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Makeup by Grantley McIntyre. To  see
Grantley's bio, click here.
Makeup and hair assistant: Seiji Yamada.
Makeup courtesy of Francois Nars, at
Barney's Madison Avenue, New York.
For further information call (212) 833-2008.
Production assistants. stylists:
Kathryn Martinez, Maureen Martinez.


Gisela von Eicken can be contacted
at her New York studio by calling

Making The Profane Sacred

Birdcage bracelets. Angled striped necklace. Color-coated copper.

The year is 1962. The year President Kennedy was assassinated. A young woman living in the desert just outside of Las Vegas is whiling away another glaring, blindingly bright day. She is a sculptor, and her hands itch for something to create. She stares out the window -- out at the green dumpster stationed near her trailer. In the dumpster is a huge spool of copper cable. She focuses in on the coated wire. An idea comes to life.

Gisela von Eicken: One day I absolutely had to do something creative; I mean it was just -- it was this thirst -- I can’t even begin to tell you -- I suddenly just knew I had to get something in my hands that I could make three dimensional. I simply had to do that.

Now, there were no facilities to work with clay. I didn’t want to do that any more anyway. I had been there done that. And I just had this urge.

Well, the first thing I could see at the time that I thought about this was wire in the dump. There was this copper wire, and at that point we were living in a trailer park. And there was wire on these big, huge wooden spools. So I pulled some of the wire out, and realized that I could shape it almost any way I wanted. So I started picking through wire and brought some home.

Snake bracelet.  Nugold, agate.

Gisela von Eicken's particular sculptural vision was born in the early Sixties, a time when America began to lose her innocence. Forever. The Sixties became an almost Second Civil War for the nation, not so much in casualties, but in the chasm that grew between Americans. The bitterly controversial war in Vietnam escalated into a firestorm of death and destruction. It was a violent, turbulent, raucous, terrible, rebellious, creative, and marvelous period.

It all seems like a remote history lesson -- something for the textbooks -- for those who were around then, but too young to remember, and for those who were born decades later. The feeling for the Sixties zeitgeist is available through documentaries, films, books and the stories of people who came of age then. It was a time when creativity and innovation flourished in music, fashion, the arts, and science.

The dramatic metaphor of the desert as a place of contemplation and revelation, and the deus ex machina in the form of the coaxial cable fused. Gisela's innovative and inventive talent found its home.

Birdcage necklace with lion's head pin. Nugold, gold-filled wire, tiger eye.

Gisela von Eicken: The first piece that I made from the wire was a Madonna and Child. And then, because I’m absolutely crazy about jewelry, I made a ring. I wound little sections of wire together to form a ring. It looked almost feathery in a way. And when I got it done, I realized it was quite an interesting piece. And I decided that I would want to continue with wire, and work into more than that.

Coil ring.  Gold-filled wire.

So at that point, I was carrying them everywhere I went. Because once I’m into something, I can’t let go of it. I have to carry it with me, I have to look at it, I have to think about it. It just became like, you know, a second part of me. Now somebody saw it, and they said, "Oh, I have a gallery. Could you -- do you have any other pieces?" And I looked at her and lied. I said, "Yeah -- oh yes, sure." She said "Well, would you like to do a show? It’ll start in three weeks." I said fine, I’ll be there.
Gisela von Eicken in her studio.

And I never left home for those three weeks. And I made about eight pieces. And they all sold except one. I kept that one, which was the Madonna and Child. I still have it to this day. But that’s how I did my very first show in sculpture, by preparing for it in three weeks.

Kerchief necklace.  Black color-coated copper, bakelite.