The art jewelry community is a tight knit group. So why not make it even smaller? This was the premise behind Peter Deckers’ ambitious HANDSHAKE Project. Deckers, a jewelry artist and teacher at the Whitireia jewelry department in Wellington, New Zealand had the idea to pair 12 emerging New Zealand jewelers with 12 internationally renowned jewelry artists. Distance did not serve as an obstacle; after all in the age of Skype connecting people is no grand feat. Thus the HANDSHAKE Project was born and twelve young jewelers got the opportunity to work with their heroes.

One such pairing was Gallery Loupe artist Andrea Wagner and her mentee Lynsay Raine. Wagner and Raine exchanged images of each other’s work and allowed themselves to be inspired. For Wagner, who is based in Amsterdam, the distance and not being able to “be there in the flesh” was challenging at times. And certainly as she explains in “Eleven Times Zones Away”, her contribution to the publication “HANDSHAKE – 12 Contemporary Jewellers Meet Their Hero”, she was up to that challenge. As she concludes in her essay, “the resulting jewelry pieces prove that the experience has been successful in helping these emerging jewelers to fine-tune their visual language.”

The main objective of the HANDSHAKE Project was to team up mentors and mentees and allow them to communicate and create. The project was broken up into three phases: the first phase was akin to a meet and greet where through “feedback sessions” the teams got to know each other and let their creative juices flow. One of the requirements was to document each exchange, whether it was via email, skype or visit, on the project’s official blog. This blog later served as the foundation for the aforementioned publication, “HANDSHAKE – 12 Contemporary Jewellers Meet Their Hero”. During the second phase the mentor and mentee made collaborative work for the “Objectspace” exhibition that was held in Auckland last week (June 17-20, 2013). For the final phase of the project, the mentee will select a recent jewelry school graduate and, for a year, become their mentor. Thereby allowing the HANDSHAKE Project to come full circle.

Other participants include Estela Saez, Lucy Sarneel, Lisa Walker, Judy Darragh, Karl Fritsch, Fabrizio Tridenti, Iris Eichenberg, Warwick Freeman, Octavia Cook, Hanna Hedman, Suska Mackert Gillian Deery, Nadene Carr, Sharon Fitness, Kristin D’Agostino, Neke Moa, Becky Bliss, Sarah Read, Jessica Winchcombe, Sam Kelly, Debbie Adamson, and Jhana Millers.

To read the blog & view the work visit