Meet Rick Issan Elkin of Issan Atelier Behind the Scenes, First Time Firefly and Fall Market Feature

The mark of this craftsman is evident in every piece of Issan Elkin's uniquely original, individually designed and hand forged jewelry, drawn from his impressions of exquisite ornament from the archaeological record. Issan Atelier's unwavering commitment to the highest level of craftsmanship is a testament to this creative force of nature.

FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?

IA: As a child my parents took me to Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA, a living artisan village based on life in the 1770's. I was deeply impressed by the potters, paper makers, leather workers, smithies, silversmiths and all the hand made goods that were being made there. I believe this is why I eventually became a craftsman.

FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?

IA: My current body of work is inspired by excavated adornment from the archeological record. Ancient forms in gold and "bruised metals" with rustic gems sparkling from the worn settings. The appeal to me is the hand forged authenticity, the ability to see the maker's mark in the work.

FF: What materials do you work with & why?

IA: I'm a traditional jeweler in that I use gold and sterling silver, natural rose cut diamonds, rubies and other gems. I love the colors in the natural rose cut diamonds and the brilliance in the way they are faceted. Amazing sparkle and yet understated. Other gems such as topaz, ruby, peridot and citrine add intense saturation of color to subdued metal tones.

FF: Inspiration comes from where?

IA: My work is inspired by the philosophical underpinnings of the concepts of wabi-sabi, or accidental beauty. I find that transparency of process validates authenticity in the finished work. The ability to see the hand of the craftsman in the final piece is critical.

FF: What excites you for the future?

IA: I am excited by the next generation of collectors. There seems to be a renewed interest in the Millennial generation in handmade works. They seem to express a sensitivity and critical eye towards handmade that is has it's roots in the desire for connection , warmth and authenticity.

FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?

IA: It takes ten thousand hours to gain mastery of techniques and aesthetic understanding in any given medium...don't quit!

Shop and visit with Caitlin Rose Ward and Issan Atelier at Firefly Handmade Fall Market, September 17-18, Saturday 11am-7pm & Sunday 11am-5pm, Downtown Boulder Fall Fest on Pearl Street Mall.


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