How did your purpose or your passion for jewelry reveal itself to you?
I always had an interest in doing something with my hands and working with metal always seemed like the most powerful thing: being able to bend and solder metal together and transform it into a wearable piece. A corporate life led me to some soul searching and into the light of design. I decided that if was working 12h a day I might be working them for myself, and having fun doing it. So, I changed course, chose jewelry school and pursued my dream.
What inspired you to start SpaceUnseen?
Pure voyeurism about other jewelers’ creative spaces. I travel a lot and each time I would see a jewelry studio I wanted to check it out and see how people in other countries and cultures design and create. It’s not like I don’t know how a jewelry studio looks like, but I think that having trained in Paris and having moved to the US and seeing the differences in work methodology and tools made me more curious about each person creative process. Plus there’s something so interesting about seeing the behind the scenes of jewelry: mood boards, the way people work and organize themselves. It’s absolutely special and it never ceases to amaze me.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I do and it hangs on one of my office walls. It’s from my favorite Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa, and it roughly translates that to be great you need to be whole. And that you need to put the maximum amount of effort into the minimum things you do, because this is the only way to achieve greatness and perfection.
What keeps you committed to your business?
So many things… probably the masochist cycle of procrastinating on new designs and bespoke projects, the enthusiasm of creating something so personal and unique, the joy of seeing a happy client when I deliver the jewelry and feeling great about what I do for a living. Having this on repeat you never get bored.
What else are you committed to?
I’m committed to life in general. Live life to the fullest while you can and without regrets. Don’t delay events in your life otherwise you’ll regret it. Live it, love it, fail and start over again. That’s living and there’s no better thing to keep you going.
What keeps you motivated?
Wanting to do more, better and faster.
What caused you to move your own studio from LA to Charlottesville?
My husband moved, so I just moved my studio to where he was going.
That has been the point of having my own jewelry business all along. It doesn’t matter where I live in the world, I can keep doing what I love.
What is the oddest or most remarkable thing you’ve seen in an artist’s studio?
So many things, and sometimes it’s not even a thing, it’s a way of working or thinking. But I think that the common trait in every single one of them is how resourceful every jeweler is. Jewelers create tools and mechanisms to improve their way of working. That’s absolutely remarkable.
How do you spend your free time?
Traveling if I can. Otherwise I’ll replace it for walks and hikes with the dog. It helps clear my mind.
Do you have a specific vision for SpaceUnseen in the future?
I would love to turn it into a beautiful coffee book (or a series of books!).
I would also love to make it into a seasonal printing magazine. It may come sooner than later.
What is your biggest challenge?
Managing my jewelry business and keeping SpaceUnseen growing. Running the two of them lately has proven to be a rather difficult task.
What moves you?
Knowledge. Wanting to discover, to learn, to absorb more things in life.
What is your dream project?
I’m already doing 2 of my dream projects: jewelry and SpaceUnseen. I don’t think I have time for another one
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?
This is a tough one. I really can’t pick one place. I have lots of favorite places for many different reasons. Maybe on top of that list would be Australia, Japan and China for culture and diversity. And they’re so big that I feel that I only touched the surface when I visited. For Nature I would pick Alaska, Iceland and Norway.
How has SpaceUnseen changed or influenced you?
SpaceUnseen has opened my mind to new ways of thinking about jewelry and design and at the same time it has humbled me as well. I have visited so many outrageously talented people across the globe that are so unpretentious and skilled that it just makes me want to become a better jeweler and person.
Since you are also a jewelry designer, what is your favorite piece of jewelry from your own body of work and why?
If I had answered this questionnaire promptly when you sent it, I would have said that it is my Romanesque gold band. I wear it on my thumb ring since 2004 because it was the first ring I casted in 18K gold. I’m not so much into that design anymore but it represents a moment when my life changed and it was the first piece of my first collection.
But 2 weeks ago, my favorite piece changed. I made my parents their wedding bands for their 50th wedding anniversary. I do a lot of custom work for clients, but this time it was different. I had the privilege of doing something special for the people who brought me into this world and made me who I am. So being able to pay them homage by making their rings for their commitment to each other of 50 years is absolutely priceless.
Which CED design speaks to you most and why?
That’s a really tough and unfair question. I love all of Claudia’s jewelry because it’s very modern, fresh and clean. But if I have to pick a favorite from everything she’s done it would have to be the power ring. I like to think that I accompanied Claudia’s design and inspiration process for this ring and that I know the story behind it. Not only is the ring absolutely gorgeous and powerful but it’s also a pivotal moment in her design career.
Is there anything else we should know?
Yes! I’ve seen Claudia wearing jeans and sneakers!