by Donna Rhodes
Wearing a piece of Anne-Marie Chagnon’s jewelry is like donning a mini Calder or Brancusi. It has all the energy of a monumental modern sculpture compressed into a vibrating, miniature form.
If you’ve not seen Chagnon’s work (which is a guaranteed fall-in-love experience), get ready for a jaw-dropping encounter.
Chagnon is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is purchased and praised all over the world. And, best of all, you can find that work right here in Highlands at Smitten on Main.
A Montreal resident for 25 years, Chagnon is right at home in her Mile End studio where her unique creations are handcrafted. Her work/show space has a foundry annex for all the casting.
She’s inspired by organic shapes, which are sometimes happenstance discoveries. Concepts are transformed into original, small works of wearable art. Earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets and more are cast in metals, particularly pewter (a nickel-, cadmium-, and lead-free metal), her favorite for its gorgeous patina and malleability.
Each year she produces 1,000 fabulous pieces in a series of inspired styles, such as Marina Glass in tones of navy and sky blue; Cracked Resin, white surfaces fractured with rivulets of dramatic darks; Rippled Pewter, circles with torn edges.
The last is an example of a happenstance discovery. Her son was drawing and accidentally ripped his paper. As an artist who embraces flaws, she followed his lead and ripped an edge off a piece of wax she was manipulating, then cast it. Voila! A new direction was launched.
Countless peers from creative circles ‘round the world recognize her genius and high quality process. For a decade, Le Cirque du Soleil commissioned her to design and produce their exclusive, branded jewelry.
On Third Thursday, June 20, from 5:30 P.M. until the fat lady sings and the cows come home, Chagnon’s work will be featured at Smitten. And here’s a new twist: Devotees of her work are featured using, enjoying, wearing, and/or sharing their collection. This month, see Plateau residents decked out in Chagnon originals. Then head over to Smitten to purchase your own design keepsakes.
Smitten’s address is 468 Main Street, Highlands. Hours are Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.; and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. Call them at (828) 526-9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.