I love jewelry. I got the bug from my mom who has literally thousands of pieces of costume jewelry. Seriously. And she collects more pieces everyday, from thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. My mom takes to jewelry like a fish to water. So it is no surprise that I have cozied up to a jewelry designer supreme, Amy Lehmann.
Amy and I met about a year ago at this uber swanky fundraiser for the Museo Del Barrio here in NYC. We instantly bonded because, aside from her wearing one of her gorgeous creations around her neck, Amy and I were hopelessly under dressed. I first realized it when a magazine editor mentioned to me that she wore the same dress that I had on to her casual birthday party the year before, and it was secondarily confirmed when this gorgeous vision of a guest floated in with a powdery pink floor length gown with a bustle made entirely of feathers. We have been peas in a pod ever since.
A few weeks ago she invited me to check out a preview of some of her newest jewelry pieces. The shin dig was held at a fantabulous restaurant, Angelo & Maxie’s nesteled between Union Square and Gramercy Park in NYC (if you get a chance go, the food is delish!)
I headed to the back room where Amy’s event, and all of the action was. Weeks before the event she had asked me my ideas for what she should do with the space for the evening and I immediately thought of creating a private library feel, the room’s wood paneling and masculine aesthetic welcomed it, but I had no idea she was going to take that idea to a whole other level!
Her pieces were actually displayed IN books, that’s right, each book was cut perfectly to fit each piece, it was amazing, and so gorgeous (don’t worry, these books were all out-of-commission library books, no priceless antiques here).
The idea was that each piece tells it’s own unique story, no two pieces are the same. Instead she starts with one thing, a broach, a pendant, a fossil or stone for example and builds the piece around it. She often works with clients that are trying to update a family heirloom so that they could wear it every day. So instead of your great aunt Margaret’s brooch living in your jewelry box and only making an appearance during the holidays, Margaret’s brooch can be front and center in a necklace designed just for you. Yes, my friend Amy is clever.
I asked Amy to give us tips for when we tackle our own DIY Jewelry projects:
1. Pick a point of inspiration- be it a stunning pendant or an interesting smaller element- and create from there. Sometimes an unusual seed pod, or tribal bead will speak to me and I build my piece to celebrate that starting point.
2. Play with color- while I am noted for my interesting color palettes, these are the result of much play and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to really mix things up, beautiful outcomes will result.
3. Add texture where possible- I am a very tactile person- so I want people to desire to reach out and explore my work. Texture adds a level of intrigue.
4.Design for yourself- authenticity speaks volumes in all art forms and jewelry is no exception. If you truly love what you are creating, the piece will speak to others.
And here is the recipe for the delicious Portabella Mushroom Stuffing they served at Amy’s shin dig. My stomach growled just thinking about it!
PORTABELLA MUSHROOM STUFFING
1 cup EVOO
¼ cup Minced Shallots
1/3 cup Minced Garlic
1 cup Roasted Red Pepper; medium dice
1 box Portabella Mushrooms
1 box Shiitake Mushrooms
½ box Cremini Mushrooms
1 cup White Cooking Wine
¼ cup minced Chive
¼ cup chopped Fresh Basil
1 cup Fresh Spinach
11 ounces Goat Cheese
1/3 cup Parmigianno Regiano or Grana Padano Cheese; grated
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Remove the stem and gills from the portabellas and the stems from the shiitakes. Slice all mushrooms ¼ inch thick.
- Heat the oil very hot. Add the shallot, garlic and the roasted red pepper. Sear well to lightly brown.
- Add the mushrooms and the wine and cook until the mushrooms are limp. Remove and drain thoroughly. Stir occasionally to cool evenly and make sure as much liquid as possible drains.
- Allow the mixture to cool to around 90 degrees. Crumble the goat cheese and with the grana padano, the spinach, chive and basil fold into the mixture and stir to combine well.
- Season with the salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
- Spread it on bread, serve it in cored our roasted mushrooms, trust me it’s amazing!
Me & my pal Amy (notice no bling on me, yet. I actually scored a piece from Amy later that night!)