Dress Me recently collaborated with the fabulous team at ‘CrowdJewel’ on a global jewellery competition that drew in designers from our very own Hong Kong, as well as various other countries.
The designers were given a theme – BLACK SWAN (do check out our Pinterest board!) and were asked to submit designs influenced by this notion.
In between experimenting & creating in her private studio and manning her brick and mortar shop front boutique in the up-and-coming midtown section of Anchorage, Dress Me (MD in the interview) was able to touch base with the torch wielding, book hoarding, adventure obsessed designer from Alaska!
(ABOVE: The winning design – an onyx & silver necklace)
(DM): In three words describe your jewellery.
(Annie): “Funky, stylish, simple.”
(DM): Who, What or Where do you draw your inspiration from?
(Annie): “I like to think that my work is industrially organic.
I love images of run down industrial areas as they are being taken over by weeds – a mix of old a new, the cycle of life.
This cycle can be seen in my somewhat obsessive use of circles and discs in my work, paired with delicate saw marks or offset stone or grain accents.
I don’t like the look of super shiny, obviously manufactured items, which makes my ‘hand-evident’ line very appealing to my own sensibility.”
(DM): How did you hear about the CrowdJewel competition and what inspired you to enter?
(Annie): “The awesome folks at CrowdJewel actually found me! On twitter of all places (@anniepants – though beware, I’m snarky.), and I’m so glad they did.
The contests are a lot of fun and it’s great to see all of the fantastic work other people are doing.”
(DM): You’ve been chosen by viewers as the WINNING design in this global com – where to next!?
(Annie): “Hooray! I’m so excited to have won!
From here I plan to continue adding new designs to my Etsy shop (www.anniepants.etsy.com), working with my 80+ wholesale accounts and running my brick and mortar boutique in Anchorage Alaska (www.shop-bella.com).”
(DM): Tell us about how you brought the ‘Black Swan’ elements of light and dark into your WINNING design.
(Annie): “The depths of black onyx have always held my transfixed – it’s like a gloomy pond or swamp, and you just have to know what’s at the bottom.
Such a large, dark, focal piece surrounded by the bright tumbled sterling silver, with asymmetrical casting grain, is a perfect frame for such an enigmatic piece.
I fabricated the bezel from scratch, torch soldered each little ball of silver, and set that amazing stone for a great play of light and dark.”
(DM): What materials do you work best with when crafting your pieces?
(Annie): “I work mainly with sterling silver but have been enjoying a crazy love affair with copper as of late.
In art school, copper is the first material you work with (for expense reasons of course), but many jewelry artists quickly move beyond that. I however, have “rediscovered” copper and love all of the great finishes and textures it takes.
And of course there are the pearls. Lots and lots of pearls. I use pearls to accent almost everything. They are so classic, yet so contemporary – a great compliment to the “industrially organic” feel I strive for.”
(DM): Where did you first find your passion for jewellery making?
(Annie): “I took my first jewelry class when I was working on my Fine Art degree in drawing and having some serious trouble with figure drawing.
Frustrated, I signed up for my first jewelry class and absolutely fell in love. I think there is something seriously powerful about a girl wielding a torch and a hammer.
After 4 years I graduated with a degree in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing.”
(DM): What type of person do you imagine wearing your jewellery?
I have all kinds of people wearing my jewelry. From the tweeny-boppers to grandmothers (both of mine proudly wear pieces I have made constantly), each piece calls to its wearer. For the most part though I see funky folks who appreciate a unique handcrafted piece. When you wear handmade items, you know you have something special, it’s most likely one of a kind and you can see evidence of the artist in the final piece.
(DM): If you could have a celebrity wear a piece of your jewellery, who would it be?
(Annie): “Oh my…I’m not much up on my celebrity, but I am a big fan of the hilarious Janeane Garofalo, or the forever stylish Drew Barrymore.
The ultimate would be to have Ms Betty White wear a piece – she is a national treasure and I just love her!”
(DM): When you accessorize yourself, how do you do so? (pile on heaps of bracelets, look for interesting key pieces, signature look? etc)
(Annie): “For a jewelry maker and shaker I rarely change my jewelry, leaving simple hoops in my ears, and pile 4 or 5 stamped sterling bracelets on my wrist (“fortune favors the brave” on one, and “this too shall pass” on another – last year was a rough year with a house fire and all of the dumb shenanigans that come from that, so I drew power, and patience, from those pieces).
The latest addition is a large ceramic ring by fellow jewelry artist Roze Braunstein of MyFriendRoze, with a set peridot. I can’t wait to put it on each morning.
I am forever in flats and being short (5’3) my jeans are always rolled, so that is definitely a signature style.
With a large, bright, chest tattoo and two small studs in my nose, I am very careful not to over do it on the accessories, but definitely appreciate them on other people.
And I love that I can fabricate great designs for those funky folks who love to wear the great goods!”