The Quality of Rabun
Born in 1961 in Bitburg, Germany, where her father was posted, Rabun grew up in Anchorage in the state of Alaska and Sacramento, California. She studied fashion design in Los Angeles but it was a friend's jewellery gallery that inspired her to make a change; she said in the Danish magazine ‘MAIN’ that "the jewellery looked like small artistic sculptures, and I hadn't seen that before. I had never considered making jewellery myself, but here they appealed so strongly to me that I went up to the owner of the gallery and asked if I had to work there. The next day I started as a sales assistant."
She overcame her natural shyness to ask the designers about their materials, techniques and what inspired them. She says that due to her being untrained, her first designs were “hugely heavy and solid” but people loved them because they were substantial and sculptural, possessing a raw energy “rather than (being) hollowed out and light”.
She moved to London (where she still lives) in 1989 and it was there that she made a decision to concentrate solely on jewellery design with a willingness to accept and learn from her mistakes. “Raw Elegance”, her debut collection in 1990 drew the attention of major influencers in fashion and design and in 1992 her work was worn by Linda Evangelista on the cover of British Vogue.
Her collaboration with Georg Jensen started in 1999. In an interview featured on CNN she said "When I was approached by Georg Jensen I was very, very excited. For me it was an opportunity to collaborate with the best silversmiths in the world and to allow my designs to live beyond my lifetime. They (Georg Jensen) are very careful to express the essence of the artist."
Her passion for simple, geometric forms blended with her desire to express human experience and her 2002 Offspring collection took as its inspiration the protective mother-child relationship.She described her 2003 Cave collection as embodying "permanent quest for calm in a chaotic world".
Images: Above: OFFSPRING , CAVE Bracelet
MERCY, Rabun's latest collection for Jensen, was inspired by the fluid shapes of conceptual artist Louise Bourgeois' glass jar installation "Precious Liquids", But it also represents the flow of sand between the chambers of an hourglass, and the flow of empathy, of humanity from one being to another, she says, "The idea of being merciful, having compassion towards others is something I feel is very important right now".
Image of Louise Bourgeois (1911 - 2010) Precious Liquids 1992 Rosalinda Alvarez Pinterest
Being part of the Jensen lineage of strong female designers she she expresses great admiration for another Jensen favourite, innovative Swedish designer Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe: “Vivianna was brave. She lived her life as she wanted… If you want an artistic life and work, be brave and believe in yourself”.
MERCY Neckring for Georg Jensen
One of her most treasured pieces is the Vivianna Bangle watch: "an ingenious design that exudes perfection and timelessness. I wear it every day. Vivianna’s design simply makes me feel strong and comfortable. The same thing I would like to pass on', it is important to her that women who wear her jewellery feel empowered and confident".
She also says that the OFFSPRING pendant bangle -has a special place in her heart because she designed it after she had given birth to her son.
Her work is at once modern and timeless, a phrase that has been used to describe many of the great Georg Jensen designers, Vivianna, Ammitzbøll, Overgaard. In today’s world, so overcrowded with design homages or derivatives, it is unusual to have designs that are at once so recognisable as to be an archetype and yet so completely their own. That's why we think Rabun is a stand out and why her work will continue to be popular among Jensen fans and jewellery lovers for decades to come.