Our First Emerging Artist:
Dana Antonia

emerging artists

I drove down a long, winding road dotted with farms. Dana’s home is on my left. Newly renovated, it’s practical, comfortable, and filled with animals.

Dana is tall and willowy with a striking combination of dark hair and blue eyes. Mid-twentyish, she’s a gentle soul and a talented artist. In her case, genetics play a key role. Her father is an accomplished musician and actor, her mother attended Parsons and was a clothing designer.

She led me back to her work space. Dana is amazingly organized. There’s a design desk separated from her jeweler’s bench. Everything is clean and in its place. Detailed drawings are posted on the wall and containers of colorful stones are neatly displayed on shelves.

I was struck by her organization because of how it translates to her work. She is trying to understand and make sense of space, in her home and in her work. Her jewelry has clean, interesting lines. Sometimes they’re straight, sometimes they’re curved. And we’re challenged by things being a little askew. An unexpected shape appears, two shapes are different, shapes intersect or intertwine...but then everything comes together in perfect balance.

She is prolific, but I found myself leaning towards her dramatic dangle earrings to show you here.

Please visit Dana’s website at www.danaantonia.com to see lots more.

Her pieces are hand made and one-of-a-kind. They’re not “production” pieces. Each aspect of them, starting with the design and ending with the execution, was done by Dana personally. And as with all fine quality jewelry, the workmanship on the back is as fine as the workmanship on the front.

View our collection of Dana Antonias Jewelry.

Full Name:     Dana Antonia Shishmanian

Where do you call home?     Poughkeepsie, New York

Where did you train as a jeweler?     My formal training was at SUNY New Paltz.

When did you decide to become a jeweler, and why?

Growing up with creative parents, I always knew I was going to pursue a career in the arts. A teacher in high school encouraged me to pursue metal smithing. I felt it would be a challenge to design three-dimensional jewelry objects after having worked in two-dimensional arts like photography.”

What inspires your jewelry designs? (What are your main influences, or what jewelers have influenced your work?)

I still feel like I’m evolving - but what feels good is making pieces inspired by illustrations and photographs I’ve made in the past. I travel as much as possible, so I’m constantly soaking up ideas from the architecture, shapes, shadows, lines, and color palettes of the places and museums I’ve visited. I went to Japan last year and I’m still ‘unpacking’ everything I soaked up while there.

I love to collect semi-precious gemstones and sketch around them, and very often the process of making one pair of earrings will inspire variations. Everything is made by hand, so I have to welcome practical limitations during the process. It’s a challenge.”

What material(s) do you like to work with?

I’m working with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. Right now I’m really loving Montana Agate, Chalcedony, and Carnelian for their colors and unique patterns. Gold is coming soon!”

Tell us about the favorite piece you've made. Why is it your favorite?

It’s so hard to choose! I would have to pick the Chalcedony Statement Earrings - they’re a good example of the gemstones leading the design (the shapes are reflected in a pierced detail on the back) and they were a technical challenge for me. The original design was different from how they ended up, and I let the process guide how they finally turned out. They’re the biggest pair of earrings I’ve made, and I love that they make such a statement.”

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