Describe your work for me.
I am a jewelry designer and metal smith, proprietress of Honey Tribe Jewelry, www.honeytribejewelry.com. The way I design is very fluid. I don’t have rigid ideas of what will be produced. I let ideas flow out of me, and materials inspire me. I let myself be stirred by music or anything that touches my senses and I leave my work open to the spontaneity of the mood. It’s certainly not a free for all design fest, but I wind up adding unexpected details and I keep things fresh, and evolving. I rarely make the same thing twice and for me, that’s a really refreshing thing that keeps me coming back to my bench every day. I make pieces that are meant to be worn by people every day. Each is individually crafted and has a mood all its own that speaks directly to the person it belongs to. They are made to empower and illuminate each individual’s beauty.
Jewelry is such an intimate thing because it is worn on the skin. I think of it as beyond simple adornment, but also a spiritual token. I get a lot of custom orders and thus many of the pieces I make are more like talismans or amulets, they carry with them the folklore of the stones they are made of and the symbolism of the pieces I put together. A circle is a circle, yes, but perhaps a cycle, and a halo, and protection as well. The three chains on a layered necklace may represent past, present and future. Even the amount of stones I use sometimes has a special meaning. I use color, texture, metal forming techniques and stones to get a specific mood across.
Talk about the creative process and what role music plays for you.
So much of the preparation to work, for me, is about mood- my surroundings, the art on the walls, the music playing, the lighting, the colors around me. It’s all about the cultivation of mood. And jewelry itself, the purpose of it, for me, is just that, as well. To incite a mood in the wearer that makes him or her feel beautiful and empowered. Beauty and mood beget beauty and mood.
I set the tone of the workspace with music. Good tunes are a must for a productive work day. I usually choose something that is reflective of the pieces that I’m making. For example, if I am hammering big bronze cuffs and need to cultivate some strength, I want high energy music with a good beat to smack that hammer to! Maybe Jane’s Addiction or Florence and the Machine. If I am making a soulful necklace to commemorate a lost loved one, I will put on music that is more ethereal and reflective, such as Lhasa de Sela, Zero 7 or Jose Gonzales. A sultry gift that will lay against the skin of someone’s beloved might be best inspired by some Erykah Badu, Iron and Wine or Lykke Li.
How do you get inspired?
I work in a little studio in my home that is plastered with art that inspires and grounds me. I love naturally scented candles and warm lighting in my workspace. I also tend to drag my equipment outside on a lovely day and work in the sun, all of my senses immersed in gorgeous Maine nature. When I am surrounded by beauty, I feel I produce work that emits more beauty.
What is the inspiration behind your jewelry?
The basic inspiration for my work is people. I love people. I want to incite joy, empowerment and a sense of inner beauty in everyone that sees and wears my work. Like a favorite song you want to hear over and over, I want them to look at that piece I made for them and always reach for it. I am inspired by primitive beauty and handmade tools…things you’d find in an archaeological dig or an old attic. Pieces with mystery that inspire story telling. I love things that display a quality of being hand made. I am drawn to organic shapes and textures; metals that unabashedly wear their age in rich warm patinas; stones with deep natural hues as well as ones with an airy vacancy to them…I especially love stones with inclusions that convey a unique character. I am also drawn to the folklore behind stones, gems and metals and he powers that humans attribute to them. I love moss green and turquoise, red and orange.
Which artists/bands inspire you?
For my studio listening I am usually drawn to music that is raw and invokes emotion. My tastes in music varies hugely! Some of my staples are Beth Orton, Iron and Wine, Mark Lanegan, First Aid Kit, Sia, Lykke Li, Feist, Billie Holiday, Radiohead, Nina Simone, Lhasa de Sela, Jane’s addiction, Cybelle, Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. I am constantly on the look out for new inspirational music. I just recently discovered Valerie June and am loving her raw modern funky folk sounds! I am a total sucker for weeping strings and cowbells.
Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, PhD is the author of "Sing Us a Song, Piano Woman: Female Fans and the Music of Tori Amos." She has spoken about pop culture and gender on NPR-WGVU, in the Orlando Sentinal and on blogs such as Feministing and The Survivor's Manual. Adrienne lives in Orlando, FL with her husband and two extremely cute dogs. www.adriennetrier-bieniek.com