Artist Profile: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Knight Jewelry

Elizabeth in action at her studio

Elizabeth in action at her studio

Name: Elizabeth Thompson, Jewelry Designer, Brooklyn

This Artist Profile has us catching up with Elizabeth of Elizabeth Knight Jewelry. Her Greenpoint studio has the feel of a ubiquitous New York creative’s work space – graffiti over an unmarked entrance and a rather industrial, no-frills workroom that speaks to the gritty work with her hands that Elizabeth’s craft requires.

She speaks with a conviction and clarity about her inspirations, particularly those rooted in historical myths as well as family and jewelry-making heritage. Elizabeth’s obvious hunger to explore new avenues and expand her own capabilities mark her as a prodigy of her trade. Take a look at her musings on working with horse hair, the superiority of solid gold, and karma in wedding bands.

Tell us about your background and how you got into jewelry design.

I went to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I actually went there for graphic design because that was the only kind of creative class I’d taken in high school. But once I got to SCAD and realized there were all these other options, I realized quickly that graphic design wasn’t the road I wanted to go down. We were able to take elective courses, so one of the ones I took was in jewelry design. 

I immediately was drawn to it; there’s a nice gratification in making jewelry because the items are so small – you see your friends who are in, say, furniture design class or other projects where it will take a whole semester for them to complete one piece. [In jewelry design] you can have an idea, sketch it on a piece of paper and make it pretty quickly. So it feels good to go through that process and have something at the end you’re really proud of. I love working with my hands and with tools, so it was an exciting first class to take.

I know a lot of your pieces are inspired by and named after Greek history and mythology. What about that part of history really spoke to you?

Selection of "Ground and Water" piece castings

Selection of “Ground and Water” piece castings

The first collection I started is called “Ground and Water”. My mom doesn’t live far from Savannah; she’s in South Carolina, and she has a nice piece of property there where I started collecting organic objects. I used them in my casting class to make into metal. So it started with finding bones and other interesting objects, and I was really drawn to the skeletal figures. I really liked the message of where we’ve come from, where we’re going, the core of who we are – I started thinking a lot about that for future collections.

All that translated a little bit differently; I started looking into traditional ways of making jewelry and interesting parts of history. I wanted to be inspired by stories, folk tales, myths – I felt like there was a connection going from the skeletal castings to digging deep and thinking about what makes us up, and then stories and traditions that we grow up with and have been passed down to us. And with jewelry, you want it to be passed from one generation to the next. You’re sometimes given jewelry from your mother or grandmother; you want to have things you can pass down to your children. I think that within itself is in vein with the process of storytelling.

So there was the Greek mythology and then the “Leopard Hunter”, which was inspired by Victorian jewelry. So it’s fun to experiment with the processes of how they made jewelry at the time, and implement that into the designs as well.

Do you have any favorite collections or pieces inspired by a favorite myth or story that really spoke to you in particular?

I did a collection of horsehair jewelry that was called the “Dark Horse” collection. They’re really unusual pieces, and not really meant to be worn regularly – some of them are just show pieces or for editorials. But it was really fun to bring in another material that I’d never used before and practice different techniques of braiding and work with different colors. I was very proud of the pieces by the end of it. Kind of in the way that I’ve researched different techniques from one time period to he next, half fun of doing a new collection for me is wanting to branch out of what I’ve already done.

Horse-hair cuff

Horse-hair cuff

Braids of horse hair

Braids of horsehair

What is it about horsehair that ultimately makes the pieces not really for every day?

Horsehair just doesn’t hold up the way metal does. It can get tangled or caught on something, even if you have a nice tight braid. If you have a sharp ring or something, it can easily pull the hair. It’ll stretch and lose its shape if it’s worn too often.

Where do you source the horsehair from? I would think that’s harder to find than stones or metal.

It’s not that hard to find. I found a few different places that sold horsehair, and I did some research about where they got it and made sure they got the hair from somewhere that was ethically processing it.

Besides the horsehair, do you have a favorite material to work with, like particular stones or anything?

Well, I’ve started working with gold a little bit more recently, and there’s something about it so that brass or just a gold plate will never look the same as solid gold. For some specialty pieces that people have asked for, it’s been a pleasure to work with solid gold and see how beautiful it looks in the end. It’s just in a whole other league. You can even feel a difference in working with it.

