Have you noticed that in Austin everyone and their dog thinks they can be a jewelry designer? I do love the "do it yourself" attitude that the people of this town have. However, I feel like everywhere I turn these days someone is trying to pull off their basement made arts and crafts projects as wearable art. Okay, some can actually succeed at this. Some can't. When the participating designers in Austin Fashion Week were announced, I scoured the list of jewelry designers to find some designs that stood out above the "basement crafters" and the "pretty, but seen it befores."
I succeeded when I came across "ax + apple." Jamie Lyn is the designer behind this classic jewelry with a modern edge. Originally moving from South Florida, Jamie has since lived in 7 different cities. Growing restless in her surroundings easily, Jamie eventually found her way to Austin. She calls Austin "my kind of town" and says she feels lucky to call it home. And lucky for us, Jamie says she will be sticking around for awhile.
I did a little Q&A session with Jamie to find out more about her interesting jewelry:
It took me years to hone in on jewelry. I studied fibers and fabrics, ceramics, and specialized in photography in college. And while I was well received in these outlets, I was still restless and often found myself feeling creatively stagnant. I had to push too hard. It wasn't until years after I graduated that I started dabbling in jewelry making. I started teaching myself basic techniques and fell in love with metal. I love the sound it makes, I love watching it melt and oxidize... I love all the tools and the fire and the endless possibilities, and I love that when you finish a piece you get to put it on and keep it with you. I am constantly buzzing with ideas... which made me realize this was my match.
I was working in film for a few years as a props master, and the production designer I often worked with picked me up a bag of old coins at a flea market he went to one day on a buying mission for the film we were working on. I drilled holes in a few, threw them on some old chain and wore them for months. I love the sound of coins clanking together. I still use lots of them in my designs today.
What or who provides the most inspiration for your jewelry?
I draw inspiration from all around me. Right now I am super inspired by traditional Native American jewelry (I am working on a series of necklaces inspired by Native American breastplates). I have always been very drawn to the desert and southwestern style.
I try to focus on my immediate surroundings as much as possible and not too much on magazines or what other designers in other regions are doing. Nature, bridges, buildings, art, so on... This way my art is like a journal: a true extension of what is going on inside me. I can always recall where I was living and a sense of what I was feeling at that time by looking back on work from when I was there.
What type of materials do you use and where do they come from?
I am big on high quality rare vintage findings (no hollow back brass charms here) and coins... I love coins. I also use a lot of natural elements such as crystals and fossils. I am always on the look out for new materials to incorporate in my work. Sometimes I find them in a store or at a trade show, sometimes I find them in a forest or on a riverbed. Life's like one big scavenger hunt to me. You never know what you're gonna stumble upon... so I always have my eyes peeled...
Describe the type of woman you design for.
She is mysterious. She is edgy. She is magical. And she's a rock+roller to the death.
My favorite necklace from the Fall Collection is the Aurora. I love the metal fringe and the subtle gradient in the metal from hand oxidation. And of course, I love the sound it makes... like a windchime.
Where did the name ax + apple come from?
When I was working more as a multi media artist, I always used axes and apples in my work. They were 2 objects I was inexplicably drawn to using. When it came time to name the company I called upon my best friend to help me brainstorm names and she immediately brought that up. As time has gone the symbols have taken on greater meaning to me. I see the ax as the destroyer, the hunter, the father. While I see the apple as the creator, the gatherer, the mother. Death and life. My own personal yin and yang.
What are you most looking forward to about Austin Fashion Week?
Everything!! I can't wait to see my design on the runway. That will be a first for me. And I am so excited about meeting people and becoming more integrated in the fashion community here. And Tiffany! "I Think We're Alone Now" wHaT!!!!
Jamie Lyn will be participating in the Austin Fashion Week Kick Off Event at GSD&M Idea City and will also be showing ax+apple at a show for the clothing designer, Sabra Johnson. In addition to this, she is throwing a party with Estilo in the 2nd street shopping district on the 19th of August.
And, as always, you can find ax+apple at Feather's and Kick Pleat (two amazing local boutiques.)
keep austin stylish