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Nouveau Spotlight: Two Dazzling Days of Fine Jewelry Inspiration

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2015 by James Field

Hello darlings! Long time no post huh? I feel terrible that I have not written anything in a few months, so what better way to make me feel better that a jewelry post!

This past weekend I received press passes to attend the New York Antique and Fine Jewelry show at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the JANY Jewelry Trade show at the Jacob Javitz center. It was two days packed full of 18th century old mine cut diamonds the size of goose eggs, South Sea pearls, Brazilian and Colombian emeralds that looked like green pieces of candy and design inspiration all around.

This piece was the first to catch my eye. With its Indian influences featuring beautiful emeralds, freshwater pearls and diamonds sets in white gold it was a great way to kick off the show.

This piece was the first to catch my eye. With its Indian influences featuring beautiful emeralds, freshwater pearls and diamonds sets in white gold it was a great way to kick off the show.

The show began with a beautiful set of white gold tassel necklaces done with diamonds, smooth green emeralds and pearls. The shows themselves were very vast, filled with vendor upon vendor eager to present his treasure trove. One mistake I made was showing too much interest in a particular diamond feather brooch, upon after which I read the price tag of $15,000 I quickly walked away chuckling to myself lol.

A display featuring a glittering array of pieces with classic charm. My favorite is the Art Deco emerald and diamond brooch.

A display featuring a glittering array of pieces with classic charm. My favorite is the Art Deco emerald and diamond brooch by Harry Winston.

Harry Winston without a doubt is one of my favorite houses when I think of classic jewelry design. This display was filled with fabulous pieces including a few by Tiffany & Co.

This young girl looked amazing in this diamond and emerald necklace, I had to take a picture.

This young girl looked amazing in this diamond and emerald necklace, I had to take a picture.

 

As I walked along with my grandmother Ellen, I spotted this young girl wearing this fantastic emerald and diamond number. I immediately ran over and introduced myself and asked for a photo for my blog.

This Opal and diamond set was incredible!

This Opal and diamond set was incredible!

The shows was a fantastic way to spend the weekend, and such a inspiration boost for my collection. Stay tuned as I continue to work on samples hoping to launch a full line very, very soon 🙂

Thankyou for reading as always!

JF

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T.B.N Interviews: Wallace Chan

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight, T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by James Field

 

“My greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation.” –Wallace Chan

 

I am honored and overjoyed to feature a fascinating and extremely inspiring interview that I conducted with Master Sculpture & Jeweler, Mr. Wallace Chan. We discuss his exceptional skill in jewelry design, his inspirations from nature and his outlook on life and creativity.

Enjoy….

 

To begin I would like to formally welcome Master Sculpture & Jeweler Mr. Wallace Chan to The Black Nouveau, I am so honored to speak with you.

TBN: Since your debut as the first Asian designer at the 2012 Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris with the collection “Path to Enlightenment: Art & Zen” your work has been featured in countless publications and has been critically acclaimed as works of sculptural art.

Your style is a whimsical blend of naturalistic themes, fantastical motifs and exceptional craftsmanship, where do you draw inspiration from?

W.C: To create is to live fully, to absorb knowledge in all ways, and to practice repeatedly. The creating process can be described with two words, “life” and “understanding”.

Life is the key to creation, a vital element. Creation changes, and is full of vitality, it reflects the pulse of the heart and the spirit of the age, and motivates the development of history. Creation and life are interactive, for there to be creation, there must be life, and for life to have meanings, creativity is a must.

“Understanding” involves communication and channels. The creator must understand the skies, the earth and in between the two, human beings. It may sound a bit vague, but to put it in simple words, it means the creator should learn about the past, the present and the future, and he should dig into different kinds of knowledge e.g. astrology, geography, technology, history, psychology and philosophy etc.

As for inspiration, when you understand life and the universe, you will naturally understand that, there is humanity in everything, from a piece of wood to an elephant. When you treat them with emotions, they respond to you in the same way. Inspiration comes from the accumulation of our everyday experience. Like the herbal cabinet of the Chinese doctors, each little piece of our memories is stored in one little drawer, and when I see a gemstone, these pieces of memories come out from different drawers, they entwine, merge and transform with one another, and this interaction generates creativity.

I hope to re-interpret and enliven the elements of Mother Nature and culture through jewelry creation, and pass the wisdom of the skies, the earth and human beings on to the next generation. But to make it happen, solid and cultivated craftsmanship is crucial, from techniques to materials and tools, it is important to invent new ways in order to have our imagination actualized.

T.B.N: You have been credited as the creator of the “Wallace Cut” may I ask what this means, how did you come about designing it?

W.C: Why did I invent “Wallace Cut”?  One time I went to a photography exhibition, in one of the photographs I saw the images of a man overlapped.  They said it was a dark room technique called “multiple exposures”.  I wondered if I could achieve the same effect with carving.  I kept this piece of memory and the curiosity on my mind. When I finally started learning about gemstone cutting, I saw how the light entered the gemstone’s body through its surface, and how the light interacts intensively inside it.  This experience recalled my impression on “multiple exposure”, and since I had acquired the knowledge to carve and design with gemstones, I could try to realize my idea this time.