"Lion Paw" ring; a favorite piece

“Lion Paw” ring; a favorite piece

Where do you see line going in the next year or two? Do you want it to be an organic evolution and take it as it comes, or do you have a specific plan for where you want it to go?

I think it’s a little bit of both. I’d like to start working more with fine jewelry and custom pieces. Outside of that, I’ve started designing some simple wedding bands.

This past season I’ve taken a little bit of a break – we’ve been doing a lot of production work together, and I wanted to start considering different ways of making jewelry that aren’t so high-production-oriented. I’ve loved working with solid gold, and I think some more sentimental, specialized pieces like wedding bands will be a fun new direction for the brand.

You were saying that the term “jewelry designer” brings to mind somebody in an office who is just conceiving the ideas or doing the sketches. What do you think of yourself as? A jewelry designer, or something else?

Well, there’s silver-smithing and then there’s gold-smithing. Silver-smithing is when you’re mostly using silver, but you can also be using any lower-end metals. [Whereas with] gold-smithing, you shouldn’t technically refer to yourself as a goldsmith until you’re working mostly with solid gold.

"Horn" cuff; a favorite piece

“Horn” cuff; a favorite piece

"Mother" charm bracelet; inspired by her mother and the charm collections she started for Elizabeth

“Mother” charm bracelet; inspired by her mother and the charm collections she started for Elizabeth

So I guess we could call ourselves silversmiths. But we want to be goldsmiths; we’ll be there one day (chuckles). It doesn’t take take too much difference technique-wise; it’s literally the matter of whether you’re using gold or silver. So those [terms] imply that you’re working with materials and making [jewelry], versus just designing it.

Any fun facts about the jewelry-making process?

What I really get a kick out of is being able to use new tools and experiment a lot with what we’ve got in [the studio]. 

Another thing – separate altogether – just being in this studio, there are twelve other jewelers in here, and everyone’s kind of kooky and different. Really genuine, wholesome personalities. So the fun part of our day-to-day is that we get to come into a shared space and work with other people we wouldn’t necessarily be around otherwise, and share ideas and processes and learn from them.

So how did you get connected to Goldyn?

I found Goldyn because they carry Mara Hoffman. I’ve worked in a few retail stores in the neighborhood, and we’ve carried her line before. I think her designs are really beautiful. She does all of her own prints; they’re really unusual and in great colors. I look up to [Mara] as a designer in the fashion world. I figured stores that carried her line are ones I would be interested in approaching to carry my brand. I scoped out some of the stores she’d been working with and saw Goldyn on the list.

My brother is in Denver, and I’d been wanting to go out to Colorado and explore some stores in that area. So I reached out because of [Mara Hoffman] and wanting to get my product out there.

Moving beyond your line, do you think there are any essential pieces every woman should have in her jewelry collection?

Knuckle rings are very cool right now. Any kind of jeweled pendant with a stone I think is essential – a longer one. It’s nice having something with a little bit of length to it; it’s eye-catching.

Her own rings passed down by her mother through other family members

Elizabeth’s own rings passed down by her mother through other family members

One of her father's wedding bands

One of her father’s wedding bands

I think it is important to have a few special pieces in your jewelry box to suit different occasions. We wear jewelry because it expresses our sense of style and makes us feel good. Under that circumstance I’ve found that there are specific pieces I have which have become my favorites.

I’m thinking of pieces my mother has passed down to me from my grandmother. They’re not essential in the sense that I’d wear them every day, but special as far as having something that has been a part of the family; that my mother had while she was growing up and now I get to have in my jewelry box, and feel like I’m connected to those other generations.

They’re mostly rings – they’re unusual and types of rings that aren’t really made anymore. And my dad has given me his wedding bands. (laughs) He’s been married three times, and I think he decided he didn’t need the memory of them anymore. So I have my dad’s wedding bands; I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I feel like there’s a little bit of bad karma with the “divorced” wedding ring. But it’s cool to have them. And he has really large hands, so they’re unusually big rings and all designed a little differently. I feel like there’s a story behind them.

