Patina Gallery’s Mindful Meditations series offers insight on craft, beauty, and the human element of art.
“This all started from a place of love, hope, and beauty,” says Ivan Barnett, director of Patina Gallery, a fine-jewelry showroom in the historic heart of Santa Fe. He’s talking about Mindful Meditations, the exploratory series Patina launched early on in the pandemic and continues to produce today. The series aimed to forge connections while most were living in isolation. Hosted by Patina co-owner Allison Barnett, early episodes were recorded in her living room. “I really missed the conversations I would have over the counter,” she explains. “And I thought this could be a way to stay connected to the community, and for the community to stay connected to the gallery.”
Allison described having lots of nerves as she pushed the record button and went live that first Mindful Meditation in Spring of 2020, where she shared the work of Petra Class, an impressionistic artisan whose pieces place uncut gemstones in high-karat gold. That first time, Allison propped her iPhone on a stack of books and shared context, knowledge, and the beauty of the wearable art in the gallery’s collection. The series has grown from there, featuring the work and words of Peter Schmid, Jeff and Susan Wise, and Lucia Antonelli, to name a few, as well as studio visits with the likes of Claire Kahn.
“It has become an interesting and participatory dialogue,” Allison says. “I think sharing our passion and interest really makes these pieces shine. I love sharing why these pieces need to be looked at.” Now the series is on the move, visiting studios across Colorado and California. Mindful Meditations has even expanded to bring other art forms into focus. Last summer, an interview with operatic soprano superstar Angel Blue was conducted, for example, with Blue phoning in from a London tour stop.
Yet even as the series becomes more expansive, it stays close to Patina Gallery’s original intentions and overall mission. “It came out of a time when we were feeling reflective,” Ivan explains. “In the gallery we work with this methodical thoughtfulness, without ever moving the artists from the heart of it. And that is the essence of Mindful Meditations.” Allison echoes that thought, adding, “Education has always been a crucial part of what we do, and this series is very much about that.”
Why is education so important? “I want people to come into the gallery and fall in love,” Allison says. “Some clients don’t need that background information to fall in love—but many appreciate the story. They want to know how and why a piece was made.”
Patina Gallery has always pushed back against the tendency to take for granted the foundational elements of jewelry—how it is made, how it drapes on the body, how it moves. “Those things deserve our consideration,” Allison says. “Jewelry can be sacred and intimate, a talismanic expression of your taste worn on the body.”
As the duo look to the future, they plan to continue the dialogue, expanding the conversation by adopting more interactive elements, with the possibility of more international highlights and perspectives from collectors as well as the artists themselves. “Everyone’s tray of jewelry looks different from anyone else’s,” as Allison puts it. “We want to explore and honor the diversity of this craft while stirring the soul—that’s our tagline—and it’s what we are after every day.”
Stay up to date on new Mindful Meditations (and even catch them live) by following Patina Gallery (@patinagallery) on Instagram. For the full catalogue and to view past episodes, visit Patina Gallery’s website at bit.ly/patina-meditations.