December 31, 2010

Emilie Shapiro: Heavy Metal

For the Brooklyn-based designer, 23-year-old Emilie Shapiro, it all started with a gifted duffle bag flooded with costume jewelry. “I took apart a bunch of different pieces and then put them back together in new ways.” And that pretty much sums up the vintage-inspired, hippie-esque, rough-around-the-edges collection: Found objects assembled in unique ways, creating something entirely original. Pretty cool, huh?

Here we go:

So, let’s see, when did you first start your jewelry line?: I started experimenting when I was 14 by beading and incorporating found objects into my work. I became more immersed once I began studying at Syracuse University's Crouse College for Jewelry and Metalsmithing and with artist Peter Bauhuis at Alchimia, a school for contemporary Jewelry design in Florence, Italy.

How have you seen your style evolve over the years?: My work evolves as I grow as a person and as the world changes around me. It is a really natural evolution. I see the change clearly once I take a step back after I've created something—it’s only then that I realize how the transformation truly reflects the changes in myself.

Overall, how would you describe the collection?: Nature transmuted into metal. I feel like it is my purpose to preserve our generation in my work—that goes for our surroundings, who we are, what we wear, what we do, what we see, etc.—because, as I see it, in a few hundred years, the art that may be preserved will be our story.

What has the response been like?: When you are running any small business it's hard, whether you are an artist trying to represent yourself, opening a bakery, or opening a clothing boutique. The response has been really great, but it has definitely been hard work.

Tell me about your inspirations: My inspirations are my surroundings. My favorite artists are Peter Bauhuis, June Schwarz, Joe Wood, and my Grandmother's fabulous jewelry collection.

Fan favorite: King Henry VIII ring

Personal favorites: Adjustable Two-by-Two ring & Stalk bracelet in Bronze

Find the complete collection here

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