Sharing the Process : Rand Papele Jewelry

Guest Contributor Post by Heather Smith Jones of Blue Sparrow Press.

Hello and welcome to another installment of Sharing the Process! We're really excited to have the artists of Rand Papele Jewelry, Eben Papele and Judith Rand, talking about their work. Based in High Falls, New York, Rand Papele jewelry is made all by hand blending traditional techniques and innovative methods. I really appreciate not only their beautiful designs but also their experience and dedication to the craft. Thank you Eben and Judith so much!

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We are Eben Papele and Judith Rand, the hands and minds behind Rand Papele Jewelry. We met 20+ years ago and have been collaborating ever since. We began Rand Papele Jewelry in 2009 selling wholesale to shops and galleries. Since every season requires a new line, we approach design from that perspective. Meaning, the work exists in a framework with the pieces relating to each other, and a story emerges from how those pieces relate to each other.

Our Spring/Summer 2012 collection is called “The Archer” and was very much inspired by Navajo patterns and textiles. You’ll see this throughout the collection. Sometimes we have ideas for pieces that don’t fit aesthetically with the inspiration for the season so they are shelved until they can be incorporated into a new body of work.

Eben is the metalsmith and has been very fortunate to have held long term positions learning the craft from two very different working artists, working at both extremes of scale. He first started with large scale animal sculptor Peter Woytuk, learning metal finishing, welding, soldering, wax work and mold making in the midst of a functioning professional studio. He also worked alongside renowned contemporary goldsmith, Pat Flynn, learning a myriad of hand fabrication techniques and diamond setting.

We sometimes sketch our ideas and work things out on paper as a starting point. Most of the designs emerge through model making and prototypes that we invariably make changes to. It can be a painful process at times, but we try to stay unattached and edit our designs in terms of scale and proportion until a piece feels done. Sometimes many hours can be spent on pieces that just don’t “work” in the end. Sometimes though it’s just the opposite, and something wonderful happens immediately.

Metal is a very exacting material and the challenge is to let it flow and be spontaneous in the face of technical and physical limitations. So we try to achieve our ways of working and our techniques through actual experimentation. To achieve this we try to find ways to break the rules. For example our texturing methods are not traditional, we have innovated our own methods and this is one of the things that brings our work to life.


The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi incorporates the idea of imperfection and impermanence as an inherent part of life and is very much the opposite of the Western concept of beauty in perfection. We like the idea of leaving things a little rough and imperfect. In this way there’s an acknowledgment of a journey, of learning and of change. There’s beauty in that imperfection and we hope our work resonates with its wearer in this way. Thanks for letting us share a bit about our process, feel free to contact us with questions and comments.

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Heather Smith Jones M.F.A., is a multi-media artist, arts instructor, and author. She lives with her husband in Lawrence, Kansas and loves painting, printing, and drawing in the studio that he built. Find out more about what Heather does here:

Website :
Blue Sparrow Press :
Poppytalk Handmade :

Jan Halvarson


Jaime @ laviejaime said...

awesome post! so cool to see the behind the to see their site.

Mandy Behrens said...

Fascinating article--I just LOVE reading these installments--it's an honor to catch a glimpse of true craftsmanship. Thank you Heather + Jan! Cheers, M

Dus of Cuddly Cacti said...

so cool learning how they make these pretty pieces! Def true to not get too attached, I always do that w/ art & then mess it up & inevitably don't want to try again. super cute workshop too & fun seeing them in action!

Unknown said...

such a wonderful post. thank you for sharing the behind the scenes. as an artist, sometimes we think we are the only ones working in our own little world, plugging along. it's comforting...and inspiring to see. beautiful work!!