At an event last month I met Julie and Rudy, the designers behind Baltera. It was towards the end and I thought I had seen everything, but then, I spotted their rings! Incredibly well-made braided bands, ideal for stacking. Not only are the designs beautiful but the designers are enthusiastic and passionate. They have a love of mid-century modern and you can see that throughout the simplicity of their designs. Each piece feels thoughtful but also unique and interesting.
Rudy: In 1992 while studying as a sculptor, I took classes and experimented with jewelry.
Julie: In 2012 I lost a match to an earring, and the company I bought it from no longer existed. When I asked Rudy to make me another, I realized well, if we are going to spend the time and money why not just make something I really want - that led to the initial designs for Baltera.
Research research research. It all starts with a concept then research to make sure a beautiful version does not already exist in the marketplace. Then we both sit down and start with individual sketches and studies. Once we agree on a design/sketch we get together and create more detailed drawings, then Rudy takes that and creates an initial 3-d sketch so we can start to tweak the 3-dimensional feel of the piece.
Julie: Sometimes I still create a little Marquette in oil based clay or plaster (my 3-d sketch) and show it to Rudy to get his feedback. There is a constant back and forth between the two of us- lots of constructive criticism and reworking of every detail. After multiple tweaks, and sometimes going back to the sketching process, we start a 3-d model. Then we create a 3-d print which we hand chase, then we create a mold and cast initial silvers.
Rudy: I usually draw forms in my sketch books, sometimes they'll resemble traditional jewelry forms, other times they'll become abstractions. Sometimes they are simply linear sketches or patterns, occasional they'll take on more dimensional forms
History. Art & Design- from the Etruscans to French Art Nouveau to Charles and Ray Eames; we love a beautiful form superbly crafted. We are inspired by the skilled approach to making and interpreting new forms, by Artists & Designers pushing the parameters of their chosen material/mediums. From ancient gold smiths building elaborate chains to Gropius's groundbreaking use of industrial materials for the ultimate residential minimalist environment. Form, composition, line, mass, scale, seeking perfection rooted in these, understanding trends without succumbing to them, these elements all inspire us and our collection.
Rudy: Mostly contemporary art, design and architecture, some from antiquity but mostly modern.
I think our cuffs are our favorite right now! We just finished them and we are both are very proud of them as objects and as a beautiful & comfortable piece of jewelry.
Julie: My favorite personal piece is a toss between a small opal necklace my grandmother gave me and an organic sterling silver ring Rudy made for me when we first started dating.
Rudy: The Deco Propeller cufflinks we designed for our friends and family at our wedding.
Julie: Right now I wear our Osiris studs in 18k gold with white enamel. White & gold is a classic combo I feel I can rock with any outfit. I always have two of our classic braided rings stacked- usually the Cinque Plait with our Sottille - In matte finish of course! When I am going out I throw on our classic plait cuff and sometimes stack on a few more rings!
Rudy: I wear the Ampio Plait ring in matte silver.
Of course we both always wear our "wonder twin power" platinum wedding rings!
Julie: Wow, there are a lot! Artists: Mathew barney, Louise Bourgeois, Durer, Jan van Eyck, Goya, Charles Sheeler, Jordan Wolfson, Edward Burtynsky. Designers: Alessandro Michele can do no wrong, Alexander Mqueen, Eero Saarinen, Charles & Ray Eames, Jaime Hayon, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann -too many to pick just one!
Rudy: Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy, Syd Mead, H.R. Giger, Pio Manzú, Carlo Mollino, Louis Sullivan, Francis Bacon, Erwin Hauer.
Other than jewelry: We tend to work around the clock but whenever we have a chance we head up to our family cabin. Five years ago, we made a collective decision to upgrade from our Thoreau-esgue cabin with a double seater outhouse (very romantic) and build one ourselves, (yes, my Mom, Dad, Brother- us and any one willing to swing a hammer) with actual plumbing this time. Five years later, two stories, a laundry room, and several healthy debates over floor plans & who measured once and cut twice, and we have a paradise!
Of course any other free moments are devoted to our number one muse- Twixx, our black & tan dachshund!
Currently listening to....
Julie: 'I have tried in vain to disconnect my brain' by Plastikman is my favorite song, my favorite bands are Adult, Tame Impala & Metric.
Rudy: 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us' by Sparks, Boards of Canada, Todd Terje, Die Antwoord & Metric.