Tell me a little about yourselves. Where are you originally from? Where did you go to school or where did you learn your craft?
Jerad and I were both born and raised in Colorado. I studied Product Development at FIDM, and Jerad studied Directing and Cinematography at LA Film School. We're self-taught jewelry designers and makers. It's a passion we both share and we dedicated time to perfecting that craft together.
Where do you live and work now, and how does this environment inform your creative process?
We live in a studio loft in Los Angeles, where we also work on the line. For us, living and working in the same space is a bit like living inside an inspiration board. Many elements of our home decor make their way into the presentation of our jewelry, like hanging necklaces from galvanized pipe and stacking rings on antlers. In turn, our designs are also influenced by the eclectic nature of our environment.
How did you two begin working together collaboratively? What roles do you take on in the company and the design process?
We started Androgyny as a shared hobby that began about two and a half years ago. We designed pieces together from a collection of old rosaries, nails, and keys and branched out from there. Now I'm lucky enough to work on Androgyny full time, while Jerad works heavily on our film projects. No matter what we're working on, we run everything by each other. It's a constant soundboard of ideas until the final product is finished.
Can you elaborate on your particular design process? What is your workspace like? What materials do you prefer?
Jerad made our jewelry bench from ten-foot long wooden two-by-fours suspended on saw horses. Everything is done here, from bending the nail rings into shape to carving the wax molds. The materials we use range from tough steel nails to natural crystals, and I enjoy working with all of it.
Who or what do you draw inspiration from?
All the work we create is inspired by our Colorado roots. I spent countless hours in the shop with my dad from a very young age asking him to make me jewelry from his scrap metal pile, and Jerad's dad would bring back elk teeth from his hunting trips that would later be turned into jewelry. The ingenuity we picked up from all those years of interacting with nature and spending time with family shaped our creative spirits.
Your pieces are (appropriately) able to be worn by men or women, which seems to be a natural progression of you two working together. Which pieces are your favorite from your collection, and how do you picture them worn?
Courtney: My favorite piece is the Oxidized Nail Ring stack. I'm constantly reaching for this style for a chunky statement piece that's super wearable. I like to juxtapose the heaviness of the piece with thin midi rings in a different metal. Because of the oxidation, the piece is slightly iridescent, making it ideal for pairing with gold or silver. I'm personally a big fan of mixing metals.
Jerad: The classic Nail Ring. It's the true representation of Androgyny. Both men and women are naturally drawn to this one. It's simple, intriguing, and strangely beautiful. It's a rustic representation of craftiness and the wearer embodies the creative spirit. Wear it stacked or by itself. Either way you're gonna turn heads.
How did you decide to become involved with Y&A? What does the mission of the company mean to you as a designer?
I met the rad mastermind behind Y&A when we were booth buddies at Nue Market in Los Angeles. We bonded over a shared entrepreneurial spirit and love for our pets. I knew I wanted to be part of the community of designers as soon as I read the mission statement. Our jewelry is so personal, not just because every piece is designed and made by hand, but because we pour every ounce of our being into it. As young designers, it's rewarding just to be featured alongside a group of talented peers that are interested in seeing everyone around them succeed too.
What are some of your most memorable accomplishments as jewelry designers?
The most memorable accomplishments have actually come in the form of great reviews from our patrons. At the end of the day, we want to create adornments that make people happy.
Explain the story behind the name; how and why you chose it.
Androgyny came from the idea that we are creating a feminine item out of traditionally masculine material, and we wanted a name that reflected our collaborative process. On a larger scale, we believe that gender is a spectrum, and that the lines of what's 'masculine' and what's 'feminine' is blurring more and more. We have always found the beauty in the blend of both. We want our designs to encompass that idea.
And finally, what do you see in the future for Androgyny?
We're refining our technique slightly and working with wax to cast original jewelry designs. Look for bronze, silver, and gold Androgyny designs coming very soon.
Q&A by Arielle M. Myers | Photos by Emily Malan