If Annie Hammer hadn’t grown up to be an artist, now there would have been a paradox. Surrounded by art as a child, her grandmother, who studied art at Vassar and then continued her education in paris, has a museum quality collection featuring Picasso, Klee, George Braque, Hans Hoffman, and a Calder just to name a few. Hammer found her niche in her thirties as a jewelry designer. For her it’s a simple, in born way of looking at the world. “I envision things in sculptural form and then turn it into jewelry,” she says. Hammer’s work shows the graphic design sensibility as an artist comfortable with the dynamics of form & rhythm. “I know where the eye needs to move,” she says. She mixes shapes and textures to create what one of her teachers calls “fierce elegance”.
“I form different stones into sculptures, form different colors into pieces and create movement,” says Hammer. “Everything is very detailed, there is a reason for everything, color, shape, movement and texture.” Hammer studied at Chicago’s Art Institute, followed by an apprenticeship with a jewelry designer that went to Rhode Island School of Design. She then moved to Tucson, AZ where she received a degree in graphic design from the University of Arizona. After graduation, she worked for the local ABC television affiliate which gave her a taste of commercial world and the desire to do something in a more purely artistic vein. Her nest venture combined art and fashion in the guise of beaded handbags which although successful, were too time consuming to be profitable. She began designing jewelry, combining different metals, leather, semi-precious stones, and recycled materials which are her signature today.
Hammer’s roots may be surrealism, but she get ideas form unusual places – in shapes, shoes, and furniture, in her creative process. However, art must bow to the physics of jewelry. “When engineering a piece of jewelry, it has to hang right, move right, and be pleasing to the eye”.
Although the art roots are clearly on her mother’s side, Hammer credits her business sense to her father, who founded a successful steel company in Chicago in the fifties. Her work is sold in major markets – New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles “I have a great design sense,” she says, “that’s what I was blessed with.” Graphic Design may have proved too restrictive for Annie Hammer’s artistic soul, but making jewelry is without limits. “It’s a blast. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from this.” she says. “I’m incredibly fortunate that I can do something I love so much.”