ARTIST INTERVIEW: Kristen Elspeth

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Echo Park based jewelry designer Kristen Levy got her first taste of design while learning Native American beadwork at the age of 10. Exploring the jewelry boxes of her mother and grandmother, she would rework broken jewelry into pieces for herself. This passion carried through into adulthood where she began designing jewelry out of found and forgotten materials. Mostly self-taught, she eventually evolved into making fine jewelry. Her current collection, Kristen Elspeth, launched in 2005. Kristen’s designs embody simplicity and elegance, allowing focus on the natural beauty of the person wearing them. She lives in Echo Park in Los Angeles with her fiancé David and their miniature dachshund Ira. We spoke to Kristen about her work and creative process.

 

What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
I used to play with my mother’s and grandmother’s jewelry and re-work it into new things for myself. I took a few classes, but mostly I’m self taught.

 

Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
California is a wondrous natural landscape, from the ocean, to the deserts, the mountains, and forests. I tend to lean toward accentuating natural beauty as opposed to creating objects. Living in a place where so much beautiful natural landscape is easily accessible, and immediately visible, influences my desire to enhance what is already there. Southern California has a distinctive light and a lot of my work plays on reflecting that light. Whether it’s a simple arc shape, something with dimension, or a naturally faceted stone, each piece captures a bit of the California sun.

 

What are your top 3 studio essentials?
Music, natural light, and a little patch of sunshine for my miniature dachshund Ira to bask in.

 

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