I was told I had to meet Deirdre of Featherstone Designs by one of the artists. Deirdre is an award winning platinum smith and woman jewelry designer. I looked at her website and contacted her on Tuesday after our first interview. There was no answer at the studio.
I always ask each artist who they think I should interview or someone they admire. I was told me that Deirdre was an incredible artist, and a fundraising, hell raising, jewelry biker chick, and I knew immediately I had to meet her and include her in this project.
I had one time slot remaining for an interview on Wednesday afternoon. We find a local restaurant that had Matzoh Ball Soup and Greek Salads. It was another clear bitter cold day and we tucked ourselves into a very busy place for lunch. The soup is soul satisfying and the Greek salad fresh.
I look at Hardy and say, "I am going to try one more time to contact Deirdre", so I take my phone into the tiniest bathroom ever, and I make the call. Good afternoon, I start, startled that Deirdre's studio manager answers the phone. I was referred to you by .....
"OMG we would love to be included in your book!" We set up an appointment in Tribeca for 3:00 that afternoon.
Our Uber gets us to the location of her studio and we are there a few minutes early. I always practice what I am going to say to the artist when I walk in the door to break the ice, and to open up the conversation. It's a great way to build trust.
As we walk up the steps to the door, we ring the doorbell and wait in the now brutal cold wind. A UPS driver in his truck behind us calls to us, Featherstone Design is next door. I turn around and look at him and he smiles big and says "I am good like that!" and we share a laugh. We walk to the next door over, and ring the buzzer.
Deirdre flings open the door, a tall impressive woman with massive amounts of wild blonde hair and paraiba tourmaline colored glasses. I stretch my arm out to shake her hand in the foyer, and say" I was the owner of a 1978 Moto Guzzi V-50 red motorcycle named Columbine, and she laughs and grabs me and whisks us into her beautiful living room style, into the warm comfort of her studio. We sit at her giant work table, and howl in laughter as I examine every piece she has laid out for me to see. I am stunned that she is able to hand build every milligrain platinum component and moving part which, as a bench jeweler myself, I can hardly imagine. Every little opening is hand cut, and moves independently from the other pieces. She wears a pair of platinum pearl and diamond earrings that shimmer like water as she moves. The studio is buzzing with activity.
Deirdre is like the glowing sun in the Caribbean as she beams with pride and excitement to discuss her jewelry. She is thrilled to also be recognized for the dedicated and skillful artist that she is. Her daughter is one of the greatest motivators and inspirations of her life.
As a woman jewelry designer and craftsperson, she embodies everything I hope for in this book and exhibition.