Exploring Mark Davis’ Workshop
by Brooke Betteridge on May 1st, 2012
Visiting Mark Davis’ workshop is an experience that can only be described as heavenly. Housed in an old rope factory building on the water in Brooklyn, stark white walls give way to the most glorious sight imaginable- a wall of color-coded bakelite!
Due to the vintage nature of the material, Mark has taken to buying it up whenever a “new” stockpile becomes available. Whether it be a full uncut, bakelite tube, or a collection of well-worn bangles, he has managed to amass quite a lovely hoard over the years. All in various stages of production, one can witness the transformation from ordinary to extraordinarily fabulous as the time-consuming process of sanding and polishing progresses.
Years of exposure to the elements oxidizes outer layers of the bakelite and causes it to change color. A brown piece might actually turn out to be blue after Mark has had his way with it. Who knew bakelite was so multifaceted? Mark did!
Before Mark Davis came onto the scene, bakelite had been largely forgotten. Now, many try to imitate his unique style using resin and other colorful materials. Only bakelite however is heat-resistant, impervious to moisture and shatterproof- it’s actually so durable that it was used for some bomb-casings during World War II.
After seeing the amount of work that goes into the making of each and every piece bearing his stamp, one cannot help but fall madly in love with Mark’s jewels. While this material might no longer be in vogue militarily-speaking, Mark Davis’ bakelite beauties always hold the top three spots on my jewelry wishlists.