ORIGINS // Allison Ullmer

We're chatting today with Allison Ullmer of AU Jewelry. Based out of Portland, Allison creates statement making, textured baroque-inspired pieces in sterling silver and 18k gold vermeil.

Enjoy our chat! xo

C9: Why do you make art?

AU: Quite simply I make jewelry because it is the only vocation that fully consumes and balances me. I realized recently that jewelry has been my longest and most ardent love affair. When a form, action and process arises in your dreams, on your walks, in the formation of how your hands move, when you understand that you comprehend the world in objects and negative spaces, you realize you follow that path or go a little crazy . . .

C9: What themes are in your current work?

AU: My work is always partly derived from baroque era patterns that I have amalgamated continuously over the years. In the 2016 line those designs are intermingled with cast coral and webbed forms.

C9: Current obsessions?

AU: I’m currently developing my 2017 collection. This collection will be a mix of sterling, oxidized sterling, gold and stone. New textures including the cholla cactus are starting to become major influences. My true obsession however is a huge raw aquamarine crystal that I purchased as the Tucson Gem and Mineral show that I can’t wait to start carving!!

C9: Best piece of advice you have gotten?

AU: No one ever said being an artist was easy. – Prof. Jamie Bennett

C9: What artwork or artists influence your work?

AU: Lola Brooks, Manfred Bischoff, René Lalique, Ray Griffith

C9: How do you want someone to feel while wearing your work?

AU: I make statement work. Work that gives an added bold presence and luster to the wearer and their surroundings. Elegance, nuance and the avant-garde I embrace, the dainty and subtle I leave for others. I make work for the woman that wants to say I am here. This is me. 

C9: What do you admire in other people?

AU: Humor. The ability to embrace how life can humble you and welcome the lessons that can be learned through that process. I admire those that persevere and find their own equation in this life we are in, rather than following the prescribed path.

C9: How does destruction play a role in your work?

AU: Destruction and chance are my ever present allies One of my all time favorite words is alleatory: depending on the throw of a dice or on chance; random.

 I believe that destruction is very much a random chance of events. It is one of the reasons I have so fully embrace reticulating or slightly melting my work once I have finished cutting out its pattern and forming it over stakes. With an educated guess I have an accord with destruction and ask: what else can happen? What beauty can arise from simply destroying the perfect pattern and form I have just created? From chance so many unexpected and beautiful pieces arise!