<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Taboo Studio - Contemporary Art Jewelry, Press.


Taboo Studio

1615½ W. Lewis Street

San Diego, CA 92103



Collected Press Clippings

ART JEWELRY FORUM - December 28, 2015 - Taboo Studio by Vicki Mason


JCK Design Center - May 2015 - The Design Center's Designer Retailer Awards -

The Design Center's Designer Retailer Awards - List of Winners

Taboo Studio's Top 50 Award

ORNAMENT MAGAZINE - 2015 - Vol. 37, No. 5 - Together Again

ART JEWELRY FORUM - July 14, 2014 - Out of the Blue by Susan Cummins

ART JEWELRY FORUM - September 1, 2013 - Perspective and Invention by Missy Graff

ART JEWELRY FORUM - March 3, 2013 - Put a Ring on It by Susan Cummins

ART JEWELRY FORUM - September 9, 2012 - Structure and Purpose by Susan Cummins

NICHE - Spring 2012 - Getting Creative by Karol V. Menzie

ART JEWELRY FORUM - February 11, 2012 - Color and Form: Brooke Marks-Swanson by Susan Cummins

SAN DIEGO HOME/GARDEN LIFESTYLES - September 2009 - Ear to the Ground – Fall news near and far by Phyllis Van Doren

ART JEWELRY FORUM - July 30, 2006 - AJF Trip to Southern California by Jo Lauria

THE CRAFTS REPORT - April 2005 - Opening Night by Loretta Fontaine

RIVIERA - November 2004, page 52



COLLEGE TRY San Diego State alums cross the line between jewelry and art at Taboo Studio

Nestled in the small shopping district of Mission Hills, bearing a veiled "½" on the end of its street number Taboo Studio is the speakeasy of jewelry boutiques. People come here to find what they can't get anywhere else; one-of-a-kind designs chosen by two women with flawless taste. Jane Groover and Joanna Rhoades met while graduate students in the acclaimed San Diego State University jewelry and metalwork program, but it's their jewelry boutique that shows the work of fellow alums. We invite graduates to get experience by working here," says Rhoades. "We all love a similar idea and stay connected through that common thread." SDSU, Taboo Studio and the evolution of the jewelry industry are undeniably entwined. Grads get exposed to a sophisticated clientele at Taboo, while the gallery features their fresh designs next to the work of seasoned artists. New ideas are constantly being introduced to push the envelope, trickling into the larger industry and eventually circling back to SDSU as alums become faculty.

The SDSU jewelry and metalwork program was pioneered in the early `60s by Arline Fisch, whose jewelry designs are included in the collection of the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Fisch was a leader in a groundbreaking jewelry design movement in the `40s that changed the perception of jewelry from mere ornament to an art form. With this foundation, SDSU consistently graduates an amazing line-up of talent, many of whom (including Fisch) are among the 20 artists and designers showcased at Taboo. However, you won't need a crash course in art appreciation to find your fit in this collection of contemporary jewelry We're very sensitive to what our customers like," says Rhoades. Whether it's an emerald colored chrysoprase and 18K gold "Octopus" ring designed by San Diego resident Simon Muscat ($6,500) or Steven Brixner's stacking rings made of diamonds, 14K gold and platinum ($350 to $800 each),the selection of modern pieces at Taboo pairs perfectly with jewel box faithfuls like Tiffany and Cartier (Brixner also creates custom stacking rings from heirloom jewels needing an update). Custom pieces at Taboo can be as small as brooches or as big as the sterling silver Bible cover Groover designed for the swearing-in ceremony of Larry Lawrence, former ambassador to Switzerland and onetime owner of the Hotel Del Coronado.

Just as the unconventional design techniques Arline Fisch initiated at SDSU crossed the line from craft to fine art, the boundary between jewelry and art is blurred in the display cases at Taboo Studio, where natural materials like wood and semi-precious stones mingle with gems and metals; where even the most delicate of designs exudes a robust aesthetic. "It's an exhibit of still life, with the pieces placed as art," explains Rhoades. Flash-in-the-pan jewelry trends are ignored here, clearing the way for bling, bangles and baubles that are uniquely taboo.

Niche - Spring 2004, page 58 TOP


Two San Diego area
galleries offer two distinct
display philosophies

By Pat Worrell
Photography by Jimmy Fluker

he term California casual may apply to most jewelry shoppers in two San Diego galleries, but it applies to the shops' selling techniques as well. Both galleries, Taboo Studio and Trios Fine Art Gallery have moved away from the traditional long, low case that puts salesperson on one side, buyer on the other. Instead, they utilize vertical cases, where salespeople stand side by side with the customer, creating a personal, intimate relationship.

"What separates a small business from the major stores is personal contact," says Joanna Rhoades, who co-owns Taboo with fellow jeweler Jane Groover. "Your one-on-one relationship with the customer, being able to stand next to them, is the basis of trust. It's that connection with clients that makes them come back, year after year."

"Selling side by side has a `girlfriend' feel to it," says Jane Tipton, a part-time employee at Trios, who has Gemological Institute of America certification and a degree in interior design. "We can help customers try on the pieces. We can also hold a necklace at the proper length to size pieces that may need some alteration."

In addition to the customer-centered service, the two galleries work hard at making the displays enticing, each in its own way.


