Abbey Irwin

Cultural Artists Spotlight: July 23 – August 6, 2019

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
For the most part, I make jewelry. I enjoy character and personality in everything – especially in those little adornments we can add to ourselves to travel about the world with us. My work is very material driven – inspired by and devoted to keeping the material the object of affection. I use found objects and materials that inspire me and allude to things, be it literature, dreams, oceans, whatever.

How did you first become interested in art?
I can’t remember not being interested in making things. The tactility of things, I think, is what draws me in. I like to touch things – in museums, I’m that person that’s always too close to the art and has to be asked to step back. Much of my family was very creative in various ways – my dad built motorcycles, my grandpa built a garage in our backyard, my grandma painted brooches for members of our church every holiday, my mom sewed all our Halloween costumes. We are a hands-on people. Bringing stuff home, putting it together, arranging it to look at – that is the life for me. As that goes, when I started getting expressive with how I dressed, anything I liked I wanted to wear. Instead of on a shelf, I wanted it in my hair. I actually didn’t wear jewelry regularly until I was in college. Once I began to learn more about different types of jewelry, I started wanting to learn how to work with those mediums and started making jewelry for myself and friends. My brand actually came about as I was in graduate school studying Philosophy; the coffee shop I was working at told us they were closing in two weeks. That went on for months. Instead of worrying if I’d have a job when I was already stressed about school, I decided to start making things and trying to sell them. I made accessories from recycled textiles. It’s all evolved on and off from there.

How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?

Art is a communication. And it’s important because it’s a unique communication that may include anywhere from 1 to billions of people at once. It’s personal first, for the creator and also the observer, and then it interacts with those around the person as they engage about what they are personally experiencing. Even if it’s disgust or boredom, it opens that person to others in communication which deepens relationships and self understanding. Those two things are some of the most important things in a diverse and very large culture. Wearables are a particularly vulnerable part of this communication. Walking around in something you chose tells people about you all the time. Positively, it allows for creative and aesthetic connections that might not otherwise be had. Creative dress and adornment opens us up to each other. Noticing something in someone is an existential connection, and as we struggle to find human connection behind our digital connections, stopping someone and saying you like their earrings builds something: humanity. We can all engage in art by looking at each other. Looking for the choices and thinking about our own. Presenting ourselves as creatives and engaging as such. It’s not Burbank specific, I know, but I think Burbank is filler with unique creatives that can enrich and be further enriched in the social spaces here by looking at each other with intention.

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?

The roots of art are in our humanity. The more we entertain our human nature as such, we are able to engage deeper with the world, with Beauty, and with each other.


To find out more about Abbey’s work, visit