This special pair of earrings is a collaboration with the JB Blunk Estate and the New York-based ceramic artist, Simone Bodmer-Turner. Blunk made the original pair in his Inverness, California studio using ivory and gold: a Valentine's Day gift for his wife, Christine Nielson. Though Blunk hand-carved the beads from a tusk given to the couple by Nielson's mother in the 1970s, we asked Bodmer-Turner if she could reinterpret the forms of the beads using her chosen medium of clay. The result is a ceramic bead hand-carved by Bodmer-Turner that combines a feeling of her distinct, biomorphic sculptural style with Blunk's organic, wabi-sabi approach, fitted with fine, 18k recycled goldwork that reproduces Blunk's exactly. The bead in carved from white stoneware and finished in the signature slightly crackled, matte cream glaze that coats Bodmer-Turner's design line of vessels.
JB Blunk (1926–2002) never made his jewelry commercially; rather, he crafted unique pieces for those women closest to him: his wife, daughter and dear friends. Blunk’s art practice began in 1950 in Japan where he apprenticed with Japanese National Treasures Kitaoji Rosanjin and Kaneshige Toyo. When he returned to California in 1954, he began designing and fabricating jewelry at Palos Verdes College in Los Angeles where he also taught ceramics.
When Bodmer-Turner moved to New York she began taking ceramics classes in her spare time. Eight years later—having honed her craft at ceramics residencies in Japan and Oaxaca—she runs a custom-outfitted studio in Brooklyn where she focuses on handbuilt sculptural forms. Her collection of functional vessels is sold throughout New York City and the US, Tokyo, Paris, Melbourne, and Antwerp. Her sculptural works have been published widely and shown at the Architectural Digest Design Show, New York Design Week, Paris Design Week and Milan Design Week.
The construction and faithful reproduction of Blunk's gold-smithing was undertaken by jewelry designer Tess Young.
18k recycled gold and ceramic earrings
Beads made in Brooklyn by Simone Bodmer-Turner; Constructed by Tess Young
Based on a unique piece made by JB Blunk in the 1970s