She deliberately doesn’t tell you what it is, but if you think like Lynn Di Nino you can make a pretty good guess at the basic material for her show “The New Mysterious Jewelry,” up now at Sandpiper Gallery in Old Town Tacoma. I may be wrong, but my guess is…(drum roll)…coffee filters.
Yep, there’s a gallery full of coffee filter jewelry in Old Town, and it’s definitely worth wearing. Di Nino, who usually works in concrete but has lately explored all sorts of other, mostly found and recycled, media, gives you a hint in the artist statement – the item curled up into some 40 necklaces, brooches, hair clips and earrings around Sandpiper is something ordinary found in every kitchen, and if it’s not filters it’s something similar: rolled up like a cigar, squashed concertina-like, painted and glued to a brittle delicacy.
Which makes these objects sound rather disgusting, and it’s true that, hanging off the walls or perched on concrete mounts, they look rather like huge, vibrant caterpillars in indigo, hot pink or pale green, curled up and playing dead so you won’t spot them. But the lower furl unrolls flirtatiously, and you can’t help loving the alien sweetness of them.
Some, hung on dotty orange or cheap gold tie ribbon, end up looking a little like grade-school projects. But others are eye-catchingly dramatic.
“Night Train” is a bold, gray-silver roll mounted on chain-mail ribbon connected by real chain; it’s got echoes of Nancy Worden.
“Tower of Pisa” strings a quartet of lavender, gold, aqua and maroon rolls, each slightly different, on felt-like twists of violet and olive – the crimped paper and furry textile dialogue around each other and draw you in to the conversation.
“Tip of the Iceberg” mounts a gray roll on a silver-leafed ribbon like a winter cocoon, while the two sets of earrings – black studs, white danglies – glitter like effervescent fabric. This is jewelry Cinderella would have worn, had she any artistic creativity.
Di Nino is also offering up her concrete “props” to mount the jewelry on, which is a great idea: a tiny rhino, a football, a stiletto and – my favorite – an enormous horizontal nose.
“The New Mystery Jewelry” by Lynn Di Nino is on view noon-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Oct. 21. Free. Sandpiper Gallery, 2221 N. 30th St., Tacoma. 253-627-6667