Handmade Profiles: Handmade Jewelry by Laura Jaklitsch
What do you get when you take an incredible eye for color, a love for using recycled materials and wrap them up into an exciting collection of modern handmade jewelry? You’re looking at it: Laura Jaklitsch’s brilliant handmade creations. I’ve been a fan of Laura’s work for a while and it’s my pleasure to introduce her unique creations to you. Get to know this talented maker and designer below and then hop over to her Maker Member page to check out a curated collection of her incredible inlayed masterpieces.
When I was in school earning my BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing, I started to experiment with materials in an “Alternative Materials” class. I wanted to find a way to combine natural and manmade materials seamlessly, so I experimented in the studio to develop my signature wood and polyurethane inlay technique. I am always observing the structural details in both the mandmade and natural worlds around me so the bold graphic lines in my work have a very architectural feel.
Describe your creative process. Where do you start?
Because my work is process oriented, I draw inspiration from the materials themselves. I often use the figuring in the wood as a jumping off point. The color palette evolves organically as I am making each piece, often to represent a landscape, place, or feeling. Each color I add can change the composition and feel of the piece dramatically so the wood and polyurethane blocks are constantly in flux as I am working on them. It is a very painterly, gestural process. When the blocks are finished, I cut them into shapes and then make the sterling silver findings for the jewelry. I do some sketching, but mostly I hold the pieces up to my body in the mirror to figure out what they will be (ring, necklace, etc.) I make several iterations of the findings before deciding what works best with the piece.
ABOUT LAURA JAKLITSCH JEWELRY
With an appreciation for modern design and a dedication to craftsmanship, Laura Jaklitsch fabricates each piece by hand in her Somerville, MA studio. Using her signature inlay technique, Laura experiments with material, color, and form to make jewelry that is fresh, contemporary, and bold. She lets the process direct the work, while making deliberate color and composition choices. Laura uses recycled metals and repurposed wood wherever possible to maximize sustainability.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura holds a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the 2016 recipient of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s LEAP Award.
How do you maintain your creative drive?
I keep showing up and never stop making work. Although it sounds very simple, I think that is half the battle. Also getting enough sleep, exercising, and allowing for some downtime. Allowing time for your mind to wander is very important for creative work.
What materials do you love to use?
Wood, polyurethane, and Sterling Silver. And gold when I get the chance! The wood I use is sourced from other makers, or industrial cut-offs from companies that use sustainable forestry practices.
Every product has a story. Is there a story behind one of your pieces that stands out to you?
Color has a really strong narrative quality so a lot of times people will feel like a piece has “their colors” or was made just for them, which I think is really neat. I am also love that woodworkers and makers I have met doing craft shows send me their cut-offs and scraps; it connects my work to a larger community of makers that I am grateful to be a part of.
Do you have a dream collaborator?
I would love to collaborate with a furniture maker or work with a design company to design lighting, textiles, or other objects for the home.
What are some of the challenges that you face as a handmade jewelry designer?
My work is very labor intensive so balancing the making with everything else involved in running a business can be really difficult. Also constantly having to adapt and pivot. In the current economic landscape makers must be as creative in the way they run their businesses as they are in their work.
How do you use social media and blogging to promote your work?
I am primarily on Instagram because I think the platform really lends itself to visual arts, and I love the community. I have met so many people in person through Instagram! I work by myself in my studio most of the time so being able to share what I am working on in real time and being able to connect with people who are interested in my work is really great. I have just recently started blogging, so I am excited to share some behind-the-scenes aspects of my work.
I am primarily on Instagram because I think the platform really lends itself to visual arts, and I love the community. I have met so many people in person through Instagram! I work by myself in my studio most of the time so being able to share what I am working on in real time and being able to connect with people who are interested in my work is really great. I have just recently started blogging, so I am excited to share some behind-the-scenes aspects of my work. – Laura Jaklitsch, about Instagram
Where do you see your shop/project going?
I would like to share my creative vision and point of view with a larger audience. I am also working on scaling up the size of my work to make larger pieces.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am making new work for my first West Coast show in August, and filling orders for galleries.