ASH JEWELRY: ALL FANCE, NO FUSS
Rarely does every woman in our family agree on a piece of jewelry. Rarely does an artist’s work seem to speak to each viewer individually, and with equal force. From young girls to grand dames, ultra-fine handmade gold-dipped porcelain ASH Jewelry hits the perfect note, somewhere between modernity, simplicity, and have-to-have-it touchable luxury.
There are tiny, sweet almost nothings for the little babes, and bolder, more eye-catching pieces for the grown up gals. Porcelain’s smooth matte texture with bright gold glaze create a contrast that must be felt, worn, celebrated. This juxtaposition of materials, along with ASH’s geometric lines, makes each piece accessible, “wearable modern art;” it’s opulence without pretension. And we think we know why her work has such a wide and deep appeal: this is a woman who believes in herself and others. Says she, “I believe in…being satisfied in who we are, because we are amazing.” Boom. What’s not to love about that philosophy, especially when it’s got a gold glaze on it?
Based in her home studio in sunny blue North Carolina, Ashlee Meadows got her BFA in Ceramics from Brigham Young University, but felt the pull of art and design early on. Says Meadows, “I have always had an innate need to create. I also love texture. In order to understand an object I must feel it with my fingers. Especially as a child, I had to touch everything. Just ask my mom. She always knew which of her six children left the little fingerprints in the otherwise perfect pumpkin pie cooling on the stove.”
This insatiable touchy-ness explains Ashlee’s “mild to moderate obsession with clay,” and her clay of choice is undoubtably smooth, silky porcelain. For the little girl who used to sleep with a satin ribbon rather than, say, a velveteen rabbit or a plushy pup, the trajectory to the clean, matte feeling of porcelain was direct, and quick. (And, we’re happy to say, seemingly predestined. As predestined, perhaps, as buying ASH’s gold and teal hexagon earrings as soon as this piece is finished).
Meadows felt inspired from an early age as well. In addition to her mother, a style maven and staunch supporter of the ASH business, “[Inspiration] comes from everything that I am, everything I see, everything I touch and everything that I make.”
Smooth parts and refined lines belie the intricacies of ASH’s process. From raw, unformed clay to a pendant or earrings ready to be strung or posted (always with 14K gold; Meadows is absolutely thorough in her dedication to the brand’s luxuriousness), her little works endure three firings, and constant, careful precision.
"Each careful step is well worth the effort when I open up the kiln after the last firing to see the matte finish of the unglazed porcelain against the shiny glaze and the brilliant gold luster."
A moment on the wearability of these pieces. Again, we’ve never seen jewelry that goes, not only with so many kinds of women, but also, with every single one of those women’s outfits. We instantly class up a pair of trousers and some slippy shoes, or baggy old jorts and the t-shirt we stole from that dude we ”met” that one time, or hit it just right paired with a cocktail dress.
We love it. We’re not even totally sure what about ASH’s golden ratio of porcelain, geometry, and, yes, gold, is so appealing. She’s right, completely. We can’t stop looking at it. We won’t stop touching it. It’s a simple formula, meticulously executed, and she nailed it: modern luxury. What else is there to even say? A modern, luxurious woman doesn’t have the time to explain it, anyway. She’s about to go have a cooling gin drink on someone’s boat where the water is incredibly, even cartoonishly blue and the sun is incredibly, even cartoonishly golden. You could just reach out, and touch it.