Uli Amsterdam
Art & Design‘There’s something unusual about the way Amsterdam designers use colors.’

‘There’s something unusual about the way Amsterdam designers use colors.’

Suzanne Walsh is not just a college president in North Carolina, USA, she’s also an art jewelry collector. Or as she would rather put it: an art jewelry ‘enthusiast’. Her love for Uli’s jewelry goes back to the very beginning of the brand, more than 10 years ago.

The designs intrigued me back then and they still intrigue me today.

Tell me: how does someone with a background in academia turn into an art jewelry collector?
‘During my career I have always had to travel around the country for lectures and events. Whenever we would have some free time, I would just wander around the city. About 15 years ago I was in Chicago. In between meetings I decided to enter a shop that had interesting looking jewelry in the window. It’s called Pistachios Gallery. I knew nothing about it at the time. Fast forward, I’ve been shopping there for almost 20 years now!’

What’s the art jewelry scene in the US like?

‘It’s very lively but niche at the same time. Apart from Pistachios, there’s another great art jewelry gallery in Seattle called Facèré. When I was there for the first time, I got a brochure about the art jewelry form. Apparently there was even a group of collectors connected to the gallery and I decided to join them. We go on trips together, talk about jewelry, visit exhibits. It’s a real world. Funnily enough I even now don’t see myself as a collector, I just buy and wear things I like.’

And I’m guessing that’s how you got introduced to Uli’s jewelry?

‘Yes, I think it was at Pistachios. I bought my first piece there over 10 years ago. Uli’s early designs were much more stiff than they are now. But I fell for it immediately. It’s so unusual and quirky. You think you know what the material is, but it’s a huge surprise. Even now I’m still shocked every single time I touch it. ‘Oh, that wasn’t metal?’ It’s funny to see other people’s reactions too.’

Tell me about the reaction you found most amusing?
‘Well, Uli’s pieces are my favorite jewelry designs to wear to the airport. Every single time the security would be like ‘madam, you have to take it off.’ When the alarm didn’t go off on the other side, they would stare at me and have to examine it. They were so intrigued, it’s hilarious.’

You own a lot of Uli’s designs. Do you have any favorites?

‘I love them all: the different lengths, the colors… To me, it’s so interesting to see the entire evolution. I guess the most special ones are the ones that are connected to a memory I have of Uli herself. For example, I met her at an art show once and thought I would lose my mind! She selected a very long necklace for me back then. There’s nothing more luxurious than having the artist select the pieces for you.’

You work in a pretty formal, conservative environment. Do you wear these pieces to work, too?
‘I have a funny story to share. Here in the American South, they love their pearls. And I, surprisingly, do not. So I kept thinking: what would be something I would be willing to wear that is approved by the college I work for, and I would still feel confident and good about it? I reached out to Uli: I have to have pearls, I said. And voilà, she hooked me up with a number of shorter, pearl-inspired necklaces. There’s one in a very bright yellow color, which I adore. There’s something about the way Amsterdam designers use colors – the color blocking is very unexpected and interesting.’

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Get in touch

The uli collection is designed and produced in the heart of Amsterdam.

Studio visits by appointment only.

+31 6 14356688

Singel 76 B4
1015 AC Amsterdam
The Netherlands