Jewelry & Adornment ~ on STYLE 2014, Interview with Diane Master

“Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!” ~ coco chanel

IMG_3194  IMG_3183 IMG_3173

Above, left: Eric Silva bracelet and Shaya Durbin earrings. Center: Shaya Durbin necklace. Right: Eric Silva bracelets.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to 
find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~ nelson mandela

IMG_3252Style 2014 ~ Palo Alto:  Entering a design show space is like entering a village (see map, left), with all the booths set up in a certain way and for a specific reason that may be unknown to everyone but the organizer/curator. There is a flow to the circulation of people (both guests and participants), a way of moving through the space and a way of meeting the exhibitors.  In many ways you are locked in to the actual location of where you are placed, and it takes a sense of curiosity to move beyond where you are physically “stationed.” For me, I always approach it like an anthropologist. I arrive, get an overall sense of the people and the place, see what is aesthetically appealing to me, and then if I have energy (and most importantly time) beyond dealing with my own customers, it’s always fun to meet new people; or at least reconnect with those I already know.

The STYLE 2014 show i just recently did, is a commitment of two days; and depending where I am in my life, I have been able to make that weekend commitment of being focused and ready to interact with clients. I had been doing the annual show on and off for 7 years, but not 2013. And re-entering a show is like re-engaging anew with a book, a film, a piece of writing, a person. It evokes memories, reminds you of the past, the last time you had done the show, but with perspective changed. “You yourself have altered…”


 Interview #31 with Diane Master, curator of STYLE 2014, Palo Alto
                                 Wednesday May 14th 2014, at Pizzaiolo in Oakland

On GROWING UP ~ from Long Island to Palo Alto ~ “I grew up outside NYC on Long Island in ROSLYN. You can’t hear it in my voice? I went to all the museums, my mother loved clothes, shopping, interior design. Visuals were important. I started taking the LIR when I was 14 yrs old to NYC.. and would go to the NYC Library because it was cavernous and fabulous. I was in the West Village in the 60s and as an only child, my goal was to make my parents happy and I learned to lie. I would cut school and go to NYC with my boyfriend and it was 1966 and we went to Washington Square Park. We returned home and everything seemed to be ok (we got away with it) and the 11pm news came on and there were Steve and I… but i didn’t get in trouble, but what were the chances?”

{I loved this little story because that morning my son August wanted to stay home and I told him about Twist and Shout in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off}

“…My father’s sister was an artist and I just grew up around creativity. I was an art major in high school and in college I majored in medical illustration which involved people drawing what was going on during surgery. But the canvases were huge and I wanted tiny detail.. so I went on to do public health and administration. I had started going to craft fairs in the 60s ~ would go out to San Francisco to go to the Union Street Fair. I collected ceramics; and my mom’s idea of a vacation was antiquing up and down the east coast. I grew up in a house full of antiques…Eventually I ended up in Palo Alto… I had never been to California, but grew up listening to the Beach Boys and when we crossed the border my face lit up. I was so happy to be here. It was 1974.”

Clouds:vietname096  D-STYLE 2014 DSC00895  D-STYLE 2014 IMG_2361

Above, from left: Diane in Vietnam; Center and Right: at Style 2014

On creating the STYLE SHOW at the ART CENTER ~ “I’m a show junky and would go to the Association of Ceramic and Glass Artists of California (ACGA) at the Hall of Flowers in San Francisco.. and when it was in its last year I said why don’t you move it down to Palo Alto. I had just organized my daughter’s bat mitzvah, and thought why not!? It was 1993 and I ran it for 16 years at the Art Center and ran the gallery shop for 22 years. STYLE came about when 9 years ago there was an exhibit at Art Center on indigo dying and I thought it would be fun to do a clothing event about cloth. I love curating. I’m looking for originality, a take on things that I haven’t seen before, but now we’re at a crossroads because the moniker “art to wear” is dead so the question is where to go from here? What do we call it?”

