Iris is excited to continue her exploration of local Chicago jewelry artists with Jennifer Mosley, creator of Pleasure Hunter!
Jennifer is an emerging self-taught jewelry designer and photographer. Living in Wicker Park, she is surrounded by street art, the sounds of the “L” train, and alleys where she finds objects to incorporate into her jewelry. Puddle reflections, insects, architecture, and chipped paint are her main sources of inspiration. Colorful glass, rubber, patinated metal, and plastic are elevated by semi precious stones, silver, polymer, and resin through her work. Pleasure Hunter's jewelry pieces explore new materials while pairing them with found objects - connecting the wearer to the past, and giving them a chance for a new life.
Read on below for our exclusive interview with Jennifer Mosley:
Rubber Pendant Necklace with Embedded Lapis and Sterling Wire
Iris: When did you start making jewelry, and what was your inspiration to begin?
JM: I have been making jewelry for myself since I was a teenager. I’ve always liked creating pieces that no one else has. My work has evolved throughout the years and I now use semi precious stones and metals, resin, and sterling silver leaf. I want to keep my jewelry down to earth while also elevating it with materials that give it an other-worldly appeal.
Polished Found Glass Earrings
Iris: Which medium came first for you, photography or jewelry making?
JM: Jewelry. Then photography. Pictures are tricky because they are flat; I try to incorporate as many textural elements into my photographs as I can. I am very tactile, so having a medium with three dimensions is appealing to me.
Necklace with Frango Mint Wrappers, Glass Fuses, and Pearls
Iris: Is your photography and jewelry work connected in any way?
JM: Yes and no. I have made pieces like my puddle brooches which are based off of the reflection pictures, although I am more inclined to create a piece organically rather than basing it off of a specific image and confining it.
Polished Found Glass Earrings
Iris: What is your process for collecting the materials that you upcycle through your jewelry work?
JM: I take a lot of walks and that’s how I find the starting pieces for my jewelry. I keep a little bag with me to collect items and often stop in the middle of a street to pick up paint chips from a mural, pieces of a broken tail light, or a smashed car window. Misfortune or carelessness becomes your treasure.
Brooch with Glass, Polymer, Resin, and Silver Leaf
Iris: How do you decide the means by which to embellish your found materials into a jewelry piece?
JM: The colors first - I love blues and greens - then the shapes. I try not to alter things too much, I want them to be recognizable as they were found but also make them more elegant to wear. In the end, I am trying to bring out the little miracles of shape and color that I see in the discarded and broken things that I find. Sometimes that means giving it a soft border and refining its shape. Other times it may mean capturing the way light moves through it while losing some of the original shape.
Earrings with Candy Wrapper, Labradorite, Moonstone, Sterling Silver, Glass
Iris: How does the environment of Wicker Park impact your work?
JM: This neighborhood has too much going on to waste time judging one another. I can dress and act any way and there’s always someone wilder than me. I feel I can express myself more here than in other neighborhoods I’ve lived. Plus, there is art everywhere and that encourages me to push myself.
Iris is pleased to announce The Pleasure Hunter Collection will be on display and for sale in-store at Water Tower Place during March and April! Join us for the opening event on Thursday, March 7th from 6pm - 8:30pm at Iris. View the official invites below, and get your (free) tickets or RSVP!