Her own vintage necklace

Her own vintage necklace

If I’m dressing for a special occasion I will often wear a necklace paired with a small stud earring, or a larger earring that has length and movement with no necklace. Usually I don’t wear both a necklace and earrings unless one is very simple. When dressing up I like to let the outfit steal the show and prefer to balance it with more delicate, elegant jewelry. Jewelry attracts attention to different parts of the body, and depending on your outfit, you should choose if you want focus on the hand, jaw line, neck, ear or chest.

When I am dressing for fun I like to pick more playful pieces  - I find that I go through phases of different types of jewelry I like to wear. This spring and summer I am styling my outfits with longer necklaces, large cuff bracelets, and fun cocktail rings.

Selection of Elizabeth's "Crown" rings collection

Selection of Elizabeth’s “Crown” rings collection

But I find that I often don’t wear jewelry day-to-day in the studio – you shouldn’t wear stuff like that while working with tools. Outside of the studio I wear my set of crown rings on a regular basis.

Outside of the jewelry, does fashion play a role in your life?

Absolutely. Over the past few years I’ve had a second job working in retail, and I’ve always loved fashion. 

I like how jewelry and fashion are integrated together – how jewelry is meant to be something that’s eternal and lasts forever, versus fashion, which is very seasonal. I’m happy to be on our end of things. But I get very excited about clothes, new designs, new designers, how they’re made.

I like being a part of the whole process, from making the jewelry to selling it, and seeing who the customer is that’s buying it when I’m in the store. And after being [in the store] for a while, I’ve been able to help with managing and buying. So that’s a nice way of being involved in the fashion end of things.

PSYCHEDELIC SEASON

shopgoldyn:

We LOVE Kitschybelle’s styling of our Mara Hoffman pencil skirt and A.P.C. denim jacket!

Originally posted on Denver style and music blog by Krystabell B.:

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MARA HOFFMAN; psychedelic pencil skirt, A.P.C; oversized jean jacket

They say that Spring is here… and they also say I wear too much black. So because of the season change, I’ve decided to brighten up my wardrobe. Figures that the day I make sure to wear something “spring appropriate” it ends up being one of the very few over-cast day’s in Denver.  This high-waisted, psychedelic-print pencil skirt by Mara Hoffman, is a must for Spring. You can wear this skirt in so many way’s. My favorite daytime look; a vintage tee-shirt and jean jacket. Tonight, for my dinner date {because when you’re young professional, that’s your version of a Friday night.} a body-suit, and an accent belt is just fine. Simple jewelry, chunky platforms and a clutch, Violà! I’m ready for my Tuesday night. 

SHOP THIS LOOK AT SHOPGOLDYN.COM

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TULLE OVER EVERYTHING

shopgoldyn:

Check out Kitschybelle blogger Krystabell’s outfit featuring Goldyn designers Lauren Nevada and Amy J. Metals!

Originally posted on Denver style and music blog by Krystabell B.:

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 LAUREN NEVADA; tulle sweater, AMY J METALS; cuff  

This spring I am trying to incorporate tulle into my favorite outfits. I am notoriously known for wearing crop top’s year around. However, not everyday is appropriate for  a crop top by itself. This amazing Lauren Nevada “sweater” is perfect for layering right now. The tulle is soft enough to wear with a crop top, tank or if you are gutsy enough, a lace bra. The illusion of a sweater is complete with soft cuff’s and collar. I added an Amy J Metals’ handcrafted, bronze bracelet cuff as an accessory.. because, Hello! It’s amazing!

SHOP THIS LOOK AT SHOPGOLDYN.COM

PHOTOS BY : CHANELLE LESLIE

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Style Profile: Kate Hogan, People Magazine Features Editor

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In this installment of the Style Profiles, we chat with Kate Hogan, the New York-based Features Editor at People Magazine. I enter the Time & Life Building with the unshakeable awe that comes with knowing I’m in the presence of venerable greatness. Dressed in a black printed dress that brings the right amount of spring to the late-winter chill, Kate meets me just inside People’s glass doors with a warm smile.

Despite having a high-level position in publishing’s most cutthroat city and rubbed elbows with some major A-Listers, Kate’s responses come with a down-to-earth thoughtfulness that makes banter with her totally natural. Here, she weighs in on wearing sneakers to fashion previews, the merits of shopping basic, and getting the perfect Vine of Adam Levine.