Putting Jewelry Front and Center

Taboo, which sells art jewelry exclusively, was founded in 1988 and relocated about four years ago to a 600-square-foot space in a one-block strip of shops in an upscale residential area. At its previous downtown space, it had one traditional case. "Looking down on the jewelry changes the perspective for the customer," says Rhoades.

At its Mission Hills neighborhood location, alternating with smaller display cases are five massive floor-to-ceiling cases, designed by Groover and built by a relative. Each serves to display the jewelry differently. One has small wood boxes, painted according to the season, to show the jewelry at different levels. In another, glass blocks serve as the base for a large, polished glass slab to elevate the jewelry to eye level. Yet another utilizes stacked pieces of white granite on a bed of river stones.


At Taboo Studio, Joanna Rhodes (left) and Jane Groover, who attended grad school together, showcase the work of about 70 jewelry artists, most nationally recognized. They use custom 10-foot-high cases and still-life vignettes. Artists' names are displayed next the work but no prices. "We want the customer to look at the total design," says Rhoades. "Most of our customers are comfortable asking the price."

In all, found objects like wood dowels, bamboo and branches contrast with the shiny silver, gold and precious stones in the jewelry "We wanted to put the jewelry in a still-life setting, to make arrangements of found objects, such as tiles, gold frames or Japanese screens, so that people look at the whole as an art form first, a painting," Rhoades comments.

Partners for seven years, Rhoades and Groover moved the gallery out of San Diego's popular Gaslamp district primarily because of high rent. "We both were nervous," Rhoades says, "but if I could recommend one thing about location, especially for jewelry being near hair salons is fabulous. Women, our biggest customers, come on a weekly or monthly basis, and when they're here, they stop."

While the Gaslamp district is a popular tourist draw near the convention center, Rhoades and Groover found that out-of-towners, especially conventioneers, were generally unfamiliar with art jewelry "On average, sales were less than $300, many $100," says Rhoades. "They didn't want to risk having what they were taking back as a gift rejected once they got across the country."

Now purchases range from $30 to $10,000 and average $500.

The space in the historic district was large, with a two-story brick wall. "When you walked in, the first thing you saw was the gallery space," Rhoades says. "Then you had to walk up to the cases to see the jewelry." At the new space "you see the jewelry first. The case is right there when you walk in the door. The jewelry is the dominant image."

Pat Worrell, former managing editor of NICHE, writes about the arts from her home in San Diego.




"It's an aesthetic experience to walk in here. I liken it to buying an interesting painting. It just so happens you can wear the jewelry." - Jane Groover, co-owner
The most original and artistic jewelry, custom and in stock, can be found in tiny Taboo Studio in Mission Hills. Owners Jane Groover and Joanna Rhoades both design custom jewelry, create the unusual displays in the cases that line the walls and currently represent 65 national and internationally known jewelry artists. Arline Fisch and Helen Shirk are among them. The holiday show features 10 artists, including Reiko Ishiyama and Claire Sanford. Vessels for the home are among the treasures. While shopping don't miss the floor covering, a very hip collage of Japanese newspapers.

San Diego Downtown News - August 7, 2003 TOP

Golden Hanger Awards Honor Local Businesses
By: Diana Cavagnaro

Fashion Careers of California College presented its 17th annual Golden Hanger Fashion Awards Gala, July 25 at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego.

The event began with a wonderful reception and silent auction. Founder and President Pat O'Connor welcomed everyone to the dinner. Radio and television personality Sandra Maas was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, and she presented the fashion awards to all who were honored.

Ian Campbell, general director of the San Diego Opera, was given a special award because he has had major impact on the San Diego community in an extraordinary way.

Steven J. Seymour, president of International Male, received the San Diego Catalog Company of the Year.

Additional awards included: Pam Wilson of Pam Wilson Productions, 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award; Maris Baratelli, San Diego Apparel Designer of the Year; Boot World, San Diego Retailer of the Year; Taboo Studio, San Diego Accessory Company of the Year; EMI/Equity Management, Inc., San Diego Licensing Agent of the Year; 2SIS Cosmetics, San Diego Beauty Company of the Year; Dippys, San Diego Manufacturer of the Year; and Wish Boutique, San Diego Progressive Retailer of the Year.

The fashion show began with the Make-A-Wish children and celebrities, including Sandra Maas, TV/radio personality; Sally Sherry, KGTV Channel 10; Joyce Glazer, San Diego community leader; Jane Mitchell, Channel 4; and Zandra Rhodes, International Textile and Fashion Designer. Philanthropist Ingrid Hibben underwrote the fabric for this special section.

The fashion show continued with apparel created by students and graduates in the fashion design program. The show began with an upbeat number from "All That Jazz." Each collection had a theme from sexy club wear and plus-sizes to retro and military-inspired. The finale was a collection of Renaissance-inspired children's dresses. They were darling! Diane Powers donated the beautiful fabric used for the Frieda Collection.

The show was fast-paced with great music and lighting. The long runway made every seat in the house a good one.

The fashion show was coordinated by Tanya McAnear, director of student activities. Jim Crawford was the choreographer and producer.

Net proceeds will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego, an organization that makes dreams come true for children with life threatening illness.

LAPIDARY JOURNAL - September 2000


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