“Luminous Chain, Necklace with retroglow thread” by Islay Taylor



Luminous Chain, Necklace with retroglow thread.
Sterling Silver
© Islay Taylor 2009.


Islay Taylor lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. She is a contemporary art jeweler, which philosophy is to use the body as a pedestal to showcase wearable sculptures.

She received her MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the Rhode Island School of Design.

With over fifteen years of experience in art curation, teaching, and jewelry making, Taylor was also Gallery Director at Hera Gallery and has exhibited her line of jewelry both locally and internationally. Her work is part of permanent collections at the Collection of Contemporary Art Jewelry in Legnica, Poland, the University of Rhode Island, and at Alfred University in Alfred, NY.

Islay Taylor has been named Associate Director of the Steel Yard. With a BFA in Sculpture and Printmaking from Alfred University in NY and an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design, Taylor began her career at the Steel Yard as an instructor in 2009.

Her recent promotion to Associate Director in March 2017, follows her tenure as Program Director (2013-2017) and Communications Director/Volunteer Coordinator (2011-2013) at the Steel Yard.

The Steel Yard is an interdisciplinary and inter-generational creative hub that brings diverse groups of professional artists, fabricators, and makers together to pursue their crafts and knowledge. Located on a 3.8 -acre community campus, the Steel Yard is the only publicly-accessible industrial arts school and center in Rhode Island, providing over 10,000 square feet of studios and community space equipped for welding, blacksmithing, ceramics, jewelry making, and iron casting.

Taylor’s promotion to Associate Director is a recognition of her leadership in the community and an acknowledgment of the respect garnered among peers, students, teachers, and artists.


Her work juxtaposes content with form using materials that are not intended to be worn, creating a conversation that challenges the concepts of material, tradition, and aesthetic beauty, resonating her work with the use of opposite fundamental resources.

Her artistic proposal of ideas of object-value put the audience to rethink historical concepts related to aesthetics, enabling the wearer to recognize the beauty of the alternative, non-precious, or industrial materials situated within the visual format of jewelry.


Islay’s skill with material manipulation makes for visually evocative and compelling work, so much so that her bracelets, necklaces, earrings, knuckle dusters, and other varieties of items feel like they belong on the walls of a gallery. Whether it be her brass plated rings with hand-painted acrylic nails set in the center featured in the pages of Vogue Italia, or her Natural History collection presented last year at AS220 featuring designs reminiscent of traditional accouterments found in indigenous cultures, each piece is a work of art, in and of itself.

Her inspiration is the everyday object, the splendor, and appeal in the mundane and neglected materials that surround us.
The goal of her artistic proposal is to encapsulate unexpected materials within the format of adornment, to create pieces that subversively present the neglected in an aesthetically appealing way.

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