From a young age, S. Jordan Fine knew she wanted to be an artist. But it wasn’t until a high school trip to Europe that the creator of the vibrant, geometric jewelry of Pattern Play Glass discovered her passion. “We went to Italy with our art program over spring break, and I saw glass blowing being done there,” Fine says. “I was just blown away by it — pun intended.” The Shaker Heights native went on to get a bachelor’s in fine arts in glass from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2013. She set up shop in a Midtown studio space last year where she carefully handcrafts her jewelry. “Every piece that I make is unique,” she says. “I don’t make the same exact thing twice ever.”
A Study in Contrasts: One of the things that appeals to Fine about working with hot glass is the contrast between the process and the delicate product it creates. “I’m really into the duality,” she explains, “this fragile material coming from this really hardcore process.”
Everyday Art: While Fine creates other glass art, she chose jewelry as her primary medium in an effort to make her art more accessible than sculptures, which might end up tucked away in a private collection. “The thing that I really like about jewelry is that it’s wearable art,” Fine explains. “That means you can run into it at the supermarket or at a restaurant.”
What’s in a Name: Not just the name of her line, “pattern play” also references her philosophy for creating art. “I’ve always liked to just play when I’m making,” Fine says. “That’s really important to me: not to be too strict on a process or anything technical.” Rather than meticulously pairing each jewelry component, for example, she sometimes lets serendipity do the work, creating unlikely combos based on what pieces happen to be next to one another in her often-messy studio.
Cutting Edge: To create her jewelry, she starts by blowing hot glass and sculpting a “murrine,” a cylinder that can be sliced into cross sections to expose the patterns inside. “I always describe it as like hot glass sushi,” Fine says. The slices are then cut and hand polished before being assembled.
Creative Spark: Fine draws inspiration from a variety of places — ranging from fashion and Middle Eastern textiles to the work of other local artists. “I’ve never really identified super-closely with any one era or design style,” she says. “I just like to keep things loose and fluid and eclectic.”