Elle traces her initial fascination with jewelry to a childhood spent poring over ancient adornments with her archaeologist father. Years of supplying antique and vintage jewelry to the film industry (and amassing her own collection) inspired her to start designing and creating her own pieces. As her technical skills grew, her aesthetic evolved. Today, Elle's collection focuses on "Power Pieces" that fuse her interest in ancient cultures, belief systems and philosophies with her reverence for nature.
A lot of people begin their fascination with jewelry by playing with their mother's jewelry. My father was an archeologist, so I began by playing with my father's artifacts and adornments. We take for granted the lack of tools these ancient cultures had at their disposal and I still marvel over the quality of work people were able to create 1,000 years ago. In my 20s and 30s I spent several years working with antiquities and eventually found a niche supplying vintage and antique pieces for use as props in film and television. The travel and constant search for specific pieces allowed me to indulge in my own passion for collecting antique jewelry. In 2008, I realized I wasn't as enamored with simply buying and selling; I wanted to create the pieces I wanted for myself but could not find in my travels. I started by taking a bezel making class locally, and now I travel to Penland School every year to increase my skill set.
I am fortunate to make this my full-time career. Everything from design, creation and production to marketing is handled by me. It's a lot to navigate, but when your vision is specific it's difficult to allow for outside help. I am in several galleries around the U.S. and online, and I do a handful of trunk shows every year to meet new customers who may not be familiar with my work. My work speaks to people with an affinity for nature and an attraction to the uncommon beauty that can be found there.
Initially my work in 2008 was focused on rings and pendants with large rough stones set in simple bezels. This work had a more modernist look and feel. As I spent more time learning lost wax and casting, the look and feel has shifted entirely to organic elements with an aesthetic that speaks directly to the more mysterious elements of nature. The first piece incorporating snakes was the double cuff bracelet in 2010, so the solidification of a darker aesthetic happened relatively early on.
Time management! In a perfect world, I could spend all my time on creation of work. The reality is that many of us working solo do the work of an entire team of specialists, and the learning curve is steep. Getting my work in front of more gallery owners and serious retail store owners is very time consuming, and I wish I could spend more time focusing on that. Filing design copyrights is time consuming but critical in a world of re-sharing. The misconception that “if it's on the internet, a design is free to use” demands that you take the time to file design copyright on unique work. It's simply a matter of blocking off specific times each day for left brain/right brain tasks and staying on top of it. Once I stopped trying to switch back and forth between the business side and creative aspects several times a day, the myriad tasks became easier to manage.
I'm completely in love with my Dura-BULL Digital Wax Injector. I chose the hand pump specifically for the ability to skip the need for an air compressor. It allows me to try out new ideas more quickly than if I were relying on outside production to create waxes and cast them because I'm not restricted by someone else's turnaround times.
Being invited to participate in gallery shows has been the biggest thrill. The opportunity to create pieces within a defined show theme allows for a different kind of creative freedom than when I am creating production pieces for my line/website.
The internet is my favorite marketplace, I'm able to reach the people who resonate most with my work, at any hour of the day or night. I love doing in-person shows and meeting people face to face, but online is absolutely where it's at for me. Instagram has been a real benefit. My account, @chaseandscoutjewelry, just exceeded 11k followers, which I see as a milestone worth celebrating.
Organic objects fascinate me, and I find all the design perfection I could ask for within nature. Paired with an interest in ancient cultures, belief systems, and philosophies, my primary is goal is to create power pieces to be used as personal totems or amulets that will resonate and speak directly to the individual wearer. Snakes have always been extremely attractive to me as a design element; their fluidity of movement and the symbolic associations of rebirth, renewal and change speak to me.
Currently my favorite pieces are the Snake Skeleton collar necklaces; I can see how far I've come from my initial work. The skeleton collars were something that I had envisioned early on but I didn't try until I was included in a show at Stone Sparrow Gallery in NYC. The owner, fellow jeweler Marina Eliasi, said “I love your work, make your heart's desire.” It took several months to perfect the first collar, and I was thrilled with the result.
It is such a wonderful thing to have a dedicated rep to contact with orders or questions; it streamlines the process and makes it a little more personalized. My rep at Rio has put me in touch with the tech department to go over questions I've had on tools and has even offered to set me up with an in-person tour of Rio, which I plan on taking her up on in the spring!
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