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Behind The Scenes

Meet Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer

In 2008, Jaclyn Mayer (right) got together with Orly Genger, who she had met years before at a gallery in Chelsea, to talk about a necklace. Orly, an installation artist who makes giant, knotted rope sculptures, needed something unique to wear to an upcoming show. And she wanted Jaclyn, a jewelry designer who was moving back to NYC after fashion school in London, to make it for her. As they caught up, Jaclyn began to play around with some of the raw materials lying on Orly’s floor. “She just started picking up rope, weaving chain through it, and all of a sudden, there was this delicate, little piece,” Orly says from that same whitewashed studio in Brooklyn where they had their first get-together. The creation, inspired by Orly’s sculptures, was a hit at the exhibit, and before they knew it, requests started to roll in. They never intended for it to turn into a business, but planned or not, they were onto something. Now in their sixth collection, the two keep pushing their go-to material forward: knotting, casting, and dip-dyeing it. Yes, they’ve sure gotten a lot out of a pile of rope sitting on a dusty cement floor in Brooklyn. —lydia woolever See all that rope the girls are sitting on? Some of it made its way into the bracelet Orly and Jaclyn made for us! Right this way…
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Jaclyn Mayer and Orly Genger Borough Hop

The Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer collaboration—a range of strong, streamlined rope jewelry—is more than just a story of two friends. It’s a tale of two cities—or, well, two boroughs, to be exact. Jaclyn, an accessories designer, works in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn; Orly, an installation artist, works in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan. They met many moons ago, when Jaclyn was managing an art gallery in Chelsea where Orly was showing her work, and here, the girls share six of the places they keep coming back to, on both sides of the East River. —lydia woolever MANHATTAN Takahachi SushiJaclyn: “This has been a favorite sushi restaurant since college. They have the best fresh fish, and you can look out the window and see different people in the East Village doing their own thing—from young kids to people who’ve been there since the sixties. There’s always interesting style and energy.” (takahachi.net) Madison Square ParkOrly: “When the weather’s good, we just hang, sit, chat, and watch the art here. We really loved Jim Campbell’s “Scattered Light” installation last year—it was all these lights strung on rope in a really beautiful form that somehow echoed the intensity of the crowd.” Doyle & DoyleJaclyn: “This is a lovely fine jewelry store with an amazing collection, all antiques. Their stuff is totally different from our work, but we can still appreciate it.” (doyledoyle.com) BROOKLYN Spuyten DuyvilJaclyn: “We like the casual environment at this Williamsburg spot, and we’re both big wine and cheese lovers. It’s a nice place to talk, have a glass of wine, and discuss ideas. Plus, in the summer, they have a great outdoor seating area.” (spuytenduyvilnyc.com) Orly’s StudioOrly: “The Greenpoint studio is, first and foremost, the place where we hang out and get ideas. It’s a safe place to get really dirty and try new things.” Prospect ParkJaclyn: “We meet here to talk about ideas, have picnics, and listen to live music from the bandshell. It’s right across the street from where I live. From one side of my rooftop, you can see the park. And from the other, you can see over the rooftops to the city.” See what the NYC girls made for us: a bold, black ‘n white ‘n gold bracelet that classes up any outfit.
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Casting Call with Orly Genger and Jaclyn Mayer

The strong, feminine mood board in the Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer studio. As far as Orly Genger and Jaclyn Mayer see things, jewelry doesn’t have to be about glitz. Instead, they’ve shaped their line around appealingly tough hunks of metal, layers of candy-colored paint, and rope traditionally used by sailors and climbers. In fact, that last component finds its way into nearly every design the duo dreams up, but it shape-shifts. “We’re inspired by our materials—by what they can do,” Orly explains. “Every season, we think about a new process or technique, and then we exploit it to the fullest.” Get to know their newest approach: rope casting. —lydia woolever See this technique in action in the rad bracelet the duo made for us. Just 20 of a kind up for grabs! Orly: “We’re using malleable materials, and we want to show how something pliable can become tough. We are actually making the soft rope hard by casting it.”Jaclyn: “We like to stay on the minimal side, but we always try to have juxtaposition—whether it’s the hardness of the metal or the tension of the knots next to the softness of the rope.” Orly: “With casting, you take an object—any object—and make a mold of it. Then you remove the object and pour metal into the negative space. So here, we cast the rope into the metal. It looks like rope, but it’s actually metal.”Jaclyn: “We use a soft white metal that we plate in gold or whatever finish we want. We create the design, and then we have our factory in New York that does the casting.” Jaclyn: “We did castings for the first time last fall. In the spring, we started doing impressions—imprinting the texture of the knotted rope into the metal to make these amazing, fossil-like charms. At the time, we were looking at the beach and the boardwalk—the shells and tracks you find in the sand.”Orly: “What’s nice about this bracelet we made for Of a Kind is the way it opens and has flexibility in the middle from the real rope. It reminds me of muscle and bone—like the movement of a joint.”
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