Friday Favorites 1/31/2014

January 31, 2014

Karin Lidbeck Brent, Contributing Editor 
As a stylist for New England Home magazine, I work with many of the best architectural and editorial photographers in our region. The work of Trent Bell, based out of Biddeford, Maine, has graced the pages of our magazine in numerous features about our region’s most beautiful homes.

While I was working with Trent this past fall, he told me about an upcoming exhibition, a body of work that takes his photographic talent in a more emotional and human direction, portraiture.

This photographic journey presents intense and intimate portraits of Maine State Prison inmates. These powerful, bigger-than-life portraits merge with letters written by the convicts to their younger selves—moving letters, filled with self-recrimination and stories of difficult journeys.

“Our bad choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret,” says Bell, “but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them, and find the strength to share.”

Trent’s exhibition, REFLECT: Convicts’ Letters to Their Younger Selves, will surely have a strong emotional impact on you and will be well worth the journey to go see it. For more information visit or check out an article by Barbara Goldman at

REFLECT: Convict’s Letters to Their Younger Selves
January 10–February 22, 2014
Engine Gallery
265 Main Street #103
Biddeford, Maine 04005
Open Tuesday–Friday, 1–6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Paula M. Bodah, Senior Editor
When I interview the designers and architects whose work we show on the pages of New England Home, it’s not uncommon for them to reference things that influence their work. The environment just outside a living room’s windows, for instance, might be echoed in a color or fabric choice. Travel to some far-flung part of the world might result in an architectural or interior design element or that evokes an exotic locale.

Today I want to turn the tables a bit, introducing you to an artist whose work springs directly from her passion for architecture (with a love of history and archeology thrown in for good measure). In her South Boston studio, Donna Veverka makes sterling silver jewelry inspired by historical architecture. Her wearable works of art are crafted by hand from conception to finish.

Donna says this ring was inspired by the early 1500s tempietto, designed by architect Donato Bramante, that stands in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome. She spent some time in Rome in 2007, living not far from the church. “The ring is very loosely based on this quintessential Renaissance structure,” she says. “It gives me the feeling of that building. When I work in small scale, I want to provide enough information to convey the idea of the building, but too much can make it become sort of cute and miniaturized—and I’m not about cute.”

Tempietto Ring: Sterling silver with 18-karat gold and sapphire accents.
Photo by Robert Diamante

“I’ve visited all sorts of amphitheaters all over Italy. These structures are places where you can physically walk into history and feel it,” Donna says. She translates that feeling into her limited-edition Amphitheater ring. She recently completed the seventh of the ten Amphitheater rings she will make before retiring the design.

Amphitheater Ring: Sterling silver with 18-karat gold accents.
Photo by Robert Diamante

Over the past year or so, Donna has been creating pieces based on columns. “This is inspired by my love of archaeology,” she says. “The fragmentary column is very much iconic—it conjures up lost civilizations. The columns are as we see them now: rough, worn, broken. I’m also trying to reference the iron strapping and metalwork that you see in restoration—the holding together of these structures that have been around for so long.” She uses lapidary tools to carve the marble bits by hand.

Caged Column Earrings: Sterling silver and hand-carved marble.
Photo by Robert Diamante

 “I’m always taking photos of spiral staircases when I travel,” Donna says. “Staircases are a place of drama. They encircle you and tower over you. For this bracelet, I wanted to scale it down, make a staircase that encircles you but in a different way. It still holds some grandeur, but you can possess it.”

Spiral Staircase Bracelet. Photo by James Hull

See more of Donna’s work on her website or on her Facebook page.

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