In Tammy Tiranasar‘s jewelry, the art of macramé unfurls in colorfully hand-knotted necklaces that play with and subvert expectations about patterns. Sweeping, intuitively articulated, organic forms characterize the line and are presented in the bold (and more accessibly priced) Silk Collection, as well as in the avidly collected, one-of-a-kind pieces from the 1/1 series, which are created over weeks at a time and strung with semiprecious stones. In 2005 the Asia Society recognized her as an emerging designer with lasting potential, but motherhood took over and Tiranasar’s meticulously crafted accessories became solely available to friends and as private commissions—until now.
Tiranasar stumbled across the medium while studying visual arts at Columbia University, when she chanced upon a vintage ’70s craft book which included a section on macramé. A sculptural fiber art too often relegated to the kitsch of hanging pot holders and revealing swimwear, when unleashed in Tiranasar’s hand, macramé became a uniquely sculptural drawing tool. In her weave, “the cords are lines.”
After graduating she began a career in fashion, printing her drawings onto hand-dyed silks which she then embroidered. Barney’s New York took notice, and her work was carried in stores throughout the US for several seasons. Tiranasar, whose technique was honed while she was hand-embroidering Ralph Rucci‘s abstract designs, admired the fashion designer’s distinctive vocabulary and was inspired by Rucci to develop within her own work “refinement, a point of view.”
Her method is first to gather silk cords and beads in colors that speak to her. Each piece is “approached like a drawing”—or perhaps more accurately—a sketch; the designs are never premeditated. She often works “in the round,” anchoring the work on a ring and turning it to see what develops. “It’s more successful when I do it organically in the moment,” Tiranasar shares. The resulting original compositions are a medium-defying “emotional expression.”
Tiranasar’s personal vocabulary expands with the feedback she receives from clients. Some collectors gravitate toward riotous eddies of color, snapping up pieces in which the plastic and precious stones are worked into the same intricate webs. Others are drawn to monumental stones, a preference which spurred Tiranasar to evolve her craft and learn metalwork techniques for bezeling stones. The use of a monolithic focal point held resonance for jewelry designer and renowned innovator Ivy Ross, who collects Tiranasar’s pieces. Says Ross, who now heads Google Glass, “The organic movement of the macramé constructed from the painterly combinations of color and texture is what first caught my eye. Then, when I saw one of the pieces that had the added contrast of a clean geometric crystal, I fell in love with that visual tension, and knew it had to come home with me.”
Tammy Tamasar’s Silk and 1/1 collections are displayed online and can be purchased by contacting the designer. THe Silk collection starts at $285 and the 1/1/ collection is price upon request.
Images courtesy of Tammy Tiranasar Jewelry