Artist Spotlight: Janine Gerade

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

Janine Gerade has always been creative – and she likes to lose herself in her art.
“I know I’m doing something I really love when I look up four hours later,” laughs the artist, whose preferred medium has long captured the light and her heart, from the baubles and trinkets in her grandmother’s costume jewelry to manipulating shiny metal around her miniature handpainted designs or photos. “Sometimes, I’ll have to set an alarm,” says the jewelry artist, who is drawn to the medium “because I can work small, and it’s portable.” She enjoys the technique of the art, combining color and texture to create unique pieces and elicit reactions from a variety of people. “The medium is limitless,” she says. “I could paint a little tiny thing and make it jewelry. You can do anything with it.”
What Gerade has done with it is make it her full-time profession. The designer, who’s lived in Holliston for 30 years, recently opened her own shop, Janine’s Jewelry Design, at 31 Union Street, right in Holliston.
Gerade’s chosen path took a while to manifest itself, and she credits her mother for nudging her toward a creative arts camp as an early teen.
“I’m so glad she did,” says Gerade, who says the experience fueled a love of creating, from Claymation, painting, silk screen and textiles to, later, metalsmithing classes at local museums. That road led to Art Institute of Boston, where she studied illustration, and later to Mount Ida College, where she dabbled in photography and graduated with a degree in graphic design.
“I didn’t love it, but I learned a lot about color theory and design shape,” says Gerade, whose meandering artistic endeavors even led her to floral design and ownership of a flower shop.
“I loved it, but I stopped doing it because it hurt my back, and my hands would hurt, too,” says Gerade, who would sell jewelry she’d make at home at her flower shop.
A touch of serendipity led her to rent a studio in the Holliston Mill with a friend, during which time she had her baby girl and worked on her jewelry and painting part-time at home. Gerade would find the atmosphere of the mill inspiring to her art, something that continues with her new shop proximity to Kate, the artist who shares the building.
“I know how to paint from college,” she says, “but I kept taking painting classes, not just to learn technique, but to be in a group with other artists. It’s refreshing to be with people who are also painters, too and see what they’re doing. When she paints, Gerade works primarily with acrylics, because, she says, she doesn’t have enough ventilation to use oils.
Gerade has infused her artistic style with her jewelry but admits that she goes through phases of interest. “I try to use as much of my training as possible,” she says. “For floral, I will add real flowers, I use my own photography and painting in pendants, and I like to match certain colors with each other. My favorite thing is probably the metalsmithing, and I like bead weaving, because I can do it anywhere, and you can come up with so many different types of things.”
The artist finds inspiration from places she’s traveled, nature, fashion magazines and even other jewelry she’s seen. She’ll not only fix vintage jewelry; she’ll take it apart and make something new from it, and most of all, she loves working with “sparkly stones, with depth and dimension, that have more than one color.” One day, she says, that might mean working with more precious metals and maybe even diamonds. For now, the treasure she uses is her imagination.