The husband and wife team of John Fullerton and Lynda Bahr make rings, bracelets, brooches and earrings that are small masterpieces of two-dimensional design transformed into wearable sculptures. The jewelry is created with a palette of metals including sterling silver, numerous kinds of gold, and mokume-gane, a traditional Japanese metal compound that Fullerton and Bahr fabricate themselves. Literally translated as “wood eye (burl) metal”, the name “mokume” was derived by a type of pattern welding used in forging katana, or Japanese swords.
Study one of Fullerton Bahr's elegant cuffs and it is hard not to imagine an abstract painting that has been sliced and rounded into a bracelet. The brooches frequently suggest pieces of exquisite fabric drawn from subtly contrasting textures and graceful color schemes.
Fullerton Bahr's work is highly designed, very sophisticated, and even more exceptional when you realize that the pair has only been making jewelry for about ten years and that they did not begin showing at the American Craft Council shows until 1996. As designers, however, Fullerton and Bahr have experience that goes back decades. Trained as an architect, John Fullerton practiced architecture with major firms in the greater San Francisco area for many years and still works in the profession as a private consultant. Lynda Bahr studied interior design in college and worked professionally in the field for fourteen years before taking on jewelrymaking as a new profession.
Together Fullerton and Bahr bring design skills honed in their former careers to their jewelrymaking, but there is a new twist to this particular activity. Now there is also the pleasure of working directly with the materials and turning their designs into objects of beauty.