Designer Renata Mann explores the mystery of crafty costume jewels. By Meredith Fisher
The words "knit" and "jewelry" usually don't go hand in hand. But designer Renata Mann is on a mission to bring back the tradition of textile arts with a necklace that is far from ancient history. "The process of hand-making is endlessly fascinating to me," says the designer, who grew up in Seattle and later attended the Rhode Island School of Design. "It's a fertile ground for juxtapositions, unexpected connections, and abundant inspiration."
Combining classical knit elements like black silk thread with found objects—in this case, a bundle of multicolored vintage "stones" encased in a delicate black webbing—is just the juxtaposition that Mann was going for. "Much of my inspiration for my work comes directly from the rich history of fiber arts, and its instinctual involvement in the human experience."
And while the process of discovering materials is essential in her designs, the act is also indicative of her desire to create a connection between the piece and its possessor. In this necklace, which is part of the new collection entitled Bijoux Caché, the focus is on how the brilliant sparkle of the rhinestones is somewhat subdued by the soft silk thread, giving the piece a sense of sensuality and mystery. "Given the way my pieces feel against the skin, they're the kind of necklaces you'll definitely want to wear to bed," Mann says.
Designer Renata Mann explores the mystery of crafty costume jewels.