Designer Spotlight: Rebecca Myers

When I landed the role as JCK’s Design Ambassador, Rebecca Myers was one of my first calls. Her work moves me, and I figured it would be fun to use JCK Tucson as an excuse to call her and talk shop. We had a really interesting conversation and she brought up some valid points about the Design Center and what she’d like see in JCK’s future. She presented quite a few challenges, but I’m proud to report we’ve come through. The JCK Events team is fantastic, and I’ve been floored watching a large conglomerate move with such dexterity to better handle the needs and requests of their jewelers. It was fun to circle back to her a few months later. “Really?” she exclaimed. “Really,” I said. You asked, we listened, and now we are delivering a remarkable show in Tucson with one of my all-time favorite talents, the incredible Rebecca Myers.

Could you tell us more about your inspirations?

I believe that we are intrinsically drawn to the natural world. Since starting my jewelry line in 1997, I’ve strived to capture the perfect and imperfect balance that exists in nature. Fine jewelry doesn’t have to be intimidating or expected. My work features contrasts in texture, color, and materials, so I work in pure or high-karat metals and often feature raw or atypical stones and patterns. I find sublime beauty in coaxing the potential out of natural forms.

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Cheetah cuff in 18k yellow gold, palladium, and oxidized silver with 3 cts. t.w. yellow diamonds

Where is your work created?

My studio is in a converted mill space in Baltimore, a city that is teeming with great neighborhoods, a dynamic artist community, award-winning restaurants, theater, urban gardens, and serious creative energy. The studio, with its 20-foot ceilings, big bright windows, and exposed brick walls, brews with ideas, inspiration, and pieces at all stages of being made. Stacks of colorful silicon rubber molds sit on a shelf. They chronicle my fascination with flowers, seed pods, leaves, and other simple forms that are interpreted throughout my work.

Is all of your jewelry handmade?

I touch each piece of jewelry and have an intimate participation in the formation of the materials. Many of my pieces start with a casting and have many fabrication steps thereafter. I am fortunate to employ a small team of talented, conscientious bench jewelers who understand my design process.

When did you discover you wanted to be a jeweler?

While attending Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. I had to fulfill a craft requirement, and I picked jewelry. I quickly discovered that I had an aptitude for the medium. While other students were burning their hair, setting their clothes on fire, and melting their work, I was actually putting things together. So I pursued with more commitment. By the time I graduated in 1991, I had already sold my first line of work.

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Cheetah bangles in 18k yellow gold, palladium, and oxidized silver with 0.7 ct. t.w. yellow diamonds

What impression do you hope to make upon your audience with your art?                                                                                                                                             

As a studio jeweler, my work stands apart from what is often thought of as traditional fine jewelry. By producing thoughtful, traceable designs right here in Baltimore, I am able to maintain an integrity to my work that my clients recognize and invest in. The nuances of each piece are celebrated. That’s something I feel very strongly about and will not compromise.

My work appeals to women who view nature as a fundamental part of their philosophy and the way they experience the world. I enjoy finding that balance of playful sophistication mixed with classic design that will complement a woman’s style for years to come.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

Keeping business consistent is a challenge in any small business. The fluctuation in metal prices over the years has been challenging. I started my business when gold was less than $300 per troy ounce. I have had to design my way through that price increase by incorporating silver into the line in order to remain at a reasonable price point. That design and material switch changed the design identity that I had already established. It was a challenge to get my collection to a point where it was again identifiable as Rebecca Myers. Not to mention audits and painful business lessons that give credence to the saying “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Failure, as painful as it is, is often the best teacher!

Any advice for emerging designers?

Don’t design for your own wallet. I started my business when I was relatively young. I was a recent graduate from Tyler School of Art with a mountain of school debt. I was often stymied by my inability to imagine being able to afford the pieces I made. A fellow artist told me to overlook my current circumstances because my clients were not recent college grads with school debt. She was right. Woody Allen was right: A large portion of success is due to showing up. If you throw more noodles at the wall than your competition, you will have more that stick.

Why are you excited for JCK Tucson?

New show. New opportunities!

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Sapphire ring in 18k yellow gold with pink sapphire and 0.5 ct. t.w. diamonds