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Saturday, March 5, 2011

J. Rudy Lewis Jewelry Searches for Historical and Cultural Truths

Victoria's Cuff in silver and brass with leather.

Metalsmith J. Rudy Lewis had one of the shorter commutes of all the exhibitors at the Buyers Market of American Craft show. That’s because he lives in Philadelphia where the trade show for fine craft and art products was held February 17-21.

Lewis works with gold, silver and leather. He produces jewelry for women, men and children, in some cases his pieces can be worn by either sex. They are roughly finished by hammering and often paired with rough diamonds. His cuffs, whether metal or leather or both, wrap around the arm.

“They are hand-cut and finished myself. The wavy patterns represent an ancient of older look,” he said. "The hammering and wrapping represent ritual.”

His designs and the stories describing his work are influenced by his interest in history and culture. His recent freeform brass, silver and leather cuffs he presented at the show reflect these interests.

For example, his Victoria’s cuff (top photo) has the shape and appearance of a woman’s corset, particularly with the vulture head buttons. It is available in brass and silver and can be matched with hand-fabricated leather. 

His Uluru Dreaming cuff (left) is an even more extreme example of Lewis’ look into the past, an extremely roughly forged metal that looks torn and tattered in some places that is dotted with various rough diamonds. He says the rough diamonds give the cuff a “cave effect,” and that the work is a representation of “history, art and a traveler’s journey.”

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