feel great as well as look great,” she said.