Thursday, September 29, 2011

Egypt Noir - Behind The Scenes of Making a Line

People often ask us about our creative process, how do two women living in different cities create such cohesive and unique lines of jewelry? We're usually so on the go from one project to the next that we barely take time to acknowledge that we've even launched a new line! So, we've decided to smell some roses and explain what goes in to making our lines of jewelry.

We start by choosing a theme, one that truly inspires us, one that keeps us up at night as the wheels turn in our brains and we're haunted by jewelry designs so much we can't sleep. Without a good theme we can really get behind, the creative juices are, well, nonexistent. The themes seem to just come to us, as if they suddenly perch themselves on the branches of our sub conscience and sing their creative songs. For our Spaghetti Western Sunset line, I was inspired by the colors of the sunset, the silly old Italian western movies themselves (don't even think we didn't watch a few for research) and all things Cowboy and Indian. From there, the line just seemed to flow out of both of us. For Egypt Noir, Katie was inspired by a piece of family furniture, a vintage mirrored shelf that features intricate Egyptian inspired details, namely the image of Horus, the Falcon God, with his wings spread wide across the top of the shelf, as if protecting all the intricate pretty things someone would place inside of it. When Katie asked me what I thought of using Egypt as our next theme, the ideas started to flow and we knew we were on to something great.

Given the fact that Egypt is one of the oldest and most well known civilizations of all time, we knew we had our work cut our for us. We wanted to capture the essence of Egypt without being too literal and knew we needed to give it our own perspective. We wanted our line to stand out and to say something. As our brains mulled over this concept, we knew we had given ourselves our best challenge yet. We needed research! We spent hours online skimming through images of ancient Egyptian art and architecture and reading about the culture. We even visited the Egyptian exhibits at the art museums in our respective cities to see some ancient artifacts in person. Katie spent a morning at the St. Louis Art Museum and I spent an afternoon at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. After extensive research, we found our muse, Cleopatra. We wanted to capture the essence of a modern day Cleopatra, in all her glory, and imagine what type of jewelry would be fit for such a queen.

She is sexy, brilliantly intelligent, untouchable. She is sultry and soft but powerful and commanding. She is independent, strong and different.

Meet our model, Joi, she is Cleopatra incarnate.

When we were designing this line, we watched "
Cleopatra" together. We knew that Elizabeth Taylor would help inspire us.
This is an image of Cleopatra that inspired our necklace, Cleo Cameo. We liked the side view and the feather headdress.
We used to hand saw all the metal for our jewelry but in order to grow, we began outsourcing to local laser and waterjet cutting companies. We hand draw all our designs and have them turned into digital files. The machine then cuts our metal by reading the digital files. We wanted to create a modern day Cleopatra cameo and wanted something different. The frame is designed to have an art nouveau aesthetic and the stainless steel Cleopatra is pinned to the frame.
The finished product is really unique. Cleopatra is very detailed and intricate and the frame adds further to the elegance of this piece. We chose a green amethyst briolette to finish the look.
The image of King Tut's sarcophagus is one of the most famous images of all time. We wanted to create a necklace using its essence but didn't want it to be too literal. It was a challenge but the Tut's Treasure necklace turned out better than we could have hoped for.
Tut's Treasure is made from brass to mimic the gold of the sarcophagus. The use of green onyx, lapis lazuli, angelite and coral mimic the colors of the stones on the sarcophagus as well.
It is impossible to think about Egypt and not think about the Great Pyramids of Giza. I wanted to create a fun necklace utilizing their image, something big and bold and almost silly.
I drew the pyramids inside a circle, with everything connecting to create the top piece.
The bottom piece is made from brass to look reminiscent of the desert sand.
The necklace is 27 inches long and doesn't require a clasp.
Pyramid Scape is fit for a queen!
The lotus flower was a huge inspiration to the ancient Egyptians and it is depicted often in their art. The Egyptians saw the lotus flower as a symbol of rebirth. It closes at night and sinks underwater, then re-emerges and blooms again in the morning . Thus the flower became a natural symbol of creation and the sun. We were inspired by the lotus flower as well and used its image in many of our pieces

The lotus comes in blue, white and pink. This Layered Lotus Necklace reflects those colors with hand dyed wood and stainless steel.
The lotus flowers depicted in Ancient Egyptian art were the inspiration for many of our pieces. These appear to have an art nouveau aesthetic, which, of course, spoke to us.
You can see the correlation between our drawings and the Egyptian painting.

We were inspired by the Egyptian falcon god Horus, who was known as God of the Sky, War and Protection. Horus was the sky, and the Egyptians believed that the sun was his right eye and the moon his left, and that they crossed the sky when he flew. The speckled feathers of his breast were the stars and his wings created the wind.

This brass image of horus became the Desert Falcon necklace and earrings which are quickly becoming two of the most popular items from this line.
The use of aluminum chain makes these earrings very light weight. They are so much fun to wear and definitely make a statement.
The Desert Falcon Necklace is stunning! It's made with layers of brass and aluminum chain that are etched to reveal their bright and shiny insides.

We focus on creating at least one new line a year but usually put out two. We really thrive off this creative process and it's so much fun to see our hand drawings come to life. We have a few ideas on the back burner but our themes are top secret until the line is ready to launch. You'll have to stay tuned in to see what Scarlett Garnet creates next!

I've enjoyed taking time to explain how Katie and I create our jewelry. We hope you enjoy reading about our creative process.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Three cheers for this stunning line! Dynamic, fresh and modern. *waves pom-poms*