PARIS—”The collection started with this photographer named Steve Duncan who goes into all of the subterranean environments in New York and explores them and documents them. Sometimes he gains access legally, other times he’ll just figure out ways to get in. He studies all of the different water work networks, abandoned subway tunnels, and abandoned sewer tunnels.
“This is odd, but I was doing research on expansion joints—expansion joints connect one pipe system to another so that they don’t break when the weather changes—and his named popped up. So I started doing research on him and became obsessed with this idea of all of the different engineering systems that were created to support that infrastructure during the industrial revolution.
“I took all of these century old engineering networks and broke them down into pipe networks, coil networks and then plate and bolt networks and then started to sketch. This is the piece [above right] that is most representative of this idea, taking quite literally from those engineering systems, and this was probably the most challenging in terms of engineering for us as a studio.
“It was really about figuring out how to assemble and put it together, which was really, really difficult. It was all about construction and didn’t have to do so much with shapes. I think that’s always in my collections, these really geometric shapes and that classic sensibility, but this was about how all of those different shapes were going to come together.
“The metalsmiths in Rhode Island kept saying, ‘It’s not jewelry! It’s not jewelry! It’s too complex!’”