June 2012

Susan Cummins

Susan Cummins ‘What is your favorite piece of jewelry and how does it reflect your whole collection?’ I am thrilled to answer the question. In truth I have many favorite pieces of jewelry that are held in a trust called the Rotasa Collection Trust. But I rarely get the chance to talk about any of […]

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Lola Brooks: charted territories

Lola Brooks Sienna Gallery located in Lenox, Massachusetts, is owned and run by Sienna Patti, a youngish and ambitious dealer. She grew up in a family atmosphere filled with the ethos of the American craft community and started her business while still in her teens. Sienna is a member of the AJF board and an active member of the international jewelry community. She featured Lola Brooks that the SOFA New York 2012 fair. The show, called charted territories, was installed using furniture and objects taken directly from Lola’s personal holdings. The display added a lot of information about the pieces and about Lola herself, who kindly agreed to answer my questions.


Susan Cummins: Where did you study? Did you have a mentor there?

Lola Brooks: I studied with Myra MImlitsch-Gray and James Bennett at SUNY New Paltz, where I got my BFA. It was inspiring to work with two professors who were as engaged in their pedagogical pursuits as they were in their careers as prolific artists. They were both incredibly influential in shaping me into the artist I am today, sometimes similarly and sometimes in very different ways. I was so fortunate to get to work with James as his assistant for a number of years, cutting my teeth on his gold and learning the finer points of composition among a million other things. We had an incredible working relationship. His material irreverence left its fingerprints all over me and my work, manifesting itself in my flagrant disregard for – and obsession with – conventional notions of preciousness and craftsmanship.

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Susan Beech

Susan Beech Susan Beech from Tiburon, California, wears jewelry with elegance and finesse. She is a passionate collector of art jewelry and a good friend. Early on in her quest for pieces to add to her collection she stopped into my gallery in Mill Valley, California and started buying things. Since then she has explored many parts of the world looking for things that make her heart go pitter pat. For a complete interview with her see the Collecting section of our site. In the meantime you can read about her Collector’s Choice.    


Over the years I have collected paintings, art deco everything, photographs, sculpture and ceramics. I didn’t intend to collect jewelry until I saw some original studio jewelry, pieces very different than what my friends were wearing. As I became more educated about the field, I gravitated toward more challenging work, unconventional jewelry materials and subject matter. Soon I realized I was a collector of contemporary jewelry. It is not possible to wear a painting or sculpture, but I do wear jewelry from my collection every day, even some of the more demanding pieces. Some might say I wear too many pieces at the same time but it speaks to my passion.

I have a great respect for the jewelry artists and it has been honor to meet and talk to so many of them about their ideas. When I wear a piece from my collection, I feel I am promoting their work in particular and contemporary jewelry in general by taking it our in the world, sharing my passion and encouraging people to ask questions.

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