Jewelry designer Pamela Love on mysticism as inspiration and her dream client, Neil Young
NYC-based jewelry designer Pamela Love didn't start out in the accessory business -- her background is in film, and she got work as a stylist for photo and video shoots. But when she found that other artists' works didn't embody her own unique sense of style, Love went off on her her own, designing jewelry out of her home in Brooklyn.
Since this move into the design world in 2009, Love has created jewelry for HBO's True Blood, collaborated with the likes of Topshop, Zac Posen and Spike Jonez, and overseen an apparel line for J. Crew. In advance of her trunk show this Saturday, June 30, at Goldyn, 2040 West 30th Avenue, the artist spoke with Westword about her work and the inspiration of the Southwest and religious ceremonies.
Westword: You use a lot of pronounced symbolism in your jewelry -- triangles, feathers, crystals. Wwhere does that come from and how does it play into your design?
Pamela Love: I've always been interested in magic and ritual and the study of ancient symbolism. I'm also extremely interested in the Southwest -- imagery from Native American culture and South American culture. I think a lot of that is repeated throughout my work. I find I'm interested in the exploration of religion in jewelry, and how so much of religious imagery is utilized in jewelry, and how it is a part of religious customs and ceremony. Whether it be a wedding or a rosary, I think there is a huge part of religion and spirituality that is connected to jewelry, and vice versa. To me, though jewelry is an accessory, it is something more -- something culturally significant.
You started designing jewelry out of your apartment in Brooklyn in 2006, and showing in 2009. Was there a point at which you remember things feeling like they were getting big?
There were so many moments. I think, the first time I was written up in the New York Times was a big deal for me. It brought us a lot of attention from more customers and stores. Having a page in the Sunday Style section was a really big deal for me.
It's funny; it's never as huge of a deal as it is that first time. I don't know if it seemed like it was a big deal because it was all new to me, so maybe it felt crazier than it was? It was very exciting.
You've collaborated quite a bit since you began -- with fashion designers, filmmakers and international brands. How do you approach these joint working situations?
It depends on the project. It's a combination of my brand's identity and someone else's brand's identity. It's about finding a clever way to make it work and sometimes it's easier than other times. When I'm working with a runway designer, it's about their vision and what how they imagine (my work) supporting their clothing, and using my aesthetic and sensibility to create that work. When it's something like Topshop, it's about me taking my ideas and making them accessible to larger audiences.
With J. Crew, it wasn't jewelry -- it was jackets and jeans and belts. I just wanted to have a project that would appeal to a larger audience but that wasn't jewelry. I didn't want to water down my jewelry by creating lower price-point work, I just wanted to create something else that embodies my brand.
Do you have plans to design clothing in the future?
I don't think that I would design apparel -- I like apparel, and it's fun to collaborate on projects with clothing designers. But I don't think I would ever want to do it, independently. I don't think I have the knowledge or the talent in that area. I think my area is really adornment and jewelry and that is what I know. If I were to do clothing, it's usually in collaboration where I apply my ideas of hardware or adornment to the clothing.