Architecture and jewelry have a lot in common: form & function, balance, personal connection, and materiality, just to name a few. It’s no surprise the A & D industry has contributed to the jewelry world, and vice versa. Recently, I was commissioned to make a small contribution of my own, and the experience was the ultimate collision of my career and small business.
My background is in commercial interior design. When I’m not running my handmade jewelry business Once Again Sam, I’m working as an interior designer part time for LS3P, a major architecture firm in the Southeast. I’m part of the Worship Studio, which consists of a dedicated group that helps design traditional and contemporary churches all over the country. Interior Design and Jewelry Design influence each other in ways I never imagined. I have designed floor tile patterns that became leather cutout cuffs, and I have chosen wood veneer for pendants that ended up appearing on feature walls. Design is design, oftentimes applicable beyond it’s intended application.
Women in Architecture of the Upstate recently commissioned me to create a special gift for their upcoming event, to be given to the speaker, Kate Schwennsen. Each year, they feature a different artist, and have commissioned a variety of work that ranges from painting, to film, and fine jewelry. I was glad for the opportunity, and a little curious how the design committee process might go.
Working as an interior designer means I regularly meet with committees to present concepts and material finishes, and share sketches of potential designs. I’m used to feedback, managing a range of different opinions, and communicating ideas with clients. However, working as an independant jewelry designer and small business owner, I’m used to working alone, having almost no feedback, developing ideas from start to finish with zero outside influence. Designing jewelry with a committee was an entirely new opportunity, a combination of my two skill sets, and the experience ended up being incredibly enjoyable thanks to the wonderful ideas and productive interaction with the WIA group. I’m also thrilled with how the final gift turned out and hope the recipient is too!
This is the final gift set - it includes a mahogany jewelry box with a laser engraved top, and matching leather lining. Inside is an orange laser cut leather bracelet, a pair of bocote stud earrings with orange leather insets, plus a geometric bocote pendant with brass tube detail (the orange is a nod to Clemson’s colors, because Professor Schwennsen is director of The School of Architecture at Clemson University).