Luci Jockel is a Philadelphia-based jeweler, whose compelling work forges a connection between humans and animals by giving “voice” to the deceased. She combines typical jewelry-making materials—metals and minerals—with the remains of dead insects and animals, resulting in pieces that are poetic, elegant, and eminently wearable. For example, a pendant, Winged Tears, contains midnight lace obsidian, silk thread, archival glue, and honey bee wings. Likewise a ring, Rosarium, also utilizes honey bee wings, along with propolis (a natural resin produced by honeybees from plant exudate), bronze, and tulip tree thread. A necklace, Seven Sorrows, features muskrat skulls, silver, 24K gold foil, honeycomb, lady bug, lichen, and allium seed pods. Other works unite brass with Whitby jet and metacarpal doe bone, metatarsal doe bone with beeswax and damar (tropical tree) resin, and snake vertebrae with freshwater pearls and silk thread.
Jockel is currently the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Lecturer/Coordinator at Towson University, Towson, MD. She holds a MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI (2016), and BFA in Studio Art (Summa Cum Laude) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA (2014). Her work has been represented in numerous exhibitions, including Gallery Loupe’s online exhibition memorializing the Covid-19 pandemic, One World (2020); The Procession: MJ Tyson and Luci Jockel, NYCJW, R & Company, NYC (2019); Amalgam: Adorned Spaces with Alleghany Metals Club, SNAG Chicago Conference, Chicago, IL (2019); Insects, Galeria Alice Floriano, Porte Alegre, RS, Brazil (2018); Bees, Galerie Handwerk, Munich, Germany (2018); Marzee at Frame, Internationale Handswerksmesse, Munich, Germany (2018); CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands (2018); and Marzee International Graduate Show, Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2016). Jockel has been featured in several publications, including Metalsmith, American Craft, and Klimt02 (Barcelona, Spain). Her jewelry is in the collections of Art Yard, Frenchtown, NJ and Galerie Marzee, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
The animal remains I use in my work are collected after the animal has died of natural causes. My works are memorials for the animals. The bee wings of Bee Wing Lace Neckpiece came from the roof hives of RISD Museum, whose bees didn’t survive the winter. The rest of the wings I use come from hives that did not survive for many reasons- from harsh weather, to mites, pesticides, and even hungry bears. I’ve received wings from a beekeeper I met in Rhode Island, my father’s hives, or recently, from the hives on top of MAD Museum and Brooklyn Museum tended by beekeeper, Bruce Gifford.
This work begain with the idea to memorialize and mourn honey bees due to their decline, making a veil from their wings. So, I reached out to local beekeepers asking if they had the misfortune of losing their bees. I got a response from a beekeeper, Paul Whewell, who had lost his hives due to the harsh winter. In exchange for the bee remains, I helped him to rebuild his hives for next season- most of which survived that year.
He also gave me honey, beeswax, propolis, and mentored me in beekeeper so I could one day become a beekeeper. My Dad and I then began beekeeping and he continues to do so today.
As we experience more extreme weather due to the climate crisis, the bees and all other animals and plants are impacted. My goal is to bring awareness to this issue and reconnect with these beings.