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Cory Borkowski


30 Days of Brooches: A love letter to Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is at the center of every Milwaukeean’s life. If you know where the lake is, then you can find your way. We’ve been snowed in, there’s the lake effect for ya. It’s a hot day, let’s go to the Lake to cool down. There are festivals at the lake. There is life at the lake. While living in Nebraska these past two years, I desperately miss living near the water. I miss the sand, the culture, the vibrancy, the life it brought. I am a stranger in a strange place. I am landlocked with prairies and rolling hills. I can’t find my way. Inspired by current-day heritage jewelry and Victorian mourning jewelry, I have created 30 brooches that celebrate my undying love for Lake Michigan.  Having a background in digital fabrication and design, traditional goldsmithing, experimental powdercoating, and metalsmithing, these wearable art pieces are made from hand cut brass, copper and steel, then covered with colorful powder coat. The etching on the metal, as well as the abstract forms, were taken from a topographic map of Lake Michigan. The precious stones are fluorite and turquoise. They are set in silver bezels in silver frames. These shapes have been dissected and transformed into abstract, wearable sculptures. These brooches are designed to live double lives. They can exist as hangable sculptures on white 6x6 blocks or as wearable pieces. Each block has a bespoke hanging mechanism for their corresponding brooch.

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