About Lab Partners Jewelry
Who are the Lab Partners?
Hi, we’re the Lab Partners — JD Shipengrover and JD Davison. We design and make everything you see here at Lab Partners Jewelry.
Why the Name Lab Partners?
Nope, we’ve never been actual lab partners, but we did meet in college many years ago. (Though, if we had been, we both would have done better in chemistry.)
The name Lab Partners began as a joke. One evening JD Davison was running various experiments in the studio. The chemical etching baths were going (a decidedly stinky process), the 3D printer was whirring away peacefully, the CO2 laser cutter was zapping something, and several other projects were scattered about in various stages of chaos. JD Shipengrover looked up from what she was working on and said, “This isn’t an art studio, it’s a science lab.” Thus, Lab Partners was born. The “partners” part is every bit as true as the “lab” part. We design, make, and produce all of our jewelry pieces together.
"Nothing goes out that we don’t both work on. Iteration after iteration, subtle change after subtle change until we’re both in agreement."
- JD Davison
Lab Partners Jewelry
Our jewelry is a combination of art, science and technology. Our current collections take patterns from nature. We have found inspiration in starfish, sea plants, sea life, desert plants and much more. Each collection is named for its source pattern. Check out all our collections >>
Jewelry Made With Art + Science + Technology?
The truth is, we’re both super geeks. We love art, we love science, and we love new technology. So we brought our passions together into our jewelry. Some of our work is art-focused, some is science-centric, some of it is simply experimenting with a new toy (or a new technology) and most of it is some combination of the three.
The Microcosms collection is probably our most recognizable work. These pieces are based on patterns found in nature. In this collection, every design is from a plant or animal. Our process starts with a high resolution image of the object, zoomed in on its surface details. Our work is not literal — we don’t make a starfish-shaped necklace, nor do we make a pair of turtle-shaped earrings. We prefer to go beyond what’s readily visible to the human eye, to find the unexpected beauty in a plant or animal. It’s in this unexpected, hidden space that we find the patterns that inspire our jewelry designs.
Once we have identified a pattern we find interesting, we etch it onto acrylic and then hand-paint the details. Each design has been chosen for its unique beauty and story. Many of the plants and animals we have selected have wonderful stories all their own. You can find these stories on our blog. (Which will be available soon.) We think our use of vibrant colors, lightweight materials, and durable designs makes our work as wearable as it is eye-catching and beautiful.
Lab Partners Jewelry should come with a warning label. These pieces are conversation starters! Wearing it will elicit copious compliments from strangers.
- Steph W. customer from Columbus, Ohio
Our work is always evolving. Some of our current experiments utilize our high-resolution 3D printers and we’re spending a good deal of time transforming those 3D Prints into metal casting. Expect to see more parametric-based works from us as we translate this technology into new work.
We also have a complete metal casting system in our studio. (It’s actually pretty awesome.) We make cast pieces in sterling and Argentium silver, and we want to merge more metal into our acrylic work. A partnership if you will.
Our work is constantly changing as we follow our interests into new designs. Join the Friends of Lab list to keep up-to-date on what we’re making and inventing. Fortunately, science and nature are infinite muses, so we won’t run out of ideas anytime soon.
Where Do Your Ideas Come From?
We honestly wish we knew. The beautiful pieces you see are born from years of iteration in design and process. If we had known these pieces would be so popular, we would have documented the process more carefully. We were just experimenting and playing around. It’s what we do.
About the JDs
Despite our mutual love of art, we never planned to make art together. Twenty plus years ago, we were fresh out of college and five years into burgeoning tech careers. (It was the rise of the Internet and boy was THAT a new toy to play with.) But, we also both missed access to the art studio spaces available during our college days. We both enjoyed the tactile experience of making art with our hands. The Internet was all about coding and hours upon hours of working on computers. We wanted to get messy again. So, JD Shipengrover enrolled in a jewelry metalsmithing class and JD Davison in bronze and sculpture casting at the Columbus Cultural Art Center--and a new world opened up to us.
We began to experiment with materials and tools and discovered that our technical minds and artistic hearts were perfectly suited for jewelry-making. The engineering required to create a durable, yet beautiful piece was a puzzle waiting to be solved. An artistic “problem” of sorts that drives us both to experiment with new techniques and technology.
"The aesthetics are paramount, but under the surface there’s engineering and that is where the challenge lies. I love the engineering."
- JD Shipengrover
Our Many Identities and Alter egos
We, the JDs of Lab Partners Jewelry, are many things. JD Shipengrover holds a BA in Journalism and in History of Art from The Ohio State University, as well as an MLIS from Kent State University.
JD Davison holds a BA in Political Science from The Ohio State University, studied photojournalism at George Washington University, and has an MLIS from Kent State University. We met in journalism school at Ohio State and were staff editors of the university paper,The Lantern.
We’re Librarians. We’re JDs. We’re Lab Partners.
We’re self-taught metalsmiths and we’ve been making jewelry together for more than 20 years.
As you can see, we are many things--except scientists. We get that question often. If degrees were awarded for scientific fandom, we would both hold PhDs. We’re bonafide nerds, self-proclaimed Citizen Scientists who are inspired by the wonders of the natural world, awed by its beauty, and proud to make jewelry that turns heads and tells a story.