Introduce yourself. Where are you originally from? Where did you learn your craft and how/when did you get started?
I was born and raised in Dallas,Texas. I moved to New York City over a decade ago so I very much consider it my home. I found my way to jewelry by chance after signing up for an introductory jewelry course at my university while undergraduate degree in Psychology. I was immediately drawn to the freedom of expression in metalsmithing and knew this was something I wanted to pursue further. Armed with the basics, I honed my skills further through apprenticeships and a lot of experimentation and determination.
Where do you live and work now, and how does this environment influence your creative process? When do you find yourself creating your best work?
I currently live and work in Brooklyn. I love living in this city and I can always find something to draw inspiration from whether it’s visiting one of the many amazing museums or just taking a walk through an interesting neighborhood. I’m very hands on, so I find that when I just let myself play and mess around with materials at my studio, it makes for a lot of great ideas that I end up coming back to.
What are some of the original inspirations behind your work? How has this changed over the years?
For some of my earlier work, a lot of inspiration came from found objects – the crumpled texture of a piece of metal scrap, the woven pattern of a window screen– and also just letting the process dictate the direction of the design. I still find inspiration in this approach but now I also enjoy looking to other disciplines for inspiration. Furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics– I’m fascinated by all of it.
Explain the story behind the name: how and why you chose it.
Each piece of jewelry I make is an intimate expression. I draw out ideas from deep within the recesses of my mind and make them physical realities. Every piece serves as an artifact of my inspirations, thoughts and explorations.
Can you elaborate on your particular creative process, what’s your favorite part? What is your workspace like? What materials do you prefer to use?
A lot of designs begin as sketches. I’ll sketch the same design out until I feel I’ve got it right. Once I’ve arrived at this stage, I’ll take my sketch to the bench and start creating the first prototype. Sometimes I’ll get it on the first try and be happy with how it’s turned out. Other times, I’ll have to remake it several times before I get it right ( my least favorite part) or will decide to modify the design as I’m making it. Some designs don’t begin as a sketch. These come about very organically when I’m playing around and experimenting with my materials (my favorite part) and I end up coming up with something I really like.
My work space can be pretty messy at times– burs, files and scraps of sandpaper everywhere, and half finished prototypes and experiments strewn about in case I want to come back to them later– but I kind of like it this way. I definitely prefer using silver or brass over wax when it comes to creating my prototypes. I love the immediate gratification that comes with fabricating an entire piece from scratch and not having to wait for your wax model to be cast.
What are 5 adjectives you would use to describe your workspace?
Inspiring, fun, busy, motivating, rewarding
What do you find yourself doing when in a creative rut?
In times like these, I find it best to step away from the studio or sketchbook and go do some other activity that can help regenerate my creative reserves. I’ll wander around Chelsea checking out galleries, browse the picture archives at the library, draw or make a collage. I find these all to be very meditative and they definitely help me gain some new perspective on an idea when I’m ready to come back to it.
What has been your greatest struggle/obstacle so far?
Costs and competing with fast fashion. Well made pieces that are produced sustainably and ethically definitely cost more and it’s tough to carve out a place for yourself in the market when you’re competing with fast fashion brands that can produce things very cheaply.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself about starting your brand and business?
Be patient with yourself and stay the course.
What’s your secret NY spot?
Dead Horse Bay. It got its name from all of the horse rendering plants that used to surround the beach. You can still find pieces of horse bone washing up on the shore as well as countless bottles, tiles and other debris from when it was used as a landfill. It’s fascinating to comb the beach for these relics of the past, some of it well over a 100 years old. Some say it’s trash but I say it’s treasure.
We love meeting over coffee at Young & Able. What's your favorite local café?
Variety Coffee Roasters, their coffee is the best!