IMG_3233  IMG_3205   IMG_3217

Above, left: Carol Gilbert/Yorktown Road. Center: Ocelot textiles as coasters. Right: Kelly Nedderman

I ask ~ what does Remodelista do to get people to respond and engage? Diane says, “location location location is everything; and with Blue Bottle. Heath is hip and cool and the things they’re doing are phenomenal.” We reminisce about bumping into each other at Remodelista at HEATH last fall and talk of some of my friends and colleagues who I was excited to see at the show ~ Joy Brace with her aprons (worn at Rockridge/Oakland’s Ramen Shop, and now Lloyd and I have our own), Richard Carter who just got a shout out in this month’s Bon Appetit with his collaboration with Meadowwood (I had gone to my friend Joy’s 50th at his ranch where he has one of the coolest kilns ever, and which August became obsessed with and wanted to learn more about pottery). Lloyd bought one of Eric Vandermolen’s mugs for work. (Also a neighbor of ours in West Oakland, I met Eric through Joy as well, and our kids have met his rabbits and chicks). I also ran into Dagmar Daley, who still makes the coolest boys’ clothes EVER, many of which i still treasure. From wool slacks with suspenders to button up striped Oxford shirts and hip linen Indian-inspired tops, I dressed my son August in her clothes (made in Oakland) for the first 4 years of his life. I also bumped into my friend Kate Farnady who was helping out another friend and studio neighbor on 4th street in Berkeley preserve-maker June Taylor, selling some of my favorite candied citrus peel. And, it was lovely to run into Matt Dick. I had know him for years through his work at the boutique August in Oakland, and events like Global Green that we would participate in, and just recently started watching his work much more closely since our trip to Japan. Indigo always alluded me, but now I got it. Sometimes contextualizing things means all the difference. 

Our interview took a bit of a detour, but that’s what dialogues are.. they have their patterns that sometimes take one elsewhere, only to come back to what we’re talking about.. “style” and I ask Diane about what she’s wearing. I love baby pink and in retrospect I realize that I kept that color engraved in my psyche, because a week later I bought a similar-coloured (name) top from BLANC Boutique (San Anselmo) at a trunkshow in Ross. I always think of Funny Face and the “Think Pink” musical number when I circle round to pink every few years. AND, Royal, August and I just watched it over the weekend.. and their favorite part ~ the modern dance sequence that Audrey Hepburn does; and my kids did it over and over again… giggling with joy.

IMG_4255   IMG_4259

Above, right: Diane, her pink top and Lauren Markley earrings; Left: my favorite table at Pizzaiolo

On her own STYLE ~ “I am taking a gray-cation. Grey was like my black… As you get older you need color, So “pink is my new grey”.. and this shirt i got from Diana Slavin 15 years ago.. and when we went to Vietnam people said bring your favorite pieces and have them made, so i did.

On TRAVEL ~ My favorite place has been India ~ we went 3 years ago to Delhi and Rajastan. I wanted to go to what was primarily their craft center. And it wasn’t just the color, but the color combinations that worked so perfectly. I loved india. my husband and i went because when i was in the 4th grade i had to do a country paper and i did a 68 page paper on India and from that day on I wanted to go. Also Vietnam, where I had my shirt made. And my husband always said the world is so huge so we should never go to the same place twice, but next month we’re going to go back to Bali for the 4th time. We are there for one month, renting three different houses. The first time we went you realize you have never seen this color green before ~ the rice fields of Bali.

On FOOD and YOGA ~ I love to cook. I love ethnic food ~ fresh healthy, no red meat. Chez Panisse, Delfina, Tamarind, Manresa for a special occasion.. we eat healthily. My husband is a cardiologist…I’ve been doing yoga for 37 years ~ Iyengar.. i stumbled into a yoga class when we moved back to claifornia. Lolly Font who is now 84 and still TEACHING in Palo Alto.. I like tough love yoga and i loved that she would come around and lay her hands on you and she was a phenomenal teacher. She started the California Yoga Center.. and this was when there was only Danskin. Black tights and leotard, end of discussion…

On FAVORITE BOOKS (from the past) ~ Willa Cather, all. Nancy Drew, of course. Ann Rand and Eloise. I loved books with wonderful illustrations.

