A! Magazine for the Arts

Local Artisans Honor Greeneville With Jewelry Design

January 25, 2007

GREENEVILLE -- James-Ben: Studio and Gallery has introduced a line of sterling silver collectible jewelry designed and created to celebrate one of Tennessee's most venerable and historically significant communities. As Greeneville's Regional Art Center, James-Ben: Studio and Gallery houses not only the work of numerous artists and fine-craft artisans, but a working jewelry studio as well.

"Many people are unaware that jewelry is created from two different sources, the large-scale production from the commercial industry, and the individually crafted work of designer/artisans," says James-Ben Stockton. "We take the latter approach in our studio." While the precious metal logo collectibles are produced in greater numbers than the other jewelry from James-Ben: Designer/Artisan, they are nevertheless individually created, signed, and numbered in limited edition. The studio initiated this line of logo collectibles over twenty years ago while located in historic Franklin, Tennessee, which, along with Greeneville, was one of the first five Main Street communities designated by the state.

"The local Main Street organization had a wonderful logo, which we were asked to translate into a lapel pin," says Stockton. "We created a process, unique to our studio, by which we could generate the image over and over, while retaining our style of hands-on attention to each individual piece." In 1995, Franklin received one of the "Great American Main Street" awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Franklin logo jewelry was modified to include those words in the design. "We were the only artisans in the United States given permission from the National Trust to use their trademarked phrase," Stockton recalls. Over time, the precious metal logos have been done for such diverse entities as crafts guilds, the National Women's Business Organization, Nashville Public Television, and the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign.

Prior to the move to East Tennessee in 2002, James-Ben: Designer/Artisan had already created logo jewelry for the historic Jonesborough and Rogersville communities. "But even in continuing a process we've done for a long time, there was something special about creating the new Greeneville logo jewelry, just as there's something special about Greeeneville itself," says Stockton. In addition to crafting the art wearables, Stockton himself created the overall design for the image, incorporating details from several distinctive Greeneville attributes. As in previous efforts, the jewelry will take many forms, including lapel pins, pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings, and belt buckles. "It is such a joy to renew this process in our new hometown," says Stockton. "We were brought to Greeneville to help the community revitalize itself for the 21st century. This new line of jewelry, unique to this wonderful small town, is something that we hope will help accomplish that."

For further information about the Greeneville precious metal logo wearables, James-Ben: Designer/Artisan, or James-Ben: Studio and Gallery, contact James-Ben Stockton or Daniel Luther at (423) 787-0195.