She gets to know her clients very well, through emails and conversations. And she gets to the heart of their stories to design pieces that will come to life with such deliberate meaning. “I find this storytelling one of the most exciting and satisfying parts my job,” she says. “It makes each piece unique and very meaningful to the recipient. They have an instant emotional connection to the finished work—to the point where they are moved to tears or uncontrollable squeals of delight! It’s enormously rewarding to be a part of that.”
A two-time Saul Bell Design Award winner, Eva creates miniature worlds in her designs that invite exploration, no different than the escape that can be found in a great book. She buries treasures and little secrets in her pieces, sometimes underneath a glass dome, or peeking out from behind a band of 18K white gold.
“This discovery makes you smile,” Eva says on her website. “There’s a child-like delight in finding something you know others haven’t noticed or will never know about.” Holding one of Eva’s pieces in your hand, you can’t help but ask: What does this mean? What’s the story? What’s around one of the diamond-tipped tubular “buildings” in “Metropolis Snow Globe”? Where are the Argentium™ Silver and 18K gold airplane, boat, ship, truck and train traveling to in “Carouseling Cufflinks”?
The answers? Only the wearers will know.
S: Tell me about the most special piece of jewelry that you own and wear.
E: Although thoughts of designing and creating jewelry are all consuming, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I own and wear very little of it! I wear my wedding ring and a forged silver link bracelet, which was the first piece I ever made. It was made in week two at North Bennet Street School, and is meaningful for that reason. NBSS is such a unique and special place, and I feel greatly indebted to the school and its teachers for a career that I find so deeply satisfying.
S: Do you already know the story behind the design you’re working on? Does the story ever change as you are working?
E: I find out as much as I can about the story behind the commission; often there will be photos of a place or event that will be a huge help to me when designing. I will also do a lot of research around the place or subject. So the story won’t change, but I suppose the way I represent it develops.
S: Tell me about the piece you’re currently working on. What’s the story?
E: I’ve recently finished an engagement ring based on his proposal to her under the stars on an island just off the coast of Queensland, Australia. He put a ribbon around her finger in lieu of a ring. So the engagement ring is based on that.
Another couple wrote love letters to each other for years before their engagement. They would always sign off with a heart and a bird.
So I designed their rings based around those little drawings. Her engagement and wedding rings are rings of feathers and when these two rings are worn side by side, the feathers create heart shapes.His ring is a single feather.
S: Tell me about the process when you work on a commissioned piece. And how important it is to know the ultimate wearer well as you design?
E: In many cases the piece is a surprise for someone, so I talk to their nearest and dearest. But whether I’m working directly with the person who will wear the piece, or with their partner, I go to huge lengths to make sure I know not only their story, but their style. I ask for pictures of the contents of their jewelry box, their favorite clothes, art, furnishings, fabrics etc.—anything that will give me an understanding of their spirit and sense of style.
Most of this communication is done by e-mail. I find it invaluable to have this written reference to return to during the design process. In some cases, those e-mails have run into the hundreds of pages, and I have come to know my clients quite well!
Occasionally the people I have made pieces for continue to correspond with me many, many years later; we become friends.
S: What are you dying to try next?
E: I would love to try enamel! I love color, and it seems to me enamels would open up a world of possibilities.
To learn more about Eva, visit http://www.evamartin.com/.