Nadine Kariya: The Hammer and the Peony
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art presented Nadine Kariya: The Hammer and the Peony, a retrospective of 70 pieces of jewelry and small functional objects spanning Kariya’s career, from her start in the early 1970’s through 2017.
Kariya sold her first piece in 1973, not long after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in metal design from the University of Washington. Since then, she has worked in creating many types of jewelry, including pendants, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and cufflinks. Kariya works with multiple aspects of jewelry making, such as forging, welding, engraving, and even the alchemy of making alloys. Though she primarily works in metals, Kariya has also included found objects such as fossils and animal bone, as well as carved wood.
Kariya supported herself for several decades as a commercial jewelry maker, often creating commissioned pieces based around stones or objects from collectors. She had not considered herself a maker of narrative jewelry, until 2010 when Karen Lorene of Facere Jewelry Art Gallery invited her to participate in a show celebrating her 70th birthday. Lorene asked each artist to select a year to make a piece about. Inspired by Ramona Solberg, Kariya chose the year 2009, and created a four brooch set about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, she has continued to create narrative pieces, often including imagery of a Kingfisher bird and other recognizable iconography.