Chatting With Jewelry Designer Pamela Love About Her "Summer of Love" Presentation

Michel Serruya

For Pamela Love’s "Summer of Love" presentation at Milk Studios, a four-tent installation was build to showcase the hit jeweler’s latest collection. In the tents, signature pieces blended with new creations in well-arranged sets adorned with candles, branches and dream-catchers. The gritty environment reflected the distinctive moods of Pamela’s Spring/Summer 2010 line. We saw copper human heart lockets, crystal resin cross pendants, tarot card rings, ruby wheel necklaces, all elements that constitute Pamela Love’s earthy, eclectic look. We had the pleasure of meeting her right before her big event.

The room looks great! I heard this installation was built in your backyard, is that true?
Yes, we build it in my backyard in Brooklyn and we moved it here yesterday. I haven’t really had a house in a while. It basically looked like a wood shop. So that’s been the situation lately.

There’s a rough and gritty element to your jewelry but at the same time it’s soft and fragile. How do you find that balance?
I feel like it’s about size and volume of the pieces but mixed with intricate details. I’m very much concerned with color of the metal, the depths of the finishes. That’s really important to me.

You line features a lot of bones, claws and snakes. Nature obviously plays a huge role in your work. How do you think it translates in the city?
I think people want something like that in the city. I feel like we live in a place where we don’t even see trees half the time. It’s nice to have something that reminds you of what else there is out there.

You recently collaborated with Spike Jonze and Opening Ceremony on a Where The Wild Things Are inspired collection. How did that come to be?
I work a lot with Opening Ceremony and they are one of my largest retailers. They contacted me about the collaboration: they are doing the clothing. It’s amazing! You’ll see it in October when the movie comes out.

How does the creative process differ when you work with a designer like Zac Posen or Frank Tell as opposed to when you conceptualize your own line?
It depends on the designer. Frank Tell used pieces from my collection and adapted them for his clothes whereas someone like Zac comes with an idea and then you work to make that a reality. It’s important to add your own sensibility to it while listening to what they want.

Let’s talk about your new line. It’s folksy, rustic and Native American inspired. What are your favorite pieces?
My favorite pieces are the Arrowhead Rings, which I’ve been wearing all this time, and the Heishi Bead Bracelet that’s from last season. We decided to revisit it and make it sort of modular jewelry –- where you start with the bracelet, two bracelets become a choker, four bracelets become a longer necklace and six bracelets, a belt. We created all these different pieces. We also made a whole sleeve one, which we didn’t finish for the show.

Part of the presentation is your collaboration with Derrick R. Cruz form Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons. How was it to collaborate with another jewelry maker?
Well, that’s different because he is one of my favorite designers. I really wanted to incorporate scrimshaw into my work but I didn’t want to do it myself. I figured it would be a lot more exciting to work with somebody who’s known for it. He suggested that we’d do scrimshaw talons on my signature talon cuffs, so he built little mammoth ivory talons and we numbered them with scrimshaw one though seven. I think we have five of them here. We didn’t quite finish them in time but we plan to put diamonds and engraving inside.

Imagine you are a new jewelry designer just getting started. How do you get people to see your work?
I have no idea! [laughs] I think the most important thing is to learn as much as you can about making jewelry, which is not how I started. I was sort of a novice and so therefore even now when we design a new collection sometimes I run onto things I don’t know how to do. I have to learn as I’m going along. The best thing to do is to learn as much as you can and make the strongest collection possible. The exposure will then probably come pretty naturally.

How’s your band doing?
We had a really big flood in my basement last night because when we tried to move the installation out, we hit a pipe and it broke. All of our musical equipment was under a foot of water. But we’re good!


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