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Dina Varano Celebrates 25 Years in Business

In Chester Business, History, Shopping on October 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

The current exhibition at Dina Varano Gallery celebrates Dina’s 25th year in business.  A source of extraordinary inspiration, this collection is a “must-see” for both aspiring artists/entrepreneurs and fans of art and jewelry  alike.

The show’s opening was a festive celebration and most attendees were adorned in their favorite Dina Varano jewelry from across the past two and a half decades. A book is in production to accompany the show, featuring customers and collectors’ favorite pieces along with stories and memories of how each piece was received.  There was an in-house photographer to capture the opening evening’s essence and to record additional images for the book. The gallery is accepting submissions in the year to come, in hopes to publish by the close of this 25th year.dina spine back piece with tahitian pearl

In addition to Dina’s jewelry, photos and articles are on display, showcasing details of the path Dina has traveled, beginning with her years at RISD on to the conception of Dina Varano Gallery and following its incarnations over the years.

In among the archives on display, fans and patrons may learn little known facts about the artist. For example: Dina’s brief storefront on Main Street in Deep River (below), opened during the summer of her sophomore year at RISD. The precocious art student took over the space (and kept the shop’s apropos name “…on the Verge of Chic”).  She hosted events and thus began her local following. Dina returned to RISD that fall and the following semester traveled abroad to an Honors Study in Rome. She later returned to Italy in 1991 to study with a Master Goldsmith and took part in an invitational show in London.

dina 1989 deep river

One of the many photographs in this retrospective exhibit is from a fashion invitational show at the American Craft Museum in New York.  With its beautiful expression of movement, Dina’s Spine Necklace (shown above) was designed with the intention of being worn down the back. The Spine Necklace hangs in the gallery (above the photograph) and is crafted from sterling silver with a Tahitian pearl at its base. It measures 10.5″ long, hanging from a chain made by Dina that measures 18″ in length.

Another important photo in the exhibit is one of Pablo Picasso finishing a meal having, merely, a fishbone remaining. Dina has created many designs based on the construction of a fishbone and this photo has often served as inspiration to her. Several pieces of jewelry in the gallery are thoughtfully displayed beside their inspiration to invoke a sense of the process. Devotees have become fascinated with seeing finished, wearable pieces of jewelry that were inspired by an original form, as it is in nature. For example, a piece of birch bark, displayed next to a bracelet and ring, reflecting its form in oxidized and brushed sterling silver.

dina natural bark sterling silver cuff bracelet, oxidized silver ring

After graduating from RISD, Dina opened her studio/gallery on Main Street in Essex. During these years, in addition to designing, making and selling her jewelry and art to local clients, she began receiving interest from larger retailers like Barney’s. Also, museum shops began to feature her work. For instance, SFMOMA Museum Store highlighted her collection for its lyrical movement during an Alexander Calder exhibition.  Dina began to travel all over the country (New York, Chicago, San Francisco) with her jewelry to exhibit for retailers at trade shows. At one time, she was carrying close to 200 wholesale accounts.

In 1995, Dina Varano Gallery opened its doors in Chester and has remained a destination on charming Main Street. Dina Varano became the go-to shop for, not only, her innovative designs but for gifts, tabletop and accessories. Recent renovations in 2013 have brought a fresh, new look to the gallery in hope to “impart new vigor”. Although, still accompanied by a carefully curated selection of fashion accessories and objects for décor, the jewelry is the focus. Dina feels an important part of the process of operating a business for 25 years (and counting) is to continually add crisp ideas and creations, and sometimes that means the space, itself.

Undoubtedly, this retrospective show has been a time of reflection. And often reflection brings invaluable inspiration. So, what is next for this artist/entrepreneur? One thing is certain. The devotion to her craft and the commitment to her philosophy will continue for many, many years to come.

The current exhibit celebrating 25 years is on display at 27 Main Street in Chester until October 25th.The gallery and the collection are continuing to develop an online presence. Visit www.dinavarano.com. Find Dina Varano Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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