Started by Daniela Jacobs, Arc is a combination of traditional metal hand-crafting and small-scale industrial ceramics production techniques handmade in New York City. Daniela shares with us her inspiration, design processes and what it means to her to be “Young and Able”.
Hi Daniela, tell us a little bit about your background.
I am Daniela Jacobs; my jewelry and home objects brand is called ARC. I was born in New York City, but raised here and in Mallorca, Spain.
I went to Parsons, where I was an Integrated Design Major, which gave me the freedom to shape my own curriculum. My studies generally all fell under the umbrella of fashion, but I also chose to focus on things that were not entirely connected, like the ethics of production and consumption; traditional metal hand-crafting; and small-scale industrial ceramics production techniques. I’ve loved working with ceramics since I first took a pottery class when I was about 6, but it wasn’t until Parsons that I learned how to make my own molds and ultimately develop the practice I still follow today.
Where do you live and work now, and how does this environment inform your creative process?
At the moment, I live (and mostly work out of) the loft I grew up in, in downtown Manhattan. The giant window in my studio makes it a great place to work and sketch and brainstorm. Natural light and a sense of space are really important ingredients for my creative process. I feel like I can’t quite think clearly without these two things—which is also why my time in Mallorca is so hugely inspiring. Every time I’m there it feels like I’m being fed visual medicine! A dream of mine is to set up a proper studio there one day, too…
Can you elaborate on your particular design process? What is your workspace like? What materials do you prefer?
My design process usually starts with collecting visual inspiration. I like to go to the library and get lost in random aisles that attract my attention spontaneously. I pull out books that contain information or images that spark a particular interest and photocopy them, then go through them later and draw or take little notes in my sketchbook… I also like scanning things with interesting textures, like obscure fabrics or plants. Usually new ideas don’t come to me right away (or when I’m consciously waiting for them), but I always enjoy starting to brainstorm this way regardless.
My workspace tends to be a combination of organized and messy… Things have their designated place and order—but there is also usually an undercurrent of creative chaos beneath the surface. I love working with ceramics and metal (which is why, for now at least, these are the main materials in the work I create for ARC). I’ve also always loved drawing, though (both from life and imagination)—and a dream of mine has always been to better learn how to work with wood.
Explain the story behind the name; how and why you chose it.
I chose the name “ARC” for my brand because I wanted something abstract, simple, and that vaguely referenced geometry (since my work is minimal and often quite geometric). I wanted it to be pronounceable in more than one language, and the word came to me while I was swimming in the sea in Mallorca a few summers ago. Maybe it’s silly, but that seemed like a good sign!
What does being Young & Able mean to you?
To me, being “Young & Able” means pursuing one’s passion to create and explore, while respectfully breaking with mistakes of the past and cultivating new ideas for the future.
What are some of your struggles/obstacles so far?
Learning to adapt to producing on a larger scale than I ever had before was definitely one of the initial struggles I faced with ARC. Now I’m in more of a rhythm so when orders come in it’s a very different experience than it was at the beginning…!
And lastly, what's your favorite spot to get inspired?
Somewhere in the sunshine with a mild breeze, preferably along the sea.