IN THE SHOPS
Spending Time, by Elyse Glickman
Sculpture to Wear, off Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, is a gem of a boutique. Or is it a gallery? After all, it offers jewelry pieces that are as much art as accessory.
"I connect with clients who are not afraid to say something visually," proprietor Lisa M. Berman muses as she models a gold-leaf rubber necklace by artist Lisbeth Nordskov.
"Most of them are interested in the performing and visual arts," Berman notes. "They collect art, glass or crafts and are often well-traveled--we often compare notes, and they even bring me artists' contact information."
Berman thinks her customers have become more sophisticated since she opened her original store at Bergamot Station in 1999. "but let's face it," she says. "Good taste is simply good taste, and good taste is always timeless and sophisticated."
She moved to her present location last year. She chose it as much for its versatility and aesthetics (high ceilings, a fabulous courtyard for fashion shoes and receptions) as for the neighborhood's position between Beverly Hills and Malibu.
Location remains secondary, however. Most important to Berman is that both new clients ("novice collectors and admirers") and regulars ("seasoned collectors") have an enlightening experience with every visit.
"There is an important dynamic role existing between the artist, gallery, collector and art institution," she says. "An artist creates a piece that conveys a certain emotion, moment in time or statement. The gallery presents the artist's work in the best light--in this way, the gallery is the conduit and communicator for the absent artist. In turn, the collector is touched, compelled and intrigued."
"My goal as the gallery operator has not changed since the day I first opened my doors," she continues. "The pieces in the gallery are not based on trends in fashion, but rather on workmanship, imagination, the creative process and fun."
International artists with works currently on display include Monika Wulz, Jennifer Trask, Carol Windsor, Jan Mandel and Sergey Jivetin, the first American to win the Herbert Hoffman Prize--the Oscar of jewelry design--for pieces painstakingly constructed from hundreds of watch hands.
Special events include an exhibit of beaded jewelry by 30 South African women through mid-September, a retrospective of jewelry designer Robert Lee Morris in October, a "Cocktails at Five" group show in November and "50 Artists Make 250 Works for $250 or Less" in December. Artful timing! 808 11th St., Santa Monica, 310.260.1957.