The Wallace Cut is a carving technique which creates an illusion in transparent materials by combining medieval 360-degree intaglio into 3-dimension engraving.  The resulting quintuple reflection unifies these features with precise calculation and angle casting and forms a 3-dimension and multi-line reflection.

The "Now and Always" necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The “Now and Always” necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The concept sounds simple, but the execution was near impossible.  Let’s take my “Horae” design as an example.  To get a full-bodied, 3-dimensional face for this work, I had to empty out precisely just such a face at the back.  First, I bored a tiny hole right in the center.  That’s the starting point, which is the nose.  Then I slowly widened the space from inside out.  As it was done in reverse, every drill was an act of reverse thinking: left is right, deep is shallow, and front is back.  Since the space inside is the face of the Goddess itself, there was no space to move around. But that’s how the image acquired multiple reflections, creating different angles of the face.  I carved the front view of the Goddess, and she would be looking at me sideways

Moreover, the tools that were available on the market were not sophisticated enough.  I had to make some of the tools specifically for this work.  I went to a factory and became an apprentice in order to learn about the mechanics it took to invent the tools. After six months in the factory, I found out that I could use the dentist’s tool for it.  But the drill rotated for 36,000 times per minute, which was too fast, and the heat it generated while carving would damage the stone.  At last I realized that I had to do the carving under water.  So here it went: I carved, I dried the stone, checked to see if it was alright, (because one tiny mistake would be reflected into four more mistakes, and the whole piece of work would be ruined,) and then I put it into water to carve again. It was a stroke by stroke process, I forgot how many hours I worked on each piece, but at the end I felt that my mind, my hand, and the tool were all working as one, it was my consciousness doing the carving. It was 1987, and it was one of the craziest carving periods in my life. I surrendered myself to the magic of light and shadow, and found great happiness in it.

I had to do a lot of calculations to determine where the center was – where exactly would the face be situated.  The next step was the amount of space for each half of the face; both sides have to be symmetrical.  Then there were the angles of the faceting on the periphery of the face in order to achieve the number of reflections that I wanted.   And even if the calculations were all correct, I still needed to put them through some trials before I committed them to the stone.  All in all, this piece took me two years to finish, not counting the years I spent in perfecting the 3-dimensional technique. Life was not easy during those two years, I had to earn a living, and at the same time keep inventing.

T.B.N: With your vast knowledge of Gemology, metallurgy and sculpture, what sort of obstacles do you encounter when designing a piece? You have been known to completely destroy pieces if they are not up to your standards, would you call yourself a perfectionist when it comes to your art?

W.C: Since I began my creative journey in 1973, I have gotten used to absorbing knowledge and techniques from all directions. The wisdom left to us by our ancestors benefits us throughout life, but no matter what we do, we must not depend it all on existing knowledge. We have to explore and pave new paths. We have to turn our world upside down. Upon the old foundation, we have to build something new for the development of our future.

Difficulty has an intimate relationship with creation. It nurtures creativity and through challenges we grow. Difficulty comes from everywhere, from tools to techniques, materials and our mentality. But as long as we can overcome our own desires, we know how to deal with difficulty without backing down, as well as without fear, anxiety and disgust. The path of creation is often lonely, but this lonesome feeling makes us strong and helps us persist. Creativity grows as a result. I feel that I have entered a fairyland every time I meet obstacles, and once I solve my problems, I go back on earth with a sense of satisfaction and joy that is beyond words.

I pursue perfection, but there is no perfection in this world, there is nothing you can call the highest, or the best. But this is the reason why there are limitless possibilities. As there is no limitation, I can pursue perfection without fear, I can try, I can fail, and there is no need to compromise. I am used to absorbing new knowledge with open arms and an open heart. I am always under pressure, and upon the existing pressure I pressure myself even more, to explore the depth and width of knowledge and work my mind out.

T.B.N: My absolute favorite pieces are your exquisite butterflies. They represent your work very well and are a reoccurring theme in your collections. Do you have a favorite piece that you consider your greatest achievement?

 

W.C: Underneath the sugar-coated idea – “greatest achievement”, you can only find stumbling blocks. I do not have anything that I can call my “greatest achievement”, but I am happy to share with you a creation that I have recently completed. This creation has been on my mind for more than a decade, until about 4 or 5 years ago, I started to have it realized. In the process of creation, I went through tons of struggles and was often close to giving it up, but I couldn’t help continuing. Finally, it was completed right before the 27th Biennale des Antiquaires.

The Wallace Chan "Secret Abyss" necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

The Wallace Chan “Secret Abyss” necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

This creation is titled “Secret Abyss”; it expresses my exploration on the meaning of existence.

