San Francisco designer Alice Roche is known for architecturally-inspired Sterling Silver jewelry. This season, the California-based designer has a new look for her collection, think 14kt gold.
Rebecca Mir Grady: When did you start your jewelry line? What lead you to jewelry making?
Alice Roche: Almost ten years ago- at the time I was working as an architect and really missing the physical act of making things. Jewelry was the counter to that. I didn’t intend to become a jewelry designer but eventually I had a real business on my hands.
For many years I did both architecture and ran my business on the side. In 2008, I left my architecture job and was so happy to focus on jewelry full time.
RMG: How did your background in architecture inform your work?
AR: I think my style has stayed consistent to the way I designed when I was doing architecture, but more importantly, I think the practice of architecture instills discipline and integrity- that has carried over and I bring that to the way I work.
RMG: Do you have any favorite structures that you look to for inspiration?
AR: My father is an architect, so I grew up looking at and learning about buildings. I have a small arsenal of favorites, but I am fortunate to live near a gem of a building, which also happens to be designed by my dad- the Oakland Museum.
It is a beautiful example of the coexistence of built structure and landscape.
My design process is informed by this idea of integrating controlled form with more organic contours. I’m not sure I am always aware of this while I am working, but when I look at my jewelry as a whole, I definitely see it.
RMG: How did you get exposure for your line early on?
AR: I was really lucky to get picked up by some good stores in the Bay Area. One of the first places I sold to was the SFMoMA- they were so supportive and it was a huge boost for my brand.
RMG: What lessons have you learned over the years? Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
AR: It’s probably the same advice no matter what you are doing. Stay focused and stay true to yourself.
RMG: I heard that you live near Point Reyes - it’s so beautiful out there.
AR: I don’t live in Pt. Reyes, but I do love to spend time there. Getting out of the city is important to me. It’s great to be in the wilderness, but I also love to see how built structures interact with open landscape.
RMG: What are you working on right now?
AR: I am working on a higher end line- more gold and stones. It’s been really fun and challenging too!
RMG: Do you have a favorite material to work with? Favorite tool in the studio?
AR: That’s a hard one. I really love the process of carving wax (for lost wax casting). But you could also give me some silver and a torch and I’d be happy for days!
All photos courtesy of Alice Roche Jewelry.
“R&Design" is a monthly interview series that features jewelry designer Rebecca Mir Grady, who launched a debut jewelry collection under her eponymous label in 2013, in conversation with new and established designers. The monthly guest column is a platform for the exchange of ideas, advice, and fashion-focused research and development strategies. This post first appeared on Past Fashion Future.com