Design of the Times: Brandon Holschuh & Ron Hami

JCK Tucson is not that far away! I can hardly wait for the juicy gems, desert vistas, and beautiful jewelry! The artists represented are so interesting and so varied, it will be like a veritable gallery of emerging and established talent.

Brandon Holschuh

Brandon Holschuh creates small sculptures from jewelry (and actual large sculptures), with layer upon layer of metal colors and textures, and the subtle gleam of gemstones. The metal is raw, supporting concave hollows that give peekaboo views of the treasures within. Brandon’s jewelry invites exploration and a desire to know what is hidden in the shadows. Entirely handmade in his studio in Ohio, the jewelry bears his workmanship in every detail.

How long have you been making jewelry?
I’ve been making jewelry since I was about 12 years old.

And the impetus to start this was…
It was always about the history of the material. In the beginning it was specimens, beads, artifacts, and they all had a story. Each piece had a provenance. I was the storyteller. The jewelry was a means, or a vehicle, to present the artifact. That is what got me started.

I heard a rumor that you literally handmake each component of your work (starting with ingots!), and even make your own tools. Is this true, and how does this affect your overall aesthetic and philosophy?
It sounds incredibly cliché, but I really let the metal tell me what it wants to be. A lot happens during the process of alloying material, pouring ingots, rolling and drawing out the metal. I use cues from the material and embrace the subtle imperfections that happen along the way. These faults usually become design focal elements. This philosophy is right in line with making one-of-a-kind work. It becomes more difficult to maintain that aesthetic with production work; that’s why we mostly make one-of-a-kinds.

What is your current fave in terms of material(s)?
I’m probably the only guy you’ll meet who is currently in a romantic relationship with diamonds. It’s really like a beautiful fireworks display going off in my mind every time I get to work with them. They have been slowly creeping into the designs pretty steadily for the last few years. That’s why I’ve decided to make the shift from the craft-show scene to the designer luxury-goods market. Hence the reason why I’m so excited to be exhibiting at JCK Tucson. Diamonds and gold. Diamonds. And. Gold.

Since you also work in sculptures, I’m curious to know what is your favorite jewelry type—rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces/pendants, brooches—to fabricate and what lends itself most to your designs.
I love making brooches. They don’t sell as fast as rings and earrings, but I just love making them. I usually wear a large sculptural piece on my suit- jacket lapel. That is the way I still keep connected to my roots as a sculptural contemporary jeweler, as brooches allow a larger, more sculptural finished piece that is still wearable.

I’ll be looking for your man-brooch at JCK Tucson! Your pieces are truly one-of-a-kinds in their finishes and how each piece turns out organically. How have you jumped that breach between jewelry as artistic sculpture and a brand that is accessible and wearable?
Watching the evolution of the work is fascinating, even to me. It is such a freeing experience to stay inside of my aesthetic and yet be free to explore new designs, new materials, and push the work past boundaries. The work began as sculptural forms, pod shapes or vessels made in copper. Then they were silver. Then they were silver with gold. Then gold. Now I’m making the same work in palladium and platinum. It’s still me, the designs are true to the aesthetic: You can still see the mark of the maker and easily distinguish the work coming out of our studio. I find it just amazing that the work has evolved so far and maintained the same cohesive aesthetic. It’s perfection.

What kind of retailer or atelier is a good fit for your work?
A small jewelry boutique shop with enthusiastic clients who embrace well-designed, handmade pieces.

Why are you excited about JCK Tucson?
This is my first JCK show. I’m in the new-designer gallery. I’ve also never been to gem week in Tucson, so I don’t know how I’m going to balance taking it all in, finding new sources, and writing orders all at the same time. I think I’m going to stay an extra few days after JCK.
I’m also really excited to meet buyers from some of the finest retailers in the industry.

Brandon Holschuh Brandon Holschuh Brandon Holschuh

Ron Hami

Los Angeles–based Ron Hami makes jewelry that strikes a balance between being approachable and a little edgy. You see this in his rings: Some use geometric, stylized motifs like feathers (Plumage), and some are in an open cuff style that invites you to stack. His designs feature positive and negative space in their interesting outlines, and I especially love the earrings that incorporate long exposed wires as an elegant part of the design. Mouth-watering, colorful gems nestle in intriguing geometric outlines and take up space in inventive ways.

You have a history in the vibrant Los Angeles jewelry-manufacturing district. Is the jewelry still made in L.A.?
Most of our manufacturing is still being produced locally. We are fortunate to have found a Parisian-owned factory overseas that will guide us into the new year with exciting new manufacturing possibilities.

Is there anything about Los Angeles that informs your jewelry designs? What else serves as inspiration for your jewelry?
What L.A. does is give me a relaxed point of view in the jewelry we design.
I’ve always been a minimal designer playing with shapes. It’s wonderful to see so many artists play with this aesthetic in their designs. It’s like a circle of inspiration.

Do you have a key thought or lesson learned since launching your Ron Hami brand that you could share with emerging artists just starting out with a jewelry line?
Learn to evolve. Be genuine and pray.

What new design or collection are you most excited about?
Let’s keep that on the down-low…

What are you looking for in retailers who might carry your work?
Not to be afraid to show their clients something different.

What excites you most about participating in JCK Tucson?
It’s my first time, so I think the unexpected is what’s exciting: the unknown.

You started this brand as an homage to your father and his jewelry legacy. Where do you see the Ron Hami brand in three years, five years?
I am a person of the moment. But in three to five years I’d love to know that the women who buy our pieces still love what they own.

Ron Hami Ron Hami Ron Hami Ron Hami

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