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Jennifer Sarkilahti

With a previous background in fine arts, how did you find your way into the realm of jewelry design?

I was a recent Fine Arts grad and had just moved to New York City. I started making jewelry as a side project from my painting, a hobby to keep my hands busy. Eventually it just took over and as I got more involved, I really fell in love with the wax carving process. New York has a way of making you feel like anything is possible, so I started building the business very slowly from the ground up.

What influences the visual aesthetic of your designs?

My fine arts background has had a huge influence on the way that I work. I was never trained in jewelry so I treat the process as if I were making a small sculpture. I like experimentation and I try not to have limitations on what tools to use or how to make things. I tend to work intuitively and let things come together rather than have an exact plan in mind.

From the organic curves to the more structural pieces, where would you say you draw your inspiration from?

I find inspiration everywhere from architecture, flea markets and museums to traveling and flipping through books. On my last trip to Copenhagen, I found a lot of unexpected inspiration in places like the beautiful Glyptotek Museum and Danish antique stores.

From start to finish, can you share with us your design process?

I carve each design out of wax first before casting it into metals like solid Brass, Sterling Silver and 14K Gold. The wax is cast into metal exactly as it is carved, so my favorite part is that you can see every mark made by the hand in the final piece. Sometimes I carve texture or pattern into the piece and sometimes I smooth everything out with a high polish surface but my hope is that you can still see that the underlying form was made by hand and not something made by a machine.

Favorite artists/musicians at the moment?

Barbara Hepworth, Gabriel Dawe, Sza, Frank Ocean, Sade.

How would you describe your personal style? Closet staples / Must-have pieces?

I want to be comfortable but pulled together so I’ll wear jeans with a beautiful top or a dress with sneakers and maybe a bright lipstick (usually nars dragon lady or schiap). My favorite things are both beautiful and utilitarian, I try to buy quality pieces that I will get a lot of use out of. My must-haves are: a worn-in pair of Levis, anything by Rachel Comey or A’Detacher, a vintage striped wool dress and a treasured cashmere DemyLee cardigan I layer over everything.

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Clare Vivier

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