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Judy Foreman: Daniel Gibbings, Setenay Ozdemir-Osman an Award-Winning Partnership

Santa Barbara International Film Festival turns to two Montecito jewelry artists for emblematic new award design

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Good things come in small packages, which is one way to think about Daniel Gibbings’ fine jewelry showroom on Montecito’s Coast Village Road.

More than 20 years ago, Gibbings chose Santa Barbara as the location for his intimate and charming flagship store, studio, place of residence and artistic inspiration. Growing up in South Africa, a rich craft tradition sparked his interest in design.

Further travels to Europe and the Middle East, with visits to museums housing many of the world’s great art collections, deepened his appreciation for metal working. He pursued an education at the Jaffa School of Arts in Israel and the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art in London to master many of these techniques.

As a collector myself, I have long admired Gibbings’ use of exotic, bold and elegant high-karat metalwork, fine-colored jewels and time-intensive fabrication of precious metals. In addition to a strong local following, he’s garnered the attention of industry professionals — along with celebrities such as Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, and hometown pop music star Katy Perry.

Last year, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival asked Gibbings to create a custom award design that could become iconic and synonymous with the annual event. He already had a long history with the organization as the exclusive award designer and sponsor for both the festival and of the “Kirk Douglas Award of Excellence in Film” since 2010.

After many months of sourcing inspiration, sketching and submitting renderings, the design was selected and approved. It took more than five months of sculpting, modifying and finalizing the production of the handmade award. The statuette is handcrafted in metal with 24-karat gold-plating and a custom marble base.
The new award design features the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic and landmark Arlington Theatre and resembles the prestigious golden flare.

Now partnering with Gibbings is CEO and creative director Setenay Ozdemir-Osman, whom he met while on the hunt for a special piece of jewelry. The two connected instantly over Gibbings’ love for Old World jewelry designs and Ozdemir-Osman’s Turkish heritage. Now they’re business and creative partners.

Originally from Istanbul and now a resident of the American Riviera with her husband, Ozdemir-Osman spent most of her childhood in Italy, where she first grew interested in fashion and jewelry. After earning a business degree from Oxford University in England, she came to the United States, where she held several corporate positions in the finance industry.

“I always knew I would end up in the jewelry business due to my natural affinity for Byzantine and Ottoman jewelry stemming from my heritage,” she told me.

She still travels back home to Europe several times a year, but playfully refers to herself as a ‘“Turkish princess” who is happy to call Santa Barbara and Montecito her home away from home — a true paradise.

Ozdemir-Osman recalls watching George Clooney receive the Modern Master Award at the 2006 film festival when the award literally fell to pieces. Although Clooney took it in stride, she said she was shocked.

In that moment, she thought, “I saw a great opportunity, and that opportunity has carried us to designing and producing all the awards for the film festival today.”

Gibbings and Ozdemir-Osman wanted to create an award that is not only quintessential to Santa Barbara’s beautiful culture and performing arts scene, but one that embodies the passion and creativity used in creating their unique jewelry designs.

“Just as the Arlington Theatre takes our imagination to new places, so do the visionary filmmakers and actors who are honored each year by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival,” Ozdemir-Osman  said.

“Our goal is to create a very special award that has Santa Barbara in its essence and will represent the SBIFF, without someone even reading the copy written below — just like the Oscar.”

Now in its 29th year and running through Sunday, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival annually offers 11 days of 200 films, tributes and panel discussions among industry experts. With enough Hollywood glamour and power buzz to rival other international film soirées, the Santa Barbara festival attracts more than 75,000 film lovers to experience the importance and power of the art of filmmaking and our local culture.

A few notable recipients of the Gibbings award this year will include Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for their collaborative works on Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street. Oprah Winfrey will receive the Montecito Award, Emma Thompson will receive the Modern Masters Award, Jared Leto will receive a 2014 Virtuosos Award for his work in the Dallas Buyers Club, and Robert Redford will receive The American Riviera Award. Cate Blanchet received the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Saturday.

Daniel Gibbings’ showroom is located at 1143 Coast Village Road in Montecito. Click here for more information, or call 805.565.1284.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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