Jenny Topolski, Jewelry Maker
by Lisa Fraser
Jul 06, 2011 | 19649 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dead bugs. Dead bees. Bones. These are the kinds of things many people would not want to wear around their necks or wrists. But Jenny Topolski finds beauty in them, enough to craft exquisite pieces of jewelry to sell at her store.

Please note, however, that the dead insects, which she tastefully transforms into unique, wearable pieces, have completed their natural cycle of life. In other words, no creatures are harmed in the making of her jewelry.

Among Topolski’s most popular pieces are her Colony Collapse necklace series, made with real bees encased in resin. Also popular are her whale and squid necklaces (not made from real animals). And one of her personal favorites, the ouroboros - a circular snake with its tail in its mouth to represent the endless cycle of the world – are also becoming popular. (She embeds them with real, shedded snake skin.)

Her creations are all a part of her point of view that “it doesn’t have to be what we think of as beautiful for it to be beautiful.”

“A dead bug, an animal skeleton, anything that lives can have beauty in it,” she said. “I work with snake skins and, for example, with copper. It’s a rusty material, but I love the way it oxidizes.”

It is this point of view that the 28-year-old struggled with as an upcoming artist well versed in printmaking, drawing, painting, textile printing and ceramics, as well as jewelry making. Her creations all tell some sort of story, and in one way or another relay a message with the organic feel that many of her creations carry.

“At some point [the point of view] has to come out,” she said. “You have to allow it to just be there.”

She gathers inspiration from all over, particularly nature. “There’s always a natural feel,” she said. “But I love skeletons and things like octopuses. It’s not unusual for someone to walk up to me, see my creations and say ‘eww,’ but generally it’s overwhelmingly positive.”

As long as she gets a reaction, she’s okay. It’s part of the job and it’s the only thing the Williamsburg resident felt she could be good at. “I didn’t ever feel like it was a choice for me.”

Topolski, who now resides in Greenpoint, was studying dance in her home state at the University of Maryland before she quickly realized it wasn’t what she wanted to spend her life doing. “Believe it or not visual art is more stable,” she said.

See Topolski's work at her Etsy store or visit her website.

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