After being drawn in by Sarah Swell's fishbone series, I had to know more about her work. Sarah's designs are classic and organic, but also have an edgy vibe. They are beautifully crafted. Currently, Sarah is expanding her line to include more one-of-a-kind pieces. She released three very unique necklaces a month or so ago and is debuting rings TODAY. Below is a look at her new rings as well as a short interview!
After dropping out of art school (I was studying painting) I was feeling pretty lost. I took an introductory jewelry class and something immediately clicked. Everything about it felt right, from the materials to the combination of design and entrepreneurship that being a jewelry designer calls for. I knew I had found "my thing." I moved from Boston to San Francisco to attend the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts and later worked for designer Sarah Graham. I felt it was very important to hone my skills and learn about the jewelry industry before launching my own business in 2009.
I definitely sketch a lot, but I wouldn't necessarily say that I do it first before creating a piece. I usually end up going back through my many sketchbooks and taking bits and pieces from various ideas as inspiration for whatever I'm creating. I find that trying to directly translate a drawing into jewelry can sometimes feel forced. Once I start working in either wax or metal, the design often takes a turn away from my original idea anyway. With designing jewelry, you can plan and plot all day, but so much of the outcome of a final piece depends on how it feels on and how it moves with the body. There's just no way to predict that without actualizing it.
Nature and ancient jewelry. I've always been in awe of the natural world and how everything is just so perfectly imperfect. I like to take a subtle shape or texture from nature so that the finished piece has a familiarity to it but the source of inspiration isn't obvious. I also am enthralled with ancient jewelry, Egyptian in particular. I love the sculptural quality and meaning behind the pieces.
Favorite designs: I always come back to the fishbone series. We just started making the bracelet in solid 14k and it's so luxurious! I'm also really drawn to my edgier pieces, even though they aren't our best sellers. I love the spire collar in oxidized silver and our new mountain inverted huggie hoops in gold.
Personal collection: I have this cool vintage brass collar-style piece that isn't very valuable. I turned it into a headpiece that I wore on my wedding day, so that is very special to me!
Daily jewels: I always wear two ears full of studs. I have 6 holes in total and love mixing and matching studs from my collection with the work of other designers. It's kind of subtly bad-ass and easy! I also always wear lots & lots of rings and they somehow don't bother me when I'm making jewelry.
Favorite designers: Alphonse Mucha, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Frida Kahlo, Ernst Haeckel, Alexander Calder and Harry Bertoia.
My favorite contemporary jewelry designers include Gabriella Kiss, Anthony Lent and Todd Pownell.
Other than jewelry: I've become a pretty dedicated yogi over the past year. I try to practice most days and find that it helps every other aspect of my life. I'm also a major foodie and love trying new restaurants. Plus, I hang out with my dog - ALOT.
Currently listening to: I'm completely obsessed with Lord Huron. It's pretty much all I've been listening to lately, somehow I'm not getting sick of it!
Below are some of my favorite designs by Sarah Swell. Also, TODAY she is debuting one-of-a-kind rings on her website! Go take a look.