EAT: pray, love
DRINK: quench
LOVE: like. enthusiasm
BE: buzz
WHERE: everywhere
WEAR: image, style, create, color, fun
LIVE: gratitude, friends, family
REMEMBER: happiness
FORGET: often
LISTEN: appreciate, hear
CREATE: life
SWEAR: fuck

When Diane departs from Pizzaiolo (my favorite place to work in the morning, and to meet up with people as well), I think of all that she has introduced me to ~ jewelery and the jewelers, clothing, accessories, and the designers who made them…Some of my favorites who I was able to talk to, get to know and discover connections with over the two-day show are the following (and stay tuned for more to come). I thank you Diane, for bringing us all together, in a beautiful space that allows creative exchange and communication..


IMG_3245     IMG_3141     IMG_3225

Above: Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry ~ by Valerie Hector

Valerie Hector on MAKING THINGS WITH HER HANDS ~ “It’s a challenging process of discovery and reward. Can the manes bring to being what the mind envisions? Or will the hands in the process bring something better into being? The answers play out differently, according to the piece. I love watching the answers emerge, as mind and hand work together in dialogue.”

On GROWING UP ~ “I grew up in a house filled with modest pieces of Chinese decorative art in different media ~ white porcelain, cinnabar, soapstone, silk, bronze and so on. Early exposure to so many materials, beautifully rendered from an exotic culture, probably helped me opt for the life of a maker. In rare cases I can point to a piece of my work and tell you exactly which piece of Chinese art I had in mind when making it ~ but in general there is no one-to-one correspondence.”

“On ADORNING ONE”S SELF ~ “It’s one of the earliest forms of symbolic expression, which speaks to the heart of who we are, communicating identity and values.”

IMG_3199   IMG_3149   IMG_3219

Above, left: Angelina DeAntonis of OcelotCenter: Kathleen Van Der Speck (interview below); Right: Suzanne Barnett’s self-designed shoes.

Kathleen Van Der Speck on her CLOTHES ~ My love of clothes starts with the love of textiles.  I am a bonafide fabric junky and when I find a fabric I love I cannot walk away from it.  I horde it and then let it tell me what to make of it.  It speaks to me and the design comes very easily usually.  If it doesn’t come easily then I’ll let it simmer for months, sometimes years until it’s ready to be made into something.  I also love making women feel good and giving them clothing options that not only look good but are easy to wear and take care of.  They can be dressed up and capture the attention of people but look like they haven’t tried too hard to do so.

On working at Tommy Bahamas ~ One of my favorite moments was visiting some of the factories in Hangzhou China.  It was really cool to watch the process and see my designs get manufactured.  Even though it was being mass produced each step was still carefully crafted by the hand of a skilled worker;  From printing the fabric to clipping the threads.  I now make my line in a local San Francisco factory and it is even more thrilling because I personally know all the cutters and sewers.

On GROWING UP ~ I grew up learning about fashion from my mom.  She had saved all her clothing from when she was in High School and from her 20’s when she lived in Chicago.  She taught me about the fabrics and quality of the pieces she had, many of which she made herself.  She had very classic and sophisticated taste and passed that along to me.  Both her and my Grandmother taught me how to sew.  I would go through their scrap fabric piles and design pieces for myself. When I was little, most of my clothes were handmade by my Mom and Grandmother. I always had a strong opinion about the fabric, color and usually demanded puff sleeves. My Grandma, who is now 90 still sews everyday. I guess you could say it’s in my blood.

On LIVING ON A SAILBOAT ~ Living on a boat for almost 6 years has certainly influenced my collection.  I design pieces that are versatile, comfortable and easy to care for but not at the expense of being fashionable.  I design clothing that feels like your workout wear or pajamas but doesn’t look like it.  It can be dressed up and dressed down and worn for many occasions.  I love textiles and texture and unique and clever details and I always incorporate those things in my designs. I think it is important that people express themselves through clothing.  It is a way to show people who you are and what you are about.  People make snap judgements and assumptions based on appearances and we might as well lead them in the right direction…


IMG_3216  IMG_3150

Above, left: Kelly Nedderman (a pair of earrings i bought). Right: Julia Turner / japanese delica bead necklaces

IMG_3176     IMG_3174

Above: Sarah Jane Hassler’s “plastic” jewelery ~ one of my favorite studio hand mirrors was made by her…


“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today,
when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” ~ miuccia prada

Be first to comment