This month I talked with Artefact Redux artist, Teresa Annabelle about her romantic jewelry confections. Full disclosure: Teresa and I have had a couple of really great conversations concerning the awesomeness of all that is jewelry at one of my favorite local jewelry supply shops Bead Here Now. Teresa, too, is an assemblage artist like myself. She appreciates the history and unique stories that vintage and antique components have to offer. Listening to (in this case reading about) Teresa talk about her use of historical items helps one to realize it’s not about a history that is recognized by a large group of people that has been edited and compiled in a book that matters. It is our personal histories, our family histories, our love histories, our ‘everything’ histories that truly matter.
Urban Atelier: Talk about Artefact Redux a little and how it got started.
Artefact Redux:The name and cohesion was born of my husband and I, sometime in ’06. I still have the napkin from IHOP where we doodled up names and logos one too-late night. He was an artist and musician. I’d been creating jewelry since grade school. We had this shared love of the rusty and dusty and old and it wasn’t enough to simply place the items on a shelf.
Urban Atelier: Artefact Redux uses vintage and antique items in its creations. Why are these types of items your media of choice?
Artefact Redux: Jewelry has always fascinated me. The older, the better. My grandmother had a lifetime's worth of fantastic pieces that lived in a tall jewelry wardrobe. I would sit on her bed and stare at the sparkling rhinestone brooches and stroke the pearls, treasured for their stories and history as much as for their beauty.
So I was well groomed for a lifelong love affair with the grand and romantic designs of the past. But…I grew up dirt poor, the kind of poor that isn’t cute or funny. My folks were super and did everything they could. We never wanted for the necessities and I still haven’t found anything to beat my mother’s cooking or the taste of a tomato straight from the backyard garden. But there certainly wasn’t any money for the expensive jewelry my classmates were wearing. So I started looking around me for different places to find pretties: thrift stores, yard sales, the cast offs of others. When that wasn’t enough – because even in middle school creating jewelry is addicting – I got inspired by doll furniture, origami and other small non-traditional trinkets.
As I got older and learned more about crafting in general and jewelry specifically, the massive scale of consumption by the average hobbyist flew in the face of the sparse, “waste not, want not” way that my creating had evolved. So decreasing my “footprint” became a core tenet.
Urban Atelier: I know that you have strong ties to the local arts community having a space at Fans & Stoves [a local antique|vintage|artist mall] as well as working at Bead Here Now. Have these relationships influenced your work in any way?
Artefact Redux: I don’t feel very connected to local arts, especially since my husband’s passing. But I wonder if everyone, even those I view as being in the thick of things, don’t feel the same way. It is so hard to stay focused sometimes on the creating and I recognize that I’ve become quite the recluse so I usually choose the less draining option of sitting at home and creating.
But, in answer in to your question, having the space at Fans & Stoves is a symptom of the jewelry, as I was a customer for years (decades?) before I became part of the crazy family that is that place. It is a great place for supplies, and being able to touch and see things in person beats etsy or ebay any day. Bead Here Now was such a serendipitous blessing. The day I landed the job I wasn't even looking, but that’s how the best ones happen. I love working in such a welcoming and creative environment and discovering other local creatives. And thankfully, because my work is driven by vintage and antique elements, I am not nearly so tempted to blow my entire paycheck on the beads as others might [be].
Urban Atelier: What are the biggest influences on your work?
Artefact Redux: Man, so many! It really fluctuates. Five or six years ago, all I wanted to see was Mucha and Lalique. I wanted to drown in those lines and colours. Right now, my lifelong passion for Egyptology and my husband’s Kemeticism are really driving me to create simpler, more spiritually inclined pieces. Textiles inspire me constantly as little-girl me dreamed of being a fashion designer and I still dabble in a bit of reconstruction. Feminine strength, whimsy and darkness seem to be the prevailing themes on my Pinterest boards.
Urban Atelier: Recycling various items to create artwork is a popular trend right now. Do you think it's a trend that's here to stay or a passing fad? And why?
Artefact Redux: Like yourself and other artists who reuse and re-imagine probably have, I've pondered this at length. I suspect it has already begun to wane in some parts of the country. But that’s the thing about trends – they’re fickle and by the very nature of today’s society “what’s trending” isn't supposed to last. And if that means that Michael’s and other big box stores and their manufacturers move on to another aesthetic or principle to co-op and subvert for their gain, I am okay with that. In the meantime I’m going to keep doing my thing and if every one of us inspires just one other person to shift their perspective on what non-couture jewelry “should” be constructed from, our planet will be a little bit more awesome.
Urban Atelier: What type of impact do you believe or hope that you have by doing the type of work that you do?
Artefact Redux: I hope that myself and other artists with similar principles and aesthetics can bring exposure to the rich history and resources that are so readily available. I hope that we can inspire others to look beyond the mass produced and utilize the wealth of unique and history-heavy elements that surround us. So much is tossed aside and ignored to languish in the shadows, in favour of cycling faster and faster through the new and bland. I wish more people would risk a glance into those shadows, and find the stories and pasts that should be revered and learned from.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this thing we do. While there are many assemblage artists in the area who are focused on non- wearable sculpture, every chance to highlight us jewelry artists is a blessing.
If you want to see or find out more about Teresa's work you can make it happen here: