Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

SoS Artist Spotlight: Grace Ann Agostino and Vanessa Gade

Grace Ann Agostino

Grace Ann Agostino works with leather, but treats it as fabric. By crushing, pleating and appliqueing the leather with antique trims, beads,or snake skin, and mixing it with old rug and Kilim parts, she is able to create handbags and belts that are unstructured, supple and unique. At least twice a year, she spends time in New York and Los Angeles buying leather skins. Most come from Italy, which produces the softest, finest skins in the richest colors.  The antique handbag frames and ornaments -of metal, Bakelite, Plexiglas, or Celluloid date from 1880 to 1950.  Every handbag is a combination of old and new.


The bags and belts are made almost exclusively of leather and/or exotic skins.  The only fabric sometimes used is kilim, which is always mixed with leather.  Each piece is lined in Napa leather. They are one-of-a-kind or limited edition; with constantly changing materials and designs.  All items are accented with an antique element–either a handbag frame or ornament.

Everything is handmade in Pennsylvania, USA.

Vanessa Gade

Bold, kinetic and sculptural with an elegant interplay of angles and curves,Vanessa Gade’s jewelry makes a contemporary statement balanced with timeless style.


The diverse urban landscape of San Francisco provides the ideal creative backdrop for Vanessa’s work and can be seen in the architectural qualities of her jewelry designs. The structural nature of her pieces are gracefully countered by a fluidity and movement influenced by her love of the ocean and her youth along the beaches of Southern California.


She describes her work as contemporary, with clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic reminiscent of Japanese and Scandinavian design. Particular pieces have been inspired by everything from art deco architecture, ikebana flower arrangements, suspension bridges and even criss-crossing power lines. Her designs tend toward an asymmetrical pattern encased within a perfect circle, evident in her debut Inner Circle collection first launched in 2007, which now has become her signature line. She enjoys the challenge of creating a perfectly balanced geometric structure that still maintains an element of movement, all the while utilizing the negative space as an integral part of the design.

Gotta have it?  Well you can!  Gade and Agostino are just two of over 40 other participating artists at Shop on the Square; a week-long show, craft sale, and auction features thoughtfully designed and expertly crafted jewelry, accessories, tableware, toys, and much more at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

The show will run Tuesday, December 4th through Sunday, December 9th, from noon to 7pm daily.

You can find more information at

Comments are closed.