Tell us, who is the person behind the brand?
I see myself as an inclusive, feminist jeweler and hope others do as well. I want Lolide to be a place where people who consider themselves non-traditional or out of the mainstream are not only welcome, but can see designs created with them in mind – not just as an afterthought.
I’ve been making things with my hands since I can remember. I was raised in semi-rural Virginia by Depression-era grandparents. My grandfather, never one to throw anything away – or purchase expensive art materials – kept what we referred to as the “junk room.” But to me, this was my supply closet, the place where I got all of the materials for my many projects, from the leftover rug remnants and house paint I used in a handmade and furnished cardboard doll-less house, to old pieces of tire I used to make a pair of flip flops.
I’m very attracted to showing positive vs. negative space. I find inspiration in the intersection of order and chaos, natural vs. industrial, like the beautiful lush organic vine growing on a rusted glass and steel structure or the sound of rain on a metal roof, things that connect my Virginia childhood with my new home in Seattle. I try to reflect this feeling of time, nature, and industry in my designs, a marriage of my past and present.
Do you work with custom designs? If so how does a couple start that process with you?
While I don’t work from customer images or designs, I can customize almost anything you see in my shop to make it uniquely yours. Metals, widths, textures and stones can all be varied and mixing design elements is no problem.
Just email me with designs from my store that most appeal to you and any ideas you have and we’ll go from there. I do not currently charge a customization fee, but prices will vary depending on specifics.
What does a day in the studio look like to you?
I generally start out with administration – email, social media, packaging, ordering supplies. If I have a big day of orders, material I know is coming in, I plan a long production day.
I generally work in stages and group my work depending on complexity. I need large stretches of uninterrupted time, so I usually put on a podcast and work for several hours at a go. I’m not a morning person, so much of my best work is done from 5pm – 11pm. I love the feeling of accomplishment after a long day in the studio and seeing everything finished and ready to go.
I tend to have sparks of inspiration as I work, or even just walking around the city. I jot ideas down in my notebook and then when I have an extended period off from production, I’ll usually devote from a day to a week to making the sketches into reality. I think that’s my favorite part. When something that was in my head becomes this real physical object I can hold in my hand. It still surprises me sometimes that I can do it.
After that is photographing, editing, listing, website updates. To put any new product up for sale is hours of additional work outside of simple design and creation.
Why do you do what you do? What do you love most about your job?
I’ve made unisex rings from day one, driven by my personal experience of struggling with the gender binary and never fitting into either box. I had to make my own wedding ring because I couldn’t find anything out there that felt true to my aesthetic and my values. Not everyone can do that, so I’m trying to help fill that gap.
The thing that keeps me going is when someone contacts me and tells me how they searched everywhere and just couldn’t find anything that felt like it reflected them until they saw my work. Or when someone is just so thrilled at the finished product. Those emails make my day. The fact that something I made with my hands could bring someone joy like that is really humbling.
If you weren’t a jeweler what would you be doing and why?
As it turns out, this has been on my mind. I worked with homeless youth and families for about 10 years and often miss the feeling like I’m part of a bigger cause. I’m considering going back for a master’s in gender studies and writing about the predominance of women and children taking men’s names, the history and oppression that underpin that practice, and how I feel it serves to perpetuate sexism and devaluing of women. I also have some ideas for creating a non-profit to improve environments in hospitals to both make it less depressing and facilitate healing. And there is my idea for gender-neutral clothing stores for kids. At this point, they are all just things in my head. It’s hard to imagine not continuing to design and create in some capacity, though. It’s what I’ve done since I was a kid.