Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Real Women Wear Concrete and Pearls

Seattle artist Frances Smersh designs jewelry utilizing rather unconventional materials. Her work currently incorporates concrete, which is colored with dry pigments before being poured into sterling silver bezels and paired with fresh water pearls.

"What IS this?" our customers often ask. They are always thrilled and delighted to learn that this gorgeous jewelry with its clean lines and spicy color is actually make of cement. As Frances likes to say, "Real women wear concrete and pearls!"

Gallery Fifty always has a great selection of earrings, pendants and bracelets. We can also special order rings and cuff links. Give us a call if you're interested in learning more: 231-932-0775.

Fordite or "Detroit Agate"

If you love reused or recycled elements in your jewelry, take a look at this! Fordite (or "Detroit Agate") was taken in its raw form from the spray booth at the Ford River Rouge plant in the late 1970s. Chunks of layered automotive overspray were painstakingly removed from the walls and conveyor, then cut and polished into gems. Patterns emerge from the Fordite depending on the angle of the cut or depth of the polishing. Since technology has replaced the spray booth, Fordite has become increasingly rare and valuable.

Gallery Fifty has an exclusive arrangement with James Blanchard who creates this unique jewelry by setting the gems into his contemporary designs. You can see samples of Jim's other Fordite pieces along with pricing on our website at:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jennifer Trask Trunk Show

I was so thrilled to show the work of Jennifer Trask during the "Getting the Bugs Out" show. In February, she travelled from Ulster Park, New York to our northern Michigan winter wonderland greeted by both collectors and admirers. Gallery Fifty has represented Jennifer since our opening in November 2004, but this was our first trunk show for her and it worked beautifully with our "insects in art" theme.

Perhaps the most astonishing of her collection are her brooches made with Japanese beetle shells. At first glance the shells look like cabochons, highly polished and unfaceted. Trask transforms an otherwise detested, wily insect into something to be admired by the simplicity of its sheer beauty.

Jennifer makes one-of-a-kind jewelry objects and sculpture that exploit the inherent beauty of natural materials. Her work results from a passion for discovery, study and contemplation of the material world. The objects are not only a collection of textures and colors, but also a personal taxonomy of visual or conceptual relationships.

Check out for more information and images of her work.

Pest in Show

Congratulations to Rufus Snoddy who created "Ito, the Mosquito" for the Getting the Bugs Out show. This award was part of a purchase prize and will be added to the collection of customers from Indiana. Honorable mentions were awarded to Joan Gallagher Richmond, Melonie Steffes-Callaghan, Dorothy Anderson-Grow, Desiree Vaughn and Charles Murphy.

Gallery Fifty is putting up a retrospective exhibition and sale of Rufus' work in June 2007. Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine, also plans to feature him with an extensive article that month. Look for our virtual exhibition later this year.

Time to Bug Out

Can't believe it's already time to take down the bug show. Three months in the planning and it's already over. I was very pleased with the outcome — thirty-five artists participating in many different media. I'll keep the virtual exhibition up on our website in case you missed it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

One to watch

This painting, "Sheltered Space," is a painting from our March/ April show with emerging artist, Renee Hartig. The land is an inspiring element in her work, and she tries to show it as not only beautiful, but altered by man's influence. Whether it is a simple empty plain or busy orchard with telephone lines traversing it, she feels that the often-overshadowed land is interconnected and equally as important as the modern technology that we have woven through it.

Renee earned a BFA from the Kendall College of Art and Design and currently works as an instructor with her alma mater in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We're thrilled to introduce this new talent to our market, and I predict she will go the distance as a full-time working artist.

Check our her website: