This story is part of Image issue 10, “Clarity,” a living document of how L.A. radiates in its own way. Read the full issue here.
Everything can be translated into jewelry. Everything has some jewelry language in it. Four years ago, my aunt gave me this purse made of metal. Super heavy. And I started looking in vintage shops for all-metal purses. Mexico has a lot of them. Some look like they’re from the ’50s, ’60s or even ’70s. Every time I see one, I’ll buy it because I’m just so attracted to them.
I’m super into fashion. I’m a hoarder of clothes in general — vintage and accessories. From collecting these metal purses, I got the idea that I wanted to make my own: sculptures that were wearable but could still exist as fashion objects. I started repurposing purses and adding different elements, just like having fun with it.
I did a residency in January, in North Carolina. And I started making a brass purse. I feel like this new one is an extension of that one, but this time I’m exploring a more precious material: sterling silver. All of my jewelry is an extension of myself and my thoughts. I’m very attracted to typography from Mexico, the kind that can be found on tortillerias or little shops that I see on the street. There are lots of tacky elements. In a way, I’m highlighting the designs that I see in Mexico, especially the ones that some people look at and are like, “Oh, that’s ugly.” But I see the beauty in that. I think it’s so beautiful.
So for this purse, I added images of things that I see in the streets. I am also using jewelry elements from jewelry that I’ve made before. It’s kind of like this collage of jewelry elements. The use of silver is also important because it’s a precious metal. Silver has also been used since ancient times to bring balance into your life or protect from negativity, bring calm. Then there’s the object itself — you could see through the bag literally. There’s a transparency there. Subtle things are important to me. The use of the material is as important as the subject.
Clarity, for me, represents my process. It’s the honesty I bring to my work.
Sterling silver casted purse (2022)
Georgina Treviño is a contemporary artist and jeweler from Tijuana based in San Diego. In 2004, she earned a B.A. in applied design with an emphasis in jewelry and metalsmithing from San Diego State University.
Her work has been part of several national and international exhibitions, including Racine Art Museum and Schmuck 2015 in Munich. Current 2021-2022 exhibitions include Design Fair, Museum of Art and Design, Puerto Rico, curated by Embajada Gallery; Dream Machine, New York City Jewelry Week; Salón Cosa, Mexico City; and Small Acts curated by Craft Desert. In 2020, Treviño’s “F— the Police” brooch was acquired by the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC as part of its permanent collection.
Treviño’s practice has been featured in publications such as The Times, Vogue, Purple, Elle, Allure, Marie Claire, the Fader, Paper and Playboy. She has worked directly with celebrities like Bad Bunny, Rosalía, Lady Gaga, Karol G, 2 Chainz, Bella Hadid, Summer Walker, Lizzo, Doja Cat and Kali Uchis, as well as brands like Nike, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Fenty, Guess and Spotify for custom work inquiries and collaborations.
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.