Jewelry artist Gail Goldin grew up immersed in Jewish culture and scrap metal, a combination that helped inspire her Modern Myths collection.
She comes by this unusual convergence of influences through her father, Steven Goldin, a freedom fighter in Poland who helped fellow Jews escape over the Alps during World War II, before building his own business in the U.S. scrap-metal industry. The family belonged to an Orthodox shul in Detroit, although they weren't Orthodox.
When Goldin put this all together -- stirring in some life experience and a fascination with universal spiritual symbols from world cultures -- she first made silver rings adorned with carved Asian good-luck beads called netsukes. Out of these rings came the idea for her Modern Myths collection. Several Modern Myths pieces combine stones with beads, mounted in ornate bezel designed silver.
She finds her beads at craft shows, ethnic shows, and antique shows and each bead is a cultural history unto itself: Ethiopian medicine-man carvings, Egyptian scarabs and African bone masks. The look is simultaneously ancient and modern.
She'll be showing and selling her work this weekend at the Santa Monica Crafts Market alongside jewelry artist Beth Rosengard, glass artist Josh Gelfand and Judaica artist Shula Baron.
Goldin, whose notable clients have included the White House, knew she had found her calling on her 35th birthday when a psychic told her that in past lives she'd made "power objects" as a medicine woman that gave people strength. She believes her jewelry brings together disparate cultures in a healing way. This sentiment applies to her Jewish heritage, as well.
"I am the oldest child of a survivor of the Holocaust," said Goldin, a resident of Studio City who earned a master's in metalworking. "We eldest children have a special burden to please our surviving parent, because they have suffered enough, and we want to make to make it up to them. So I guess I needed to be a sort of healer, and I am still anxious to heal, not only my father, but the world, by sharing these talismans."
The 20th Santa Monica Crafts Market, takes place June 10-12 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street. $6 (adults); free (children 12 and under). For more information, call (310) 285-3655 or visit www.craftsource.org.