More than 10 years ago, I saw a magician trying to escape from a glass tank of water whilst chained and handcuffed; logic said that it wasn’t possible, yet he escaped. I was moved by the performance; I was, in fact, extremely impressed. And after some years the idea of “Secret Abyss” came alive on my mind.

When you try to make an idea reality, it is often the case that a series of difficulties, sacrifices and failures tag along. I was looking for the materials for this creation, at first I thought crystal would do, but it was too clear, so it could not create the dream-like feeling I wanted. I gave up the idea of using crystal and turned to rutilated quartz instead. The texture of rutilated quartz gives the feel of a fairyland. But it is not easy to find rutilated quartz that meets the standard required for my creation, so it took a long time and great efforts.

After acquiring the suitable materials, I created a 6.5MM opening on the rutilated quartz, through this small opening my tools got in and empty the stone out. Where could I find the right tools to do this? As the creation has never been done before, naturally no one had invented the tools I needed. So it was another long process of consideration, calculation, design and experiment to have the right tools invented. I’d better not go into details here.

After a series of failures and tons of broken materials, I finally found a way to empty the stone out in a satisfying state. The 43MM wide space inside the stone became my creative space. My tools entered the space through the 6.5MM opening, and gemstone clouds were set. I would say that the 6.5MM opening was the entrance and exit of my soul, it extended my existence. Inside the rutilated quartz there was this metaphysical world, in which there were materials. What is empty is no longer empty, the clouds float in light and colors… – that denotes a state of mind, as well as a state of life.

T.B.N: What do you enjoy most about your career? What advice would you give to aspiring designers and business owners?

 

W.C: Accessories have existed in human history for a long, long time. It appeared way earlier than other forms of art. It is an ancient culture, and this culture has then become evidence of civilization, and an embodiment of knowledge aesthetics, wisdom and emotions. And my greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation. Jewelry stands for eternity, and through this eternal media I can share the stories and meanings of life with others.

Designer and creator are different, and they are different from merchant or dealer. Very often, designers come up with ideas and sketches, and then they hand over their ideas and sketches to craftsmen to work on. However, I encourage designers who are interested in the jewelry field to learn with patience, and to train up their ability to reach out to all directions – on the top there is culture, philosophy and art, beneath these there is knowledge of a craftsman that includes optics, physics, ergonomics, metallurgy etc., on the left you find technology, and on the right there are trends and markets… The mastery of all allows greater creative freedom.

I am not very good at commercial activities, certainly not an expert in business. But I believe that as a merchant, dealer or investor of this field, it is important to acquire thorough knowledge of the field in order to recognize the talents of a creator. Designers and creators live in their own worlds, their pursuits tend to be more spiritual, but merchants live in a collective world, and economic growth is their fundamental consideration. But the former and the latter join hands to create the many legends we have seen in this industry.

T.B.N: Your pieces are considered to be works of art in their own right, and I would certainly agree that they are extraordinarily beautiful yet delicate and complex. Was that always the goal when you were designing your first pieces?

 

Wallace Chan “Fleur de la Dynastie Tang” brooch with rubies, yellow diamonds, pink sapphires, tsavorites, garnets, emeralds and diamonds.

 

Featuring the world’s largest flawless purple sapphire weighing 164.39ct this is the “Gabriella Rose” necklace symbolizing femininity, harmony and tranquility.

 

W.C: If I must define the goal of my creation, it is the true, the good and the beautiful. When I feel that my creations are far from meeting the standard, that is when I have to destroy them and start over, or I may put them aside for a period of time, and try to enhance and enliven the knowledge on my mind. My creations come alive when I enter a new world of thinking.

I have this very strong belief in my life: only when I have my work done to perfection today can my dreams be realized tomorrow. I maintain the same attitude towards any goals, dreams, obstacles and challenges in my life. It is fair to say that, in life, we may not always be rewarded for our hard work, but it is always true that no pain, no gain.

The aesthetics and craftsmanship of each piece of creation is nothing but the result of hard work.

T.B.N: Lastly, what is the ultimate vision for yourself and your brand? How would you like to be remembered as a designer?

W.C: I enjoy living for the moment, spending every second and every minute on creation. History is vast, and deep, the universe is wide, and limitless, and our existence is so small. I look at the world with the curious eyes of a child. I have to seize the moment, practice on and do my homework. Once I have completed a piece of work, I must move on to something new right away, as I cannot linger in the satisfaction that belongs only to the past. I hope that with my creations I can fulfill my responsibility for history, and I leave it to history to grade my performance.

It was great honor to be given the chance to interview Mr Chan. His passion, seemingly endless creativity and respect for his art only fuels my own career goals. He is, in my eyes the true definition of the word “Craftsman” using his various skills and experience to create one of kind, sublimely beautiful and timeless works of art.

Special thanks to the Atelier of Mr Wallace Chan.

J.F

T.B.N Interviews: Tunji Alade III

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by James Field

 

 

TUNJI_Promo5_x

 

Today I am please to welcome singer/songwriter Tunji Alade III to The Black Nouveau. We discuss his love of music, fashion, song writing and his plan to become the next great musical artist.

