Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Jewelry designer.
Hometown: Austin, Texas.
Studio location: Soco District, Austin.
Describe what you make: I’m a jewelry designer and I fancy myself a maker of mini wearable sculptures and adornments. Specifically, my first loves are gemstones and color so my pieces incorporate a variety of gemstones and cuts to create architectural and organic pieces that are rife with movement and dimension. The new Nakard collection is an extension of that idea. The earrings move like mobiles and the necklaces and bracelets are ropes of stones that are meant to be layered and worn every day.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: One of the most iconic pieces I’ve designed is the Triple Ruched Ribbon ring, which consists of dozens of hand-cut tapered baguettes that crisscross the finger in 20k rose gold like a ribbon. They’re set in a stone plissé technique that I developed to mimic the undulating movement of ruched fabric. The most important thing I’ve co-designed is our home. Walter [my husband] and I gutted and remade our home in Travis Heights in Austin. We love the way it turned out and the pandemic has made us appreciate it even more. We call it the Treehouse as it’s perched on a hill up amongst centuries-old live oak trees that completely envelop the property. We’re five minutes from downtown Austin but it feels like we’re in the middle of the Texas hill country. It’s magical.
Describe the problem your work solves: It solves the problem (or at least it is my intention) of too much sameness. I try to manifest beauty and intellect in my work and eschew complacency and the mundane. I don’t always accomplish this but it’s what drives me.
Describe the project you are working on now: I recently launched a new diffusion jewelry brand called Nakard. The challenge for me was to develop unique and modern silhouettes using repetitive and geometric shapes that have movement and are wearable. But it also had to be luxe with the same craftsmanship as our signature line, Nak Armstrong. I’m currently developing new designs for Nakard including a series of mobile-like earrings that are aset with gemstones and fully enameled. They’re a mix between a mid-century vibe and Frida Kahlo and are due to launch in late September.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: The opening of our first flagship store to house the world of Nak Armstrong. The store’s design was inspired by my travels and is a mixture of mid-century Milanese brutalism and Austin’s laid-back culture. All collections within the Nak Armstrong and Nakard brands will be under one roof. Opening on Nov. 15, it’s located in Austin’s Soco district as part of a new Soho House Hotel project.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Georgie, our Italian greyhound, sleeps under my design desk at work every day and keeps me centered. Moody instrumental music inspires me. I can’t have food at work or I won’t stop eating. A 20-foot wall in my studio is covered with sketches, inspiration images, color swatches, pinnings of things that are part of my design process. Currently pinned to my design wall are items related to the design and curation of the store, sketches of the latest pieces for Nakard and Nak Armstrong, and a full product layout of the display cases for the new flagship.
What you do when you’re not working: Lately, due to the pandemic, there’s been a lot of road tripping, hiking, and walking of Georgie. My husband and I are vegans so we cook a lot and love to binge on a good Netflix european noir drama series. We have a stationary bike at home for our virtual spin classes and do morning yoga. But I never stop designing, even when not working directly on the collection, and recently we’ve begun designing an addition to our home.
Sources of creative envy: Iris Van Herpen, a genius on so many levels. Her design and engineering abilities are unmatched in any design field. She creates living, breathing art.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Demagogues and their divisive politics.
Concrete or marble? Concrete.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Dark.