Sunday, September 28, 2008
Say what you like about the allegedly Wilde-esque self-absorption of the contemporary artistic soul. Say it but don’t expect me to agree. As far as I’m concerned, in questions of eco-ethics and social conscience today’s generation of artists acquits itself splendidly—and if you don’t believe that, consider the grassroots example of Ash Hilton. A New Zealander with a passion for “responsible” jewelry craft, Hilton produces his fabulous rings with a priority on wasting nothing, even going so far as to offer a line shaped from “beached gold” collected right off his local shores. But put away those visions of Longbeard the half-mad beachcomber: Hilton is a thoughtful and talented craftsman, with simple designs such as the stately treeline of In the Pines serving to infer a rugged masculinity that sufficiently “roughs up” the long-stemmed elegance of its subject. Rings as stark and unpretentious as these, whether used to seal a modern marriage or just to accessorize a good jacket, are a great find for today’s man. But more importantly, anything made this responsibly is a marvelous gift for tomorrow’s world.