Like you, JESSICA deGRUYTER has always collected the ephemeral—those things that turn to dust in time. From a studio tucked into the back of a rambling garden in Albuquerque, NM, deGruyter works with traditional jewelry making tools and techniques, crafting modern-day curiosity cabinets, meant to display object and to hold space for memory. Her grandmother’s acetylene torch and chasing stamps handmade from rebar remnants inspire her work as much as the strange and lovely found objects that distinguish it. As a self-taught and self-guided artist, she studies her craft through workshops, books, and experimentation with unusual materials.
It is especially where the so-called natural world interfaces with the trappings of humanity that provokes deGruyter’s work. Fascinating and collectable gem and mineral specimens, acrylic rescued from the waste stream, tiny machine nuts and bolts, and wing and petal that show signs of a life-well-lived, allude to the human inclination to both worship and exploit Nature—to preserve its beauty and obliterate its inconvenience. Clear acrylic angles recall power-lines fragmenting the moving sky; faceted gems and water smooth granite are robins chortling in the gutter after a big rain; multi-layered and multi-colored vitreous enamel surfaces evoke the chimerical character of the desert cityscape. The result is jewelry that challenges our notion of what constitutes a gem, and recasts what may be considered precious by inviting us to examine the everyday in an elevated way.
deGruyter opened her Etsy shop, Found: in Albuquerque, in 2010, and began setting up at small markets and pop-ups around New Mexico. In 2014, she quit her day-job in order to pursue the life of a full time artist. Her work has been published in Belle Amore Jewelry Magazine (Winter 2017, Spring 2018), and she was recently invited to exhibit at the American Craft Council Show in St. Paul, MN for the first time in 2018.
~ “Love these more everyday. They are light and go with everything. Really beautifully made with a wonderful urban cabinet of curiosity aesthetic.”
~ “Extremely creative in all aspects from the jewelry to the packaging and presentation. Absolutely love her work.”
~ "These earrings were so fantastic that I immediately ordered the 2nd pair I was contemplating. Visually stunning. Packaged like a gift. Love, Love!"
~ "Besides loving the unusual and stunning earrings themselves, FoundinAlbuquerque was a great shop to work with. The earrings were sent promptly arriving within a few days via USPS. The earrings were wrapped with great care to ensure they were protected, and with a lot of attention to detail. I'm thrilled with them...they are exactly as represented in the photographs. Every bit as detailed, unique, and lovely."
~ "My wife loved the earrings and, as a jeweler, so did I. The enamel and stones are even better in person and they can be worn 3 different ways, making them very versatile. They are perfect fairy earrings!"