Where do you call home? I’m originally from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and am proud to call that home. I’ve been living in NYC for a bit over 4 years and just recently have moved to Red Hook. This neighborhood has a different vibe than anywhere else I’ve lived within the city; it’s a great place to come home to and create work in.
What is it that you are passionate about? I’m passionate about my work, whether that be my jewelry or any odd job that I do on the side to thrive in the city. I say thrive because I didn’t come here to just ‘survive,’ I came here to meet equally hard working, interesting people and learn from them as well as have some fun with them! I’m passionate about my friends and family. I’m passionate about traveling and try to do it as much as possible. And anyone who knows me knows that I’m passionate about the beach! I grew up on a lake and was in the water most of the summer. Moving to the East Coast and finding out that I could get on my bike or the subway and be in the ocean within an hour was a dream come true!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs? I find inspiration in so many places! I’ve often struggled with reigning my work in; trying to focus on one direction, theme, idea. African neck rings, Elizabethan collars, my grandmothers piles of costume jewelry, the Chrysler Building, geometry, nature…living in New York affords me constant visual stimulation and there is a definite energy that this city emits. I sometimes just go sit at my bench and start working. Grab a piece of metal, start sawing, hammering, filing and see what comes of it. I have plenty of ideas in my head and many half finished pieces hidden around my bench that may never be finished.
Many of the pieces resemble elements of nature, are you trying to connect people who live in such a fast-paced society back towards nature? Can I steal that quote?! A lot of my pieces that are direct casts from nature, I found while traveling. I pick up things all the time and have a ‘junk drawer’ in my work bench. A lot of beach related finds and a ton of rusty screws and nails…
How do you define your jewelry-how do you differentiate your styles from others? My jewelry is simple, strong and well made. I feel all the pieces in my first collection can be worn everyday; with a plain t-shirt and jeans or all dressed up. I have so many friends who wear my work who tell me that they never take it off, and I love that! I make jewelry that I want to wear, but I get an immense feeling of fulfillment when I see other people taking pleasure in wearing my pieces.
What are the steps in making each piece? Most of my pieces are originally fabricated in metal or carved from wax, taken to my caster Omer in the Diamond District where he makes a silicon mold and uses the lost wax casting method to produce the final pieces in sterling silver. They then come back to my bench and are de-sprued and cleaned up with a series of polishing techniques. I set my own stones and would someday love to learn how to cut my own stones, as well.
What’s your daily routine? Coffee or tea? Coffee! A lot of coffee. I wouldn’t really say I have a routine…it depends whether I’m working on a custom piece or filling an order. I try to keep one day for errands and running up to the Diamond District to pick up/drop off anything with my caster. I set aside three days for my bench when I can be there for at least eight hours; it’s hard to start something without a having a long period of time to work on it. I get prime sun on my bench in the early afternoon, so as long as I can be there for that part of the day, I’m happy.
How do you think jewelry can help to define oneself? For me, jewelry enhances. Jewelry is that extra touch that completes the outfit. Jewelry has a story and will be with you for longer than most of your wardrobe.
What are your goals in the future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? My favorite part of this past year has been meeting people through my jewelry and working with them on custom orders. I love the process of designing a one of a kind piece that is specific to an individual, that they can keep forever and know that it is the only one like it in the world. Growing my custom jewelry business while retaining the quality in my work is my main goal. Where will I be in 10 years?! I have no idea, but I know I will still be making jewelry.