ATPB: How did you begin as a jewelry designer?
LR: I always made a lot of things, of all sorts including jewelry, so I went to F.I.T. to learn how to create jewelry in metal because I was interested in making things that last.
ATPB: Do you also make the jewelry that you design?
LR: I make all of the original pieces and I work with goldsmiths for production.
ATPB: Where do you find your inspiration?
LR: It usually starts with something I’m reading that triggers an idea, which stays with me and then takes on a visual form in my head.
ATPB: I think I recognised some of the motifs/patterns of your jewellery translated to decorative hangings on the walls of your apartment. Do you consider your work art? Do you consider yourself an artist?
LR: Absolutely. I make jewelry to express the ideas I’m working through- about the relationship of human beings to the natural world and to time, and the relationship of a person’s inner existence to the external world- and I express it through jewelry because of its permanent nature. I also love the process involved in crafting it – the hours spent making a piece help me refine my idea and its technical expression.
ATPB: Do you have any favourite jewelry designers who inspire your work directly or indirectly.
LR: Definitely- Jean Vendome, René Boivin, Art Smith, Margaret De Patta, and Suzanne Belperron were incredible innovators and artists in