Brilliance: Nikki Couppee

Brilliance: Nikki Couppee

Nikki Couppee, Bow Studs

Nikki Couppee, Bow Studs, 2013, plexiglass, brass, fine silver, sterling silver, 1 x 1 x .25 in. ea. Photo: Nikki Couppee

“Nikki Couppee’s sensational new jewelry,” says Marthe Le Van, “is a fireworks finale of exploding colors and jarring juxtapositions. The collection is intensely, relentlessly garish yet inexplicably compelling and desirable.”

How she describes her work: “I am seeking to create work that is opulent and loosely reminiscent of the royal jewelry I admire, blown up and twisted with bright colors and asymmetrical designs. Jewelry pieces are often given to mark special occasions or milestones, and because of that they are extremely emotionally charged objects. I am drawn to the story and feeling of each piece that I create.”

Her biggest artistic influence: “Royal jewelry is my favorite, but also antique costume jewelry. I see something that sparks an idea and then I think how I would like to transfer that to a wearable jewelry design and then my mind drifts to construction process, design, and so forth.”

What makes her work unique: “I work with cheap, quotidian materials and rework them to represent expensive ones. Plastic, polymer clay, wood, and nail polish stand in for gemstones, pearls, and coral.”

Why she makes jewelry: “I cannot imagine not making jewelry. I grew up with a mom who loved jewelry. I was immediately addicted to the process of constructing and creating a 3D object you could then wear.”

Her biggest challenge: “Not doubting myself and my ideas.”

Her biggest reward: “It feels great to make a piece that excites people and that others want to wear.”

What’s next: “Make, make, make! I have so many ideas I want to get out!”

Read the rest of the profiles of jewelry artists in this issue.