Modern Artifacts by Shahasp Valentine: The Pop Up, Rock & Rapture at La Matadora

By Katie Nartonis

“Jewelry is personal, worn on the body, and is celebratory. We become part of the fabric of our community members’ lives. This is an honor and a privilege” – Shahasp Valentine

La Matadora Gallery in Joshua Tree is featuring a popup show in November and December. “The Pop Up, Rock & Rapture” pop-up, coordinated by Shahasp Valentine, will be in Downtown Joshua Tree inside La Matadora Gallery. The show will feature 28 jewelers, artists, and craftspeople. It runs from November 11 through December 31, 2023.

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Valentine’s Modern Artifacts Collection features historically inspired designs based on great jewels of the past, places visited, architectural details, stained glass windows of great cathedrals and elements taken from virtually every period of history. This collection is intended to appear ancient as if the jewelry has been excavated from an archaeological dig, found in a sunken treasure chest, or handed down for generations. Shahasp notes, “I am influenced by nature, architecture, costume, the Renaissance, Elizabethan and Gothic styles.”

Shahasp is an awarded and published Jeweler and Jewelry Designer. Her work has been nationally and internationally recognized with awards, numerous articles and features in books, magazines and online. She is a certified Precious Metal Clay Instructor, published author and GIA Grad.

She has been creating jewelry since she was a teenager. She recalls that her jewelry education began at age 13 with a lapidary class. which sparked her already strong interest in jewelry. The following year the artist enrolled in a jewelry casting class where she learned wax techniques, mold making, casting, finishing and some stone setting. Travel has been a deep influence on her work. Her visits to locals far-flung as Venice, Rome, Athens, Beirut, Cairo, Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, and London have inspired her aesthetic and sense of style from a young age. Her background in art, fashion and graphic design also shapes her vision of jewelry design.

“My hope with my work is to contribute to the experience which is life in a positive and creative way, to enhance the rich spirit of love and beauty that lives in everyone,” says Valentine.

Valentine continued taking classes in jewelry throughout high school and college, in addition to her studies in ceramics, fine art and fashion design. In 1993 she began creating jewelry professionally, turning her life-long love into a business. A turning point was working with Precious Metal Clay in 1998.

Precious Metal Clay (PMC) is a revolutionary new material in the jewelry world developed by Mitsubishi Materials in the early 1990’s. The ingredients of PMC are micro-particles (powdered) pure silver or pure gold suspended in “clay” consisting of water and organic naturally occurring plant-based binder. The binder or “clay” is non- toxic in both its raw and fired form and completely evaporates in the firing process. “Precious Metal Clay (PMC), has given me the freedom to create the texture and movement I’ve always wanted in my work, she notes, but could not achieve using traditional jewelry techniques.”

In Valentine’s work, stones are set in the wet clay and fired in place, a process which she has pioneered. Ruby and sapphire (corundum) and a hand full of other stones are the only materials which can withstand the firing temperature and duration. “In keeping with the old world and natural feeling I have for the PMC process I purposefully try not to imitate traditionally made jewelry styles and do all finishing by hand, burnishing and brushing giving the pieces a wonderfully organic, rich and ancient quality. The final step in anointing the piece with essential oils,” Valentine notes.

The Pop Up, Rock & Rapture at La Matadora Gallery, 61857 Highway 62, Joshua Tree, CA 92252. November 2nd, Saturday Art Walk will feature live music by local space-wave band, Cult of Helios and Wild East, a textiles company which supports a family in India. December 2nd Saturday will feature Joshua Tree’s own Selene Boutique, who’s curation is fresh and contemporary yet edgy.

The unique work of photographer Barry Barbour-
Duncan’s will also be featured in the show.
Shahasp Valentine – 415 932-9950

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