 

T.B.N– Welcome Tunji and thank you for taking the time to talk with me!Lets begin with your background, where are you from?

T.A– I am from Houston, Texas. My family is from Lagos, Nigeria, London and Guanajuato, Mexico. I also have family in Virginia and New York City.

T.B.N– Your music is a wonderful mix of sounds and you have a very captivating voice. Was music something that always aroused interest in you? How would you describe your music style?

T.A– Music has always been my first love. I’ve always been attracted to it and it has always been part of my desire, music makes me feel and inspires me. I won my first contest at age seven in a classical music competition. I was a runner-up and won a contest to visit this amusement park called Fame City.

I would describe my musical style as smooth, vibrant, fresh, bold and even raw. I’d say my music ranges from Hip Hop to smooth Rhythm and Blues, Soul, EDM, Acid Jazz and Jungle and House mixes. My music emanates from experiences, breakups to relationships, love and vice versa. I describe my music as a style that is…married to fashion, art and the club lounge experience.

T.B.N– How long have you been singing? Also you write your own music, what sort of challenges do you face when creating a new song?

T.A– I’ve been singing since I was thirteen and writing since I was seventeen. Thinking of a new song is like an idea, I can come up with hundreds of ideas just from the instrumental. People don’t want me to think of a new song, they want to see my live performance; they want to be able to connect with me and get to know me.

T.B.N– Share with us a little about your new album. What was the inspiration behind it?

2k

 

 

T.A– My album so far has eight songs. My EP with six songs was just leased through INgrooves Music, the back office of Universal Music Group.

My name is Tunji Alade, and my full name is Tunji Jemi-Alade III. Tungsten Light is sort of an anagram of my name, Tunji Alade. Essentially the tungsten light hue is only visible naturally at magic hour. The inspiration behind my album is to find hints and clues. Fate, paths, and destiny interconnected with people through the human experience and through music.

T.B.N– How do you see yourself and your music evolving within the next few years? What are your long term goals?

 T.A- I see myself evolving greatly. They say it is not where you’ve been but where you’re going. Right now, I’m affiliated with a company called Hotbox. Ironically, I see myself with a team that will tell me who that is. I’m not even being sarcastic. Seriously, I hired a manager not long ago and we almost signed a major deal and it sort of fell flat because attorneys from Warner Brothers called my managers office back and said that I am/was with attorney/client privileges. This was not too long ago and when I contacted Warner Brothers Music, no one knew who I was. It was kind of strange submitting my demo and getting calls back from Interscope, Sony then getting word from a manager that I hired saying that Warner Brothers contacted him and told his management office that I am with attorney/client. Having no documents signed, no official contract, no statements that told me it was official, nothing in writing to let me know what was going on was strange.

Even in retrospect for me to think of where I want to be its very clear because I was affiliated with a major studio in 2000. In 2002, my junior year in college, my university pulled me aside and told me that they had officially gotten word that my undergraduate work was created into a music video and was  broadcast on national television. Then all of a sudden in 2002, I had a million dollar offer for a property and a random phone call from a broker that told me she handled all my paperwork. Right when I was going to buy a 1.1 million dollar mansion, coincidentally, my off campus apartment flooded as a sick building with a sanitation problem of a flooding toilet; it became difficult and my university would not tell me what company contacted them to verify what company I was working for.

Being an underground artist or ghost writer, I see myself evolving with the right team. I want to formalize my contracts with the right team. I know about business, about knock-offs and the intricacies of trends, being a hot artist or an artist that has the new hairstyle, new digs, new style. And how to strive to for a level above that into a longevity hallmark level. Signing with the right major and formalizing the right deal in the right way so that there is no confusion if it is realistic and that it is literally legitimate. For me, my expectation is to move forward with a team that will give me full creative control and options to work with artists that I respect.

I am not trying to be any artist except me. My music is my voice. My music is married to fashion. I see my shows as being part high energy choreography and part runway show. My followers are affluent heads, people who love fashion, art and commerce. In the next few years, I see my album already published and licensed while working on a second and third follow-up album, acting in feature films and doing business with the most advanced marketing endorsers. I see myself immersed in the business and doing what I love.

Tuji 2

 

T.B.N– Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring singer/songwriters? Was there anyone that you admired growing up that inspired your interest in music, and how?

T.A– I was scouted by a major agency and won a modeling competition at age seventeen in High School and was not allowed to follow my path. I also was not allowed to play a musical instrument growing up. It can be very brutal, move masterfully, don’t let others who don’t care about your goals determine your rate of success. Make it happen.

When I was growing up I admired all kinds of music. I especially loved music in different languages from foreign countries. Then around 2006, music really started speaking to me in a special way, I started to really command on the Piano with a handful of songs I composed. Then, Tunechi came out and my friends started asking me if I could sing. I love music from Coltrane to Davis to Portishead to Massive Attack to Green Day, Niyaz, Maxwell, Timberlake, Timbaland, Alicia Keys, Jay Z and Beyonce. Any Grammy award winning artist or any artist under Berry Gordy or his understudy, Etcetera.

 

I would like to sincerely thank my good friend Tunji for this interview. Please visit Tunji below and take a listen of his truly unique and original sound.

www.Tunji-Alade.com

Thank you all for reading!

J.F

 

L’Amour de Bijoux: The Love of Jewels

Posted in Art Nouveau, Nouveau Spotlight, Obsessions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by James Field
The 41 carat "Dresden Green" is the largest naturally green diamond to date.

The 41 carat “Dresden Green” is the largest naturally green Diamond to date.

 

I believe that my love of jewelry design, art and style began when I was a young boy. I remember subtle things such as my mothers engagement ring of white gold and black onyx that my father gave her. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! So chic on her finger and so timeless at the same time. From then on, I would say my mother and her love of jewelry sparked something in my own creative soul.

My mother traveled to Kuwait on a business trip when I was young boy. While she was there she acquired the most beautiful diamond and ruby ring of about 2 carats. I had never seen anything like it, and I dare didn’t asked how much is cost. The irony is that even though I purchased her a small pink sapphire pendant necklace as a gift on the day of her return, her ring was absolutely stunning and I have fallen in love with jewelry design ever since.

So without further ado, this is my Love of Jewels.

Bahadur Shah Zafar II India (Delhi), Mughal, c. 1850 Watercolors on ivory

Bahadur Shah Zafar II
India (Delhi), Mughal, c. 1850
Watercolors on ivory

 

One of my greatest inspirations will always be the great Mughal Emperors of India. The splendor and grandeur of their Pearls, Emeralds, Silks, Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires rivaled that of any King in the world. They looked so regal and exalted that all who saw them knew, they were royalty and should as such adorn themselves accordingly.

Turban Ornament India (West Bengal), Mughal, c. 1755 Gold, set with diamonds, rubies, a sapphire, Colombian emeralds and a pearl.

Turban Ornament
India (West Bengal), Mughal, c. 1755
Gold, set with diamonds, rubies, a sapphire, Colombian emeralds and a pearl.

 

I love the elegance that something like this Turban Ornament gives to the wearer. As an option this item could also be styled as a brooch on a great jacket. Great jewelry design for me is about timeless design and the highest quality of gemstones, and also versatility.

 

Mango-shaped rock crystal Flask India, Mughal, mid-17th century Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds

Mango-shaped rock crystal Flask
India, Mughal, mid-17th century
Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds

 

This whimsical and charming flask is from the time of Shah Jahan, the Emperor who built the Taj Mahal in the 17th century. This is a truly wonderful example of imagination and the mix of timeless design, exceptional taste, and quality materials.

My collection grows.

My collection grows.

 

Though my collection is certainly not on the level of the Great Emperors of India whom I admire, it still holds dear to my heart. Most of my pieces are vintage or hand crafted using emeralds, gold, pearls and silver. I hope to one day expand my collection to higher end pieces with more historical importance. My collection is a mix of vintage, gifted and purchased items with the silver rhinestone panther ring and brooch both being vintage finds for example, and the silver beaded bracelet with black onyx, a gift from my mother.

The long adored and cherished pearl is my zodiac birthstone, so the two strand freshwater pearl bracelet is something I was lucky enough to find at a vintage jewelry fair in New York City. The emerald stone and pearl bracelet with matching silver and emerald stone ring where hand-made for me in India and are my latest additions. The black rhinestone bracelet was a gift, and the gold Damascene bracelet next to it, a purchase on trip to Miami, Florida. The gold floral scroll cuff was an online vintage find, and the gold Damascene bracelet above it a vintage fair find as well.

Lauren Hutton by Milton Greene, 1966

Lauren Hutton by Milton Greene, 1966

 

I absolutely love this classic ad of Lauren Hutton dripping in jewels. I wish to one day create quality of this nature. I formerly owned and produced a jewelry designing brand called Sergio James with an old friend of mine, based out of New York City. We crafted jewelry using simple materials such as wood, spray paint, gold and silver leaf and metal filigree accents. I do miss the times that we created elegant yet simple collections, but its time to move on to more glittering pursuits. My goal is to achieve Master Jeweler status which is a very high honor.

I finally have had time as of late to start crafting and brainstorming jewelry concepts. Check out what I have been working on so far…

I present my little sample collection which I call "The Golden Black Pearl Collection"

I present my little sample collection which I call “The Golden Black Pearl Collection”

 

Yes! I love how they turned out, the are my perfect whimsical items all in gold. The black freshwater pearl is hand-woven with gold wire through a gold feather pendant at the end of a gold and black enamel chain. The diadems are gold bands with gold feather scroll pendants that I have hand-woven with gold wire to form this leaf crest pattern and this branch like design. The set is my perfect royal nod to history. This is only the start and more creations are to come.  I am so happy to FINALLY start designing again. Please stay tuned for more.

 

Thank you all for reading!

Cheers!

James Field

 

T.B.N Interviews: Chef Jack Lee

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by James Field
Chef Jack Lee

Chef Jack Lee

“You must have Passion, Dedication and Persistence”- Chef Jack Lee

I would like to begin by thanking Chef Lee for taking the time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about his dazzling work and exciting career as a celebrity Chef for the re-launch of my T.B.N Interviews segment.

The Black Nouveau is pleased to introduce Celebrity Chef Jack Lee.

Welcome Mr. Lee, I am honored to speak with you today….

TBN: Lets begin with your love of food, what sparked your fascination with it? Also share with us a little about yourself and your background. How did the Asian/French fusion style flourish into your trademark?

Chef Lee: I see food very differently. I want to honor each ingredient’s natural properties. I want to enhance the unique textures and colors. I believe the food we consume should be as much of a treat for the eyes as it is for the palate. I love dishes to be full of flavor, color and dimension so that you get drawn into each bite. Every bite should be a meaningful, lasting memory.

I came to the US from Vietnam when I was only 10 years old.  I always loved food but at such a young age, I didn’t understand it as a career option. I watched the TV show “Three’s Company” to learn English and I loved how funny Jack Tripper was. When I saw him become a chef, I realized I could become a chef, too. It became my job to cook for my entire family and eventually I started working in kitchens.

As I learned more, I realized I wanted to combine Eastern and Western culinary concepts. I drew inspiration from street food of the Far East and merged it with the elegant plating and presentation of French cuisine. This Asian French technique has become my signature style and I’m always looking at ways to elevate the beauty as well as the flavors of food.

TBN: You are known for creating vibrant and visually appealing dishes that are equally delicious, how important is the presentation to you? How important is color?

Chef Lee: I believe people eat with their eyes first, so good plating presentation is inviting the palate of that taster. It makes the eater anticipate and fantasize about the culinary adventure they will have with forthcoming meal.  Color enhances the taste, since we, as humans, use color to tell us about nutrition and if something is yummy.

Most people prefer eating vegetables that look green and crisp rather than yellowish-green and limp. The second option means all the nutrients have been cooked out and it won’t be fulfilling to eat. It may not be at the front of the brain, but on a deep level we all know that delicious food has certain vibrancy to it.

My presentation centers on five components: high quality protein that will look sexy on the plate, super healthy carb, organic vibrant vegetables, amazing sauce with depth of flavor that embraces the tongue, and beautifully designed garnish. Put all of that together on one plate and it practically dances before your eyes. It’s like food porn.

TBN: How does the inspiration process work for you? When you cook for your clients, many of whom have very high taste levels (Oprah Winfrey, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank a few among a long list of illustrious names) is there a consultation process? Is a there a balance between what you wish to convey with your dishes, and what the client is requesting?

Chef Lee: Everyone tastes food differently, and a lot can be based on a person’s mood. When you’re in a blissful mood everything tastes good, similarly, when you’re depressed you don’t have appetite. So, I first start thinking about the emotional response I want the taster to have. I deal with clients that don’t just appreciate the Wow Factor, they demand it, so the food needs to excite and even seduce the eater. That’s the main balance that has to be met between myself and the client. This is also where colors and enhancement of the ingredient’s natural beauty starts to come in. It’s the first level of inspiration.

I also get inspired by the people whom I cook for. I often make a plate based on some one’s individual persona. I’ve even named these dishes after the person that inspired the dish. It might start with their favorite type of protein or vegetable, or be based on an item of clothing they wear, or be a place they love to travel. This personalize’s the culinary experience even more.

Chef Lee & Rebbie Jackson

Chef Lee & Rebbie Jackson

Chef Lee & Charlize Theron

Chef Lee & Charlize Theron

Chef Lee & Quincy Jones

Chef Lee & Quincy Jones

All of this lets me use food as my art and outward expression of my voice and vision.

TBN: What was it like when you began your tenure as The Banquet Chef at the prestigious and legendary, Hotel Bel Air?

Chef Lee: I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work at a Five Star, Five Diamond hotel where we are trained to create gourmet cuisine: Presentation, Authenticity, and Flavors. The training process was hard and intense… and long hours of making garnishes. You have to have the passion in the kitchen or it won’t work. The dispassionate fail quickly in a kitchen like that.

TBN: What advice would you give aspiring culinary students with similar career aspirations?

Chef Lee: You must have Passion, Dedication and Persistence.

I applied to work with esteemed Executive Chef Humberto Contreras. I just wanted to learn from him. At first, he denied me, many times, thinking I didn’t have what it takes. I kept coming back til he finally gave up and started to see my passion and my dedication in culinary arts.

Then, I volunteered at Bel Air for a full year making garnishes 10 hours a day. It wasn’t easy for me, everyone asked me to quit and go home.  It would have been so easy just to walk away but I kept on fighting to stay and believing that all the hard work will pay off.  Which it did. I was hired and eventually became the Banquet Chef of Hotel Bel Air and that was the turning point of my career as a chef.

TBN: Lastly, where do you see yourself in your current career path? What goals would you like to accomplish? What dreams have you always hoped to achieve?

Chef Lee: My first day at CSCA (California School of Culinary Art) I dreamed of being on Food Network one day and I recently served as a guest judge for this season’s finale of “Rachael vs Guy: Kids Cook-off.”  I’m also on a forthcoming episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” which will air on October 27, 2013. So, many of my dreams are materializing.

I just wish to share my cooking passion and spread the love and food gospel to the World.

Thank you for your time today Chef Lee, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with one of Hollywood’s most talented and esteemed Chefs.

Be sure to tune into Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” airing October 27th.

I would like to sincerely thank Ms Joy Donnell at Do It in Public Los Angeles for making this interview possible.

ChefJackLee.com

J.F

Nouveau Spotlight: Starting Over, Is Easy To Do.

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by James Field

With my back to the past, I charge forward.

This post is dedicated to new beginnings. Not the New Years Resolution, or the false intention sort of new beginnings, this is my promise to myself of starting from the drawing board (once again) and experiencing new and more exciting opportunities.

This past year has been filled with a plethora of highs, lows, achievements and failures for my family and I. After I turned 25 on June 25th of this year, I began to see myself in a different light. A new vision of myself began to emerge, a more resilient, focused, unafraid of judgment, and level-headed James was forming. For those of you who believe that starting over after you have sacrificed so much for something that you THOUGHT you always wanted, is difficult, I am here to tell you that it’s an illusion, just like all forms of fear.

They say that you are the captain of your own ship, if so then mine is a mega-yacht named the S.S Destiny. So if something doesn’t work out the way that you planned, it absolutely does not mean you cannot reinvent yourself, battle the waves, and continue to steer the course. Deepak Chopra put it best “The only goal worth attaining is complete freedom to be yourself, without illusions and false beliefs” (The Book of Secrets)

You have the ability in you to withstand tremendous pressure and sparkle to full brilliancy at the end. Take the pain and the disappointments and channel them, use them a catalyst to make your dreams come true. I’ve done it before in the past, and after the major failures and missed opportunities that I have endured this year, I plan on doing it again. What point is there in feeling sorry for yourself, when there is work to be done, art to be created, and goals to be surpassed? I am starting fresh with a new outlook, one that see’s the silver lining after any hardship, and one that is fully conscious of choices and decisions.

The past is the past, and all we have is the present. I truly believe in Karma, and if you have been hurt or wronged in any way, the Universe has a way of making that disappear and replacing it with immeasurable joy, in the most unexpected and unusual ways. Stay the course and you will reach the olive branch of your dreams.

Take it from me, starting over is easy to do.

Best wishes everyone, and thank you for reading. More post’s to come!

J.F

T.B.N Interviews: Marcus Stewart

Posted in T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2013 by James Field

 

 

So its been quite some time since I have had the opportunity to interview any talent for the T.B.N Interviews segment of The Black Nouveau, but today I have the pleasure of welcoming our latest guest, Mr Marcus Stewart. I have known Marcus for a little over a year now from his extensive modeling and acting work, as well as fashion styling. Today we welcome him with a warm and chic greeting, as we talk about fashion, life goals, Bravo TV and staying focused in the whirl-wind industry of modeling and acting.

 

T.B.N– Please introduce yourself. How old are you, where are you from and where do you currently reside?

 

M.S– I’m so honored to be your first interview in almost a year! My name is Marcus Stewart, I’m 24 years old. I was born in New Orleans, LA and relocated to Los Angeles in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. I just enjoyed my 4 year anniversary in NYC, I reside in SoHo.

 

T.B.N– I am very familiar with your modeling work. Tell us a little bit about how you got started? Was it a difficult process? What tips would you give to other aspiring African-American models looking to break into the industry?

 

M.S–  Well, modeling has always been a part of my life. My mother was actually a local model in the 70’s in New Orleans so I guess one can say that it has always been in my DNA. As a child I was never good at sports, even though I’ve always been tall and quick on my feet I was never an athlete. One day I was driving in the car with my mother around the age of 11 or so and I heard a commercial for “Model Search America” it caught my attention and since my mother had given up her potential modeling career to be a housewife, she was very supportive of me going on a “Go See” which in the modeling world is basically an audition.

 

She took me and my older brother who was super athletic and better than me at everything to the office and I was picked to come back and meet with agents one on one. My brother who I always thought was way better looking than me did not get picked SO, I knew right then and there entertainment was where I wanted to be. I was better than my brother at something so I went with it. From Model Search America I received interest from a huge agency in NYC but I never was allowed to move to NYC at such a young age so my mother took me to local agencies in New Orleans which is where I got my start and became a model then to LA and NYC where I was signed with BMG models.

 

Modeling is very difficult and competitive for anyone but it’s intensified a 100% for a black male. It is no secret that our fairer skin brothers and sisters work WAY more than us brown people. It’s also a very morally corrupt world that can eat you alive if you aren’t a strong-minded mature individual. I was in school or working a serious fashion industry job while pursuing modeling so I never dedicated enough time and effort towards modeling; I never reached my full potential. My advice is to be solid and comfortable in who you are and not to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone else, you NEVER know what he/she had to sacrifice to get to the point you see. Work hard and stay focused. I’m not done with modeling yet. Stay tuned!

 

T.B.N– So lets not beat around the bush any longer, you were recently a cast member on the Bravo reality documentary series, “Dukes of Melrose” working with the owners of the ultra chic Decades boutique. How was that experience for you?

 

M.S– Yes, let’s just get to it. HAHA. Well, the first season of “Dukes of Melrose” is over so now re runs are playing. Being a part of “The Dukes of Melrose” was an amazing time in my life. I was actually heading back to NYC after a month-long vacation in Europe when I received the call from the owners about being on the show. I was the last person to be cast. I personally never wanted to be a part of a reality show, I have had some opportunities in the past and I just never thought it was my thing. When the producers and owners approached me I was open because I had been working for the company for maybe two years prior so I was familiar with the brand and I’m friends with the owners so I knew a certain level of class would have to be showcased, which made me comfortable and open to being a part of their project.

 

Because I was familiar with the camera and being on sets I was very comfortable while filming. I knew I was going to be myself the entire time and enjoy the process. I’m very happy to have had the chance to work with Bravo TV. It’s something my kids will be able to see although, my famous line “Your vintage team sucks ass” may have to be edited out for the youngsters…haha

 

CameronMarcus_2013_4

 

I have worked for Decades for 3 years. I started off as a part-time assistant buyer and worked my way up to The East Coast Editor and then to Trunk Show Coordinator. I was responsible for finding amazing and rare couture pieces on the east coast while also being responsible for our travelling “pop up shops” I started to get promoted very fast and mind you I had no prior buying or event planning experience. The last 2 years have been spent in and out of hotels and airports all over the USA. Being the Trunk Show Coordinator was great. Every city was new and fresh and I was the person responsible for creating memorable shopping experiences for the clients. It was a fun job but, in order to be GREAT you must grow so I’m no longer with Decades but wishing the brand continued success!

 

T.B.N– Has the show changed anything for you?

 

M.S–  Has the show changed anything for me? I get asked this question all the time. You have to understand I have been fortunate and blessed to work consistently in this industry for 8 years from being the youngest Dolce & Gabbana employee ever, to my time as The International Sales Rep for Sacred Blue Denim at age 18 to working for Vogue and GQ not to mention styling PJ Morton and other private clients. So, for me I’m still working every day. Building my brand and challenging myself creatively. I do get recognized a bit, but this is NYC so no one really cares. I’m still living the same life I was living prior to Bravo TV. Being on TV does not change things; YOU have to change things for yourself and that is what I’m doing. It’s a step by step process, I want to grow not explode. TV has given me a platform but now it’s up to me to create what I want.

 

T.B.N– What is your ultimate career goal, your biggest dream?

 

M.S–  My ultimate career goal? I would have to say that my ultimate goal is to have an empire. I love what Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum have done post modeling life. They are brands, businesswomen. From TV shows, style corresponding, writing books, and producing. Their hands are in lots of things. I would want to do something very similar. I have always looked at myself as a work horse and a show pony. I love creating and making things happen but I’m just as comfortable being the BRAND. My goal is to create a life and a legacy that last beyond me. We are blessed to be a blessing. I want to get back into modeling and acting while still focusing on women and their fashion needs. I want to build a holistic fashion empire. Fashion is such a materialistic and vain world, if I’m going to be a part of that I need to find a way to address the real issues which steam from the inside and show women how connected inner beauty and inner love is with how one looks and presents themselves to the world.

 

T.B.N– Lastly, where do you envision yourself long-term? What are you doing?

 

M.S– I see myself working for myself. I love the idea of being a contributor editor or brand ambassador for products that I believe in. I do think it’s important to still be connected to the world outside of your own existence but, more than anything I want to work on the Marcus Stewart Brand. I want to bring positivity back to the media and help empower women. This is all inspired by my mother. She is my best friend and has given me the key to the locked door called THE WOMAN. I know what the woman wants. She wants to feel beautiful and refreshed. The woman wants to feel comfortable and enlightened. The woman wants to feel sexy without being vulgar. I’m “The Fashion Doctor” I can diagnose your fashion emergency and give you the exact dosage to cure your fashion illness!

 

Right now I’m doing personal image consulting and working on an amazing aesthetic based non-profit organization for women who have experienced hardships. TV is also in my near future so don’t worry! I will be back. I believe that there are no coincidences, things happen for a reason, always remember that. If I had not done the Dukes of Melrose show I would have ignored my secret desire to be back in front of the camera. I would have ignored the need to help women feel powerful and beautiful. Destiny is a funny thing, what is meant to be will always be.

 

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