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Jewels of Photography

PIXessories from Stephanie Bartz

Nov. 12, 2012
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Photographer Stephanie Bartz and jeweler/silversmith Sarah Mann met approximately 10 years ago at a women’s art group named Works In Progress. The invitation only, informal organization meets every month to offer its members collaboration, encouragement and support, something all artists admire. Bartz and Mann admired each other’s art, and after honing their individual experience for more than 20 years, decided to collaborate on a unique business they named PIXessories. The two artists handcraft accessories, with Bartz’s photographs encircled by Mann’s matte finished, sterling silver bezels. Custom jewelry worn as a necklace or ring to honor a beloved child or pet that faintly reflects the Victorian fashion of cherishing loved ones through that era’s miniature portrait jewelry. Bartz and Mann explain their contemporary take on an old idea.

How did the two of you come up with the idea of PIXessories?

SM: We each have struggled with our own business as artists over the years, and had always wanted to collaborate. About a year ago we came up with the idea of using Stephanie’s pictures of children and pets placed in my sterling silver jewelry. It’s been such a pleasure because we both respect each other’s art.

SB: It’s a collaboration that brings a loved one, which have to date been mostly children or pets although it could be any loved one, into a custom or handsmithed piece of Sarah’s jewelry that holds their image. They bring such joy. They’re like little treasures.

How does the process work to create a PIXessory?

SM: First, the person or pet that will be placed in the jewelry needs to have someone set up an appointment with Stephanie for the on location shoot for their portrait. Then with Stephanie’s help, the customer chooses a photo that’s domed with a glass cover. The pictures are developed in black and white because these images marry well with the silver, a matte finished metal with a patina.

SB: There are two photo sessions that I offer, a mini and full photo session, and the customer may choose other prints from the on location shoot. There are two sizes of circular pendants and rings, and then two chain lengths, 16 and 18 inches. The entire process can require three to four weeks, and we’ve also engraved the initials of the loved one on the back of the finished jewelry.

What’s have you enjoyed about your collaboration?

SB: There was one mother who wanted me to take pictures of her mother, now in her 90’s.  She was going to have a necklace made for her daughter to honor that legacy with an original heirloom the daughter could wear. Wearing these likenesses makes those seeing the jewelry smile and this shares your loved one with other people.

SM: We know it’s a luxury item, something to give or remember for anniversaries, birthdays, holidays or special celebrations. They’re heirloom pieces because the custom jewelry when finished will cost slightly over 300 dollars. So, it’s a great pleasure to create art for these personal memories.

For further information, prices and more samples of the PIXessory jewelry please view the artists’ website: www.sbartzphotography.com or www.mannstudio.com 



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