Columbus Makes Art Presents: Jewelry-Making Duo JD Shipengrover & JD Davison at the Columbus Arts Festival
JD Shipengrover and JD Davison have worked together as Lab Partners Jewelry for over two decades. The jewelry-making duo will be appearing at the Columbus Arts Festival, June 8-10 on the Downtown riverfront, selling their pieces that blend science and nature. We connected with them to learn more about their background, their style and their experiences at the Arts Fest.
Lacey: You’ve been making jewelry together for more than 20 years — did you work solo before then? If so, how did partnering change your work?
The JDs: Lab Partners is the perfect name for our jewelry studio. Not a single item gets made without passing back and forth between us a dozen times. We collaborate on even the smallest details of our work, as we strive to perfect our vision of jewelry inspired by the natural world.
Lacey: You describe yourselves as “a jewelry studio masterminded by two total geeks.” Describe the “geek” aspect of your work.
The JDs: Lab Partners exists at the intersection of art, science and technology. That means today our work might focus on the intricate patterns created by the skeletal structure of microscopic Radiolaria, and tomorrow we will be digging into the mathematics behind parametrically-generating Voronoi patterns.
The recent news that the Galileo space probe might have flown through an enormous vent of water from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa is pretty exciting. We could easily create a new piece to highlight that. Perhaps a ring based on Rosalind Franklin’s pioneering x-ray crystallography images of DNA?
Lacey: I understand that you like to experiment with new techniques; what are you currently playing with?
The JDs: Our work is based on time-honored, traditional jewelry fabrication techniques that we merge with cutting-edge technologies. Right now, we are excited by the possibilities of casting sterling silver from our original, 3-D printed designs.
Lacey: You were part of the Columbus Arts Festival’s Emerging Artist program in 2014. What inspired you to try the program?
The JDs: We are very lucky to know many of the wonderful and talented artists in the Columbus area. As we started selling more of our work, several of our friends suggested we apply for the Emerging Artist program. Fantastic suggestion.
Lacey: How was the Emerging artist experience?
The JDs: We learned an enormous amount from the Emerging Artist program. We are so lucky to have such a top-tier art show in the city. It’s such a special opportunity not available to many artists. Having the chance to take part in a show with 500,000 of your close, personal friends attending is indescribable.
Lacey: What did you learn?
The JDs: We learned two things: first, people genuinely love our work. I mean, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our work. Beatlemania-level excitement. Second, being an artist isn’t enough. You also have to be a hard-working, dedicated business professional. Being successful at a show like Columbus forces you to ask the difficult, business-minded questions.
Lacey: Do you travel to other arts festivals?
The JDs: We sell our work at perhaps 20 different art shows during the summer. As far away as Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Toronto. But the Columbus Arts Festival is still our favorite.
Lacey: What do you enjoy about exhibiting at festivals?
The JDs: Without doubt, the best thing about exhibiting at art shows is watching people react to our work for the first time. We know we get excited about our work, even if we are alone in the Lab. Seeing new people share that same excitement is a real joy. We have the honor of knowing that the people who buy our items love them as much as we do.
Lacey: What should people look for at your Columbus Arts Festival booth?
The JDs: We’ve just finished a brand-new series of pieces that blend our highly-detailed, hand-painted images of organic life with vacuum-cast sterling silver settings. We are super excited about them.
Lacey: Assuming you are able to take a break, what are you looking forward to checking out at the Festival?
The JDs: Ha! The Columbus Art Festival is always our busiest show! All of the folks around town who follow our work make a point to stop by and see our new works. We call it our ‘Friends of the Lab’ program.
See JD Shipengrover’s and JD Davison’s jewelry work at their booth during the Columbus Arts Festival, June 8-10 on the Downtown riverfront. The Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday (artist booths close at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday); and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.