Babette Reynolds is a jewelry artist and metalsmith. Babette’s work is known for its combination of vintage jewelry elements with semi-precious stones and crystal, creating pieces that are elegant and rustic, with an industrial-chic edge and a little sparkle. Many of her pieces incorporate authentic vintage jewelry elements from the 1940’s, ‘50s and ‘60s, which Babette finds in flea markets and antique shops on her travels. Babette has studied metalsmithing, enameling and forging at the Penland School of Craft in Penland, North Carolina. Babette’s work can be found at Horizon Fine Art Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming. Originally from the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, Babette currently creates her designs in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and in Jackson, Wyoming.
Artist Statement (April 2016)
Beauty Lies in the Brokenness
I have been an artist and artisan my whole life, and have been led to make jewelry for the past 15 years. I am drawn to vintage and found objects, especially those that are broken, damaged or tarnished. I enjoy finding bits of rosary chain, imperfect amethysts and chalcedony, tarnished charms from a lost bracelet, vintage earrings tossed in a drawer and long forgotten, and pocket watches for which time now stands still. I see and accept these things for what they are – broken and irrevocably altered – and yet I know that something beautiful can be make from their brokenness.
My work reflects my way of looking at life. I have been called an optimist, and willingly take this label, but I am not the kind of optimist that likes sugarcoating or wishful thinking. I want to see the broken parts and the tarnished edges for what they are, and bear witness to lost chances, broken hearts and tragic mistakes. I want to know the truth, no matter how painful, because it is real. My optimism derives from my knowledge that beauty and richness can be wrought from the remnants that regret, pain and sorrow leave behind. The life that is lived in the aftermath will be more meaningful and interesting, and ultimately more joyful.
Each piece of jewelry I create is a testament to this philosophy: that from the broken parts, something deeper, richer and more beautiful will emerge.
Last year, I had the good fortune to discover the poem “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen. In this poem, Mr. Cohen captures this notion of beauty in brokenness so well:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Can’t you see it too? Beauty lies in the brokenness.
Time Stood Still Collection – Inspiration Statement
All eternity is in the moment.
— Mary Oliver
Each of us recalls special moments that remain with us always: the first time we hold our newborn child, the stunning vista of a mountain lake glimpsed at the end of the trail, the laughter of family at a special Thanksgiving dinner, or the camaraderie of a perfect day skiing with friends. The vintage watch movements in my Time Stood Still collection remind us that time can stand still in our memories. In each piece I incorporate various vintage elements and found objects, which are often broken, damaged or tarnished, reflecting my belief that from the broken remnants, something beautiful will emerge. The resulting works in this collection are a tribute to the moments in our lives that we “etch into our hearts with permanent ink.”1