Why don’t you start out by talking a little bit about what you do for People and how you got started here.

I’m the Features Editor here, so I do a lot of galleries and content around big events. Any awards shows, “Sexiest Man Alive”, “The World’s Most Beautiful” - I’m helping come up with the ideas, organizing everything, and then getting it all from the writing phase through to being live on the site. So a little writing, a little editing, a little photo research; things like that.

Can you walk us through what the typical day of a features editor looks like?

It varies a little bit depending on what we’re working on. Right now, we’re getting ready for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which are on April 6th. So we’ve been conceiving ideas for content – galleries that will get people excited and interested in country music stars. It’s been a lot of editing people and selecting photos that are going to go in the galleries, and keeping an eye on all of our country coverage.

We’re actually launching a country channel that week too – a whole new section of the site dedicated to country music – so we’re figuring out ways to promote that, as well as which content will go to ACM, and which will go to the channel.

[The channel] is more tech-based, because it will just pull in country music photos automatically, so it doesn’t require too much editorial work. My part is just seeding it with content.

Since you’ve been doing the features here at People, do you have a favorite story about meeting or interviewing anyone in particular; any experiences that really stand out?

All the experiences have been so amazing. I probably did the most interviews when I was doing the style stuff, because a lot of celebrities have a makeup line or a clothing line that they’re just dying to promote. They don’t want to talk about their love life, but they’re happy to talk about their lipstick or a new dress they’re launching. So I’ve gotten to talk to Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lopez and some other big names.

With features, the “Sexiest Man Alive” launch was fun. We were all here because Adam Levine was announced on The Voice that night, so I was in here and I had to take a Vine of his reaction on the show. I had to get it perfect and Tweet it, Facebook it, share it everywhere. Capture the perfect six seconds of Adam Levine, and then I was done.

Changing directions to fashion, I know you used to be on that side of things. Can you describe your personal style?

I’m pretty classic, I guess. I envy coworkers here who can pull together five pieces and a cool necklace, and make it work – I’m not necessarily that type. I really just love nice, timeless pieces and prints, as well as solid colors that you can mix and match. And a good pair of heels that you can walk around the city in without killing your feet.

I have noticed I’ve worn a lot of black since I moved to New York; I’m from the Midwest originally. Black is just so easy. You can do anything with it and always know you’re going to look chic; throw on a nice black dress and know you’ll look good in a meeting.

Do you have any style icons or influences; looks you wanted to emulate?

A lot of it is just about being easy. Most mornings I don’t wake up as early as I’d like to (chuckles). Growing up, my mom was pretty basic with her clothing. When we went shopping, it was more for me than for her; I could go to the mall for eight hours and be happy. My aunt is very much like that, so I’d follow her around a lot. She pairs interesting things together in a good way; I followed her lead a little bit. I think the mix of my mom being so low-maintenance and my aunt being more edgy made a good middle ground for me.

Are there any key pieces you’re excited to either pull out of the back of your closet or buy to transition into spring? Well, if it ever gets warmer. 

I love a good blazer. I have them in black, white, hot pink and one print that I can throw on with anything – jeans, black slacks, a dress – and instantly transform the outfit. And you can wear them in winter and spring, even summer on a cooler day. I have a ton of little shells to put on under them with whichever pants or skirt I’m wearing.

Along with that, what key pieces do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?

Any kind of good dress you can wear to work and then go out to dinner in. Formfitting; not too revealing but also not too covered up. I have this great Banana Republic dress for occasions like that. It’s black with clean lines and cinches right at the waist. You can put on some blue heels with it to make it a little more fun.

I also have a few floral dresses I bought in the winter months that I’ve been saving for spring and summer. One that has this bold purple, pink and green pattern; another that’s cream with bright blue flowers that I’m so excited to finally wear with some nude heels or wedges! I’m a skirt girl, too, so for weekends, I have my stash of colorful circle skirts and easy, throw-on tanks and T-shirts that I’ll throw on for brunches and errand runs and, let’s be real, more shopping trips.

And a nice trench coat, because you can go out and leave your coat on and look chic.

Describe the perfect white t-shirt.

(Laughs) That’s hard. Not too tight – I don’t want to be too “sexy” in a white t-shirt. I like a little bit more than a crew neck. I have this J.Crew one I love that’s not even a scoop neck; it’s just a little bit more than a crew, and has a little pocket on the chest. Something that’s flattering to your chest too. Just well-fitting and soft especially. It’s such a bummer when they start to get a little sad or frayed.

Can you talk about a fashion faux pas you’ve had? Any huge embarrassments?

When I first got to New York, I was working for this magazine called WHERE that’s in hotels around the city. I got to do a little fashion, a little entertainment – a little bit of everything. I got invited to an Elie Tahari preview; I’d never been to a preview before. So I had no idea it wasn’t as fancy as a regular fashion show, but still nice. I had jeans on, and the heel had broken on my shoe that day, so I ended up having to put on my running shoes. So I showed up to this Elie Tahari preview at a gorgeous showroom in Bryant Park in jeans and sneakers. The instant I walked in, I realized how underdressed I was. I was so embarrassed. I was 23, it was my first fashion event, and I just got out of there as fast as I could. 

Lastly, Courtney told me you’re planning your wedding right now. Anything you want to dish on that?

It’s fun! It’s such a process because there are so many details you never would’ve thought about. Dress shopping was definitely one of the highlights. My mom came out from Chicago and we hit something like seven stores in two days. It’s a fun here in New York because there are so many different places you can go; such a range of designers and options. But you have to stop yourself after a while; I think most girls would agree that trying on beautiful dresses for hours at a time can get addicting! 

GET THE LOOK: Shop Kate’s essentials at Goldyn

Dress: Silk, Rachel Comey, $506

Dress: Silk, Rachel Comey, $506

Dress: Viscose/elastane, Helmut Lang, $530

Dress: Viscose/elastane, Helmut Lang, $530

Blazer: Polyamide/viscose/polyester/spandex, VPL, $312

Blazer: Polyamide/viscose/polyester, VPL, $312

Booties: Leather, Rachel Comey, $385

Booties: Leather, Rachel Comey, $385

T-shirt: Poly/cotton, Helmut Lang, $115

T-shirt: Poly/cotton, Helmut Lang, $115

Tank: Cotton, 6397, $125

Tank: Cotton, 6397, $125

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Rachel Comey at Goldyn

NYC designer Rachel Comey’s cult-status collection of clothing and shoes has arrived at Goldyn just in time for Spring.  Find a new favorite dress or pair of wear-with-everything booties in Rachel Comey’s easy silhouettes and timeless details. The collection is also perfect for weathering early Spring’s up and down temperatures by mixing in your favorite leather jacket and tights before you put them away for good.

Rachel Comey emailer

Goldyn Named 303 Magazine’s “Best Local Boutique” for 2013

Check out 303 Magazine‘s feature of Goldyn for the publication’s “Fashion: Best of 2013″ piece. Whether you’re giving a taste of Denver’s best shopping to out-of-state visitors or dropping by after brunch at Linger next door, we’ll see you there! (As if you need an excuse to come get yourself something fabulous. It’s a new year – you deserve it!)

Store stock photo

 

http://303magazine.com/2014/01/fashion-best-2013/

Introducing A PEACE TREATY at Goldyn

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We’re so excited to add A PEACE TREATY to our designer portfolio at Goldyn for 2014. The company has an amazing backstory, combining high fashion with a socially conscious mission. Created as the brainchild of Farah Malik, a Pakistani Muslim, and Dana Arbib, a Libyan Jew, the two met while living in Rome. With their combined backgrounds in design, marketing and craftsmanship techniques, as well as a shared love of high fashion, A PEACE TREATY was born. Each season, Malik and Arbib work with craftsmen from a specific region in the Middle East, Asia, South America or Africa to create a collection of scarves and jewelry using traditional embroidery, beadwork and metalsmith techniques.

By preserving fading manufacturing methods, A PEACE TREATY brings work to skilled local artisans and economic stability to small villages caught in socio-political turmoil. The company’s scarves and jewelry are routinely featured in magazines such as Elle, Lucky, InStyle and Harper’s Bazaar, and frequently spotted on celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Halle Berry, Amy Adams and Christina Aguilera, to name just a few.

Click here to shop Goldyn’s collection of A PEACE TREATY scarves.