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Robert Lee Morris: The Power of Jewelry Hardcover – November 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810949547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810949546
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 11.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By the time he was 31, Morris had become one of the most influential jewelry designers in North America: his creations appeared all over fashion magazines like Vogue; his Manhattan jewelry store had become a favorite spot of celebrities like Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol; and his work was marching down the runways of Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Kansai Yamamoto and Donna Karen. In this coffee-table book cum memoir, Morris explains "how he grew from a self-taught jewelry designer to a recognizable brand name in such a relatively short time." The designer, who is known for his "edgy blend of modern and tribal effects," attributes his global sensibility to his college courses in anthropology and to his upbringing as an "Airforce brat." He moved 23 times before he was 18 and lived for several years in Japan and Brazil. But it’s clear that the mainsprings of Morris’s success are his joyful, single-minded focus on his work and his savvy entrepreneurial spirit. Though his book contains asides on his marriage, his travels and his study of shamanism, it centers mostly on the origins of his signature creations, the development of the "designer jewelry" consumer niche in the 1970s and ’80s, and the way he managed his brand "as if it were a wild horse in a rodeo." Morris now designs up to 10 jewelry collections a year, and though the name-dropping can be a bit heavy-handed in spots, his memoir is full of friendly advice for young artists. Morris’s fans will appreciate this careful history, but readers unfamiliar with his designs may find themselves skipping pages to stare at the large, full-color photos of his smooth knuckle rings, gently bulging necklaces, mesh belts, herringbone collars and sensual bracelets. They are unlike anything else.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Robert Lee Morris, a leading designer of jewelry and body ornament, is known for his one-of-a-kind pieces as well as his collaborations with such designers as Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, and Donna Karan. He has received the Coty Award and two Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

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Customer Reviews

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A wonderful addition to any library.
Katmandew
This book is a history of fashion, makeup and accessories and how they were designed and sold via the runway over the past four decades.
Amazon Customer
And when I began reading it, I realized just how much of a gift it was.
Pamela Taulbee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Women have been adorning themselves with jewelry and body art almost since time began. What earlier generations did not have was the imagination of award winning designer Robert Lee Morris whose bold, dramatic creations in gold and silver are worn by the famous, such as Madonna, Oprah, Cher, as well as the lady next door.

The son of an air force pilot and a former fashion model, Morris was exposed at any early age to differing cultures. A four year stint in Japan left him with lasting memories of the beauty and customs of that country. Undoubtedly, this experience and others have been an inspiration to him.

"I had a very powerful vision in my head when I first began to make jewelry," he writes. "It was this specific, cinematic image that grounded me and gave me a sound place from which all my work sprang in the early years, from 1970 to 1980. I could envision a post-apocalyptic world populated by Amazon women....."

A major jump start for his career occurred when he was chosen to design the jewelry for Donna Karan's collections. Ms. Karan, an unabashed fan, wrote the foreword for this volume. "Robert's designs are remarkably sensual, They beg to be touched. When you hold or wear them they become part of you....."

Evidently Calvin Klein and Karl Lagerfeld shared her enthusiasm for Morris also did collections for both of them.

Morris's designs have been among the most wanted and noted for over 25 years, and he claimed the Platinum Guild International Grand Prize for Design Award in 1999. He continues to offer collections in his signature style of ethnic flavor and high fashion flair.

Enjoy and wish as you leaf through this lush 180 page volume with 230 full-color illustrations. With his candid, chatty narrative Morris proves himself to be a gifted communicator as well as designer.

- Gail Cooke
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on July 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a world of cookie cutter jewelry where factories manufacture the latest trendy piece, thank goodness there is Robert Lee Morris. RLM is a very spiritual designer who is attuned to nature, human sensuality and an unending stream of creativity. I have never been to his studio in Soho, NYC. But I do buy his stunning silver jewelry on QVC. Whenever he is on tv, he presents pieces that are not only unique in design, but pieces that beg to be touched. His pieces are filled with spirit and love. For example, he created a twisted heart bracelet where the hearts literally flow into one another, rather than connecting them with the usual chunky links. He created a large molded heart ring that has FORGIVE inscribed on the inside. He takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

I encourage those who are not familiar with his pieces to try a pair of his exquisite earrings. I also encourage all current and future jewelry designers to study this book and his pieces. Here is one of the most innovative and prolific designers of our time. Study his book, go to his Soho studio, and check out the shopping site that sells his jewelry. You will be glad you did.

One more thing. RLM's book is not just a history of his jewelry and how it was made and sold over the past forty years. This book is a history of fashion, makeup and accessories and how they were designed and sold via the runway over the past four decades. This is a fascinating history of some of our most famous designers and the marriage of fashion and accessories.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katherine E. Zollinger on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is more that the best expected. I am familiar with The RLM jewelry line and know this artist to be innovative and creative. This book gives an fascinating look at the man as a sculptor and jewelry designer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Taulbee on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I walked up the steps to my door yesterday and found a large, flat box waiting for me. Inside was Robert Lee Morris's "The Power of Jewelry." I hadn't been expecting this for a few weeks, as Amazon had said it was the one book out of four I had ordered that would be backordered. `Darn, I had thought. That's the one I just couldn't wait to read.'

I'm nothing if not impetuous, not so much in my day to day, get things done, life, but in my hobby du jour. And for the past several years that hobby has been jewelry making, whether it be metals or mixed media including fabric and paper. I get a notion that I want to learn more about something, and I have to have it, Now.

So it was like a special little gift, this book. And when I began reading it, I realized just how much of a gift it was. Let me explain about the, for lack of a better term, cognitive dissonance, I've been engaged in over the past few years. As I take classes and talk to people and read about jewelry making, I hear over and over that the best designs are planned and sketched and basically plotted out before you put hammer to metal.

Well, I don't like to do it that way.

It's not that I can't. Even though I'm an okay sketcher and I can plan a design, I get itchy to put my fingers on the metal, grab the hammer and start pounding or soldering. And as I read this book, I realized that that's what RLM likes to do too.

His drawings and paintings are spectacular, but he doesn't describe his exploration with metals as being planned out.
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