Benefit v.14 celebrates the art of fashion with a specially curated section. Special guests to the Main Event include Bela Shehu, Cory Wade Hindorff from America’s Next Top Model, and Dom Streater from Project Runway. In anticipation of our surprise fashion highlights, we’re featuring auction items with stand-out style.
Ashley Peel Pinkham, assistant director of The Print Center, is a jewelry-maker participating in the Benefit for a second year. She talks about her various volunteer experiences as well as her excitement for this year’s Benefit.
Could you talk about your arts background? What media do you tend to work in the most?
I graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Photography. I also studied jewelry and metalsmithing with Sharon Church while I was there which put an early little bug in my ear of what would evolve into my jewelry work today. I work with a lot of natural materials in my jewelry including coral, bone and horn as well as gemstones such as quartz, lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian. I also love using resin and acrylic beads in my work. You can get big, bold colors and big, bold shapes and sizes!
What is your role as Assistant Director at The Print Center?
I started at The Print Center in 2000 as the Gallery Store Manager where I worked with over 75 artists from all over the world by sharing and selling their prints and photographs. In 2003, I became the Assistant Director where I oversee all of the marketing, press relations, internships, office management and our annual Auction – our biggest fundraiser of the year.
What has your volunteer work with Philagrafika and The Photo Review included?
I worked early on with Philagrafika when they were still the Philadelphia Print Collaborative (PPC) and served on their Young Audience Committee. We would organize events around the city to make prints with kids and adults including the annual Valentine’s Day Print Love-In held at Fleisher Art Memorial. The Print Center was also the hub for information during Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious – the citywide celebration of prints. I have volunteered for The Photo Review’s annual fall Auction and spring Garden Party since I was in school. I think I had volunteered for their Auction for 10 years straight until I broke my foot one year and couldn’t volunteer.
Could you explain your project Body Image: A Photo Documentary? What was your inspiration for that project?
I was invited by the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania to do an artist residency with their scouts aged 8-15. I taught them basics of photography (each girl was given her own 35mm point and shoot camera) and then through their own self-portraits began to focus on positive body image through the appreciation of their own work. Throughout the residency, I was photo documenting the girls photo documenting themselves. The residency culminated with an exhibition of their work, accented by my photo observations, at The Print Center.
How did you begin creating jewelry? Do you specialize in any specific kind of jewelry?
I have always been known for my big, bold jewelry and one day just decided that I wanted to make my own! I founded INDICAN in 2012 and have been making new work ever since. The collection is inspired by many diverse cultures including African, Indian, Native American, Mayan, Incan, Hmong just to name a few. I add a coin ‘signature’ to each of my necklaces as a reflection of my collection’s worldly inspiration.
Some people are actually surprised that I only started making work then because they thought I had always made my own jewelry. I am mainly known for making chunky, colorful necklaces from natural materials but I also make button earrings from African kente cloth.
Can you tell us a little about the piece you are donating for the Benefit?
The necklace I donated this year is made of vibrant red resin beads that mimic amber and one off-centered resin black bead. This is a modern take on tribal jewelry found in a lot of African cultures. All of my necklaces have an extender chain with an international coin attached at the end. My donation this year has a coin from Mozambique.
Have you participated previously in the Benefit?
Last year was the first year I donated a piece of jewelry to the Benefit and I was very happy to be able to contribute again this year.
What are you looking forward to the most about the Benefit?
It is always fun to see all of the great donations, see old friends, make new ones and share my work with a new audience!
Bid on Ashley Peel Pinkham’s work in advance on Bidpal, or join us at Benefit v.14 on Saturday, February 8