With a style described as ethereal feminity, Jamie Kole’s hand-sculpted silhouettes glitter with Swarovski crystal elements that illuminate the antique metal lace jewelry at the heart of her work.
In anticipation of her coming reception and trunk show at our gallery on July 24-26, we spoke with Jamie to learn more about her inspiration, process, and her love and connection to Stowe.
Your collection is new to the Stowe Craft Gallery and our customers. Can you talk to us about your jewelry designs?
I would describe my style as ethereal femininity – pretty and magical. There is a strong vintage element inherent in all of my collections, which has been a part of my personal style since my late teens. Growing up, I dressed in vintage clothing and adorned myself in antique accessories. My designs are clean and balanced as well, driven by my Parsons School of Design education and my work as a designer and innovator of new products and packaging in the cosmetics industry.
How would you describe your style and process?
My process always amazes me as I am more of a problem solver in the early phases of each design. I always have many elements thrown haphazardly on my table, and many times I will be struck by the relationship that these elements share and how they relate to each other.
I then begin creating a piece without any plan, and I continue to fix what is NOT working. After many hours, sometimes days, countless adjustments, and spontaneously sparked ideas during this process, I eventually feel excited and peaceful that the piece has satisfied my high expectation and looks perfect to my eye.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz – The magic of her clear sparkly crown, as well as her magnificent glittering gown, is an endless source of inspiration for me. I also find endless inspiration while watching movies from the 1920s through the 1950s. Women were so beautifully dressed and adorned in those days.
We read that you started your career in the cosmetics industry, designing perfume bottles and packaging. How did you transition into making jewelry and what was that like for you?
When I began working in the cosmetics packaging industry, creative companies such as Sephora did not exist, and the opportunity for me to express the fullness of my creative vision would not be possible. I left the industry without a plan, which was very difficult for me as my dream throughout my four years at Parsons was to have my own design firm.
At the same time my then boyfriend proposed. I always knew I would find my wedding dress at Victoria Falls in Soho, my favorite shop that sold high-end vintage collections. The owner of the shop was a fashion designer and featured her magnificent creations as well. On the very day I walked into the store, a sales girl asked me if I needed a job as I was all dressed in my vintage finery and fit right in. At the time, this was a bit of a “step down” from the vision I had for my life, but I’ve always believed that when opportunities present themselves, saying YES is always best. It would be a new adventure. Interestingly enough, without realizing it, I was learning the fashion industry from the inside out. Soon after, I became the manager and buyer for the Soho store, learning wholesale where I would soon find my direction.
Though I loved my work, I was feeling a creative void that needed to be filled. I enrolled in an evening stained glass through continuing ed. Glass art was always a form of beauty that I felt connected with. When receiving assignments to make sunsets, I found myself going off in my own direction utilizing my refined design skills. I made a tiny rectangular box out of clear glass and filled it with many chips of glass that I cut into various shapes. The glass chips moved freely inside of the piece like a clear kaleidoscope. It intrigued me so much that I put a bail on it and wore it as a pendant to work the next day. When the owner of the shop saw it, she asked me where I found such an unusual piece of jewelry. I was shocked that she liked it and when I told her I made it she immediately said, “we can sell those here!” That’s how it all began.
We look forward to having you here in Vermont. Is this your first time visiting?
Stowe is a part of my most cherished childhood memories. My best friend’s dad taught music at the University of Vermont each summer, and I was lucky enough to be invited to stay with the family in the early to mid-1970s. I spent many summers as a teen in Stowe. We stayed in Stowe Hollow one year discovering Emily’s Bridge and made friends with boys who tented out all summer in that area. We befriended the Lackeys, and I remember the jeweler at Sunshine Snowy Day where I bought my first slalom ring. We had another year up near Edson Hill where we rode horses and bikes all summer and ate fondue at The Swiss Pot.
Years later when I had a family of my own, I felt drawn back to Stowe where I left my heart. I wanted for my husband and my daughter to experience the magic that would remain a part of my life always. Last year when my husband and I vacationed back at the Golden Eagle (our place for years), we stopped into the Stowe Craft Gallery on our last day. It was our last stop on the trip, and that’s where this all started! I am so happy to sell my work there now and look forward to the event next week.
What will you be showcasing at the trunk show?
This trunk show will feature a timeline of my collections. I’ll be showing vintage watch crystal shakes, which put me on the map as an innovator in the industry. I was actually the first designer to create the “shake ” crystals free floating inside of glass. They are all limited edition pieces as the watch crystals encasing the stones were hand made in the early 1900s.
I will showcase my classic crystal collection as well – cascading sparkling feminine magic. The Antique French Metal Lace Collection will be also featured, made from rare French Metal lace made in the 1920s and will never be made again. I have developed a technique to weave the lace into my hand made bezels of Swarovski and semi-precious stones. I innovated a process to protect and preserve these rare, coveted textiles.
I will also bring one-of-a-kind hand made working compass pendants from the 1880s. I custom design each piece using old watch fob parts and bits of antique chains, semi-precious stones and other elements that best marry the past with the present.
Join us on July 24-26 for the Jamie Kole artist reception and trunk show. Ms. Kole will be joining us all weekend, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to speak with her, learn more about her beautiful work, and try on her pieces to see the exquisite detail in person. Her work will be available for purchase at the trunk show, and we will continue to carry her collection in the gallery and online.
Artist Reception and Preview
Friday July 24, 5 – 7 pm
Jewelry Trunk Show
Saturday July 25, 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday July 26, 10 am – 1 pm
Stowe Craft & Design
55 Mountain Road Stowe, Vermont
Can’t make it to the trunk show? We now carry Jamie Kole Jewelry on our website here. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for event updates and giveaways leading up to and during the event. To celebrate the addition of Jamie Kole Jewelry at Stowe Craft, we are giving away a spectacular pair of earrings from Ms. Kole’s Antique French Metal Lace Collection. Repost this image on Instagram, follow and tag @stowecraftgallery, and include the #jamiekolejewelry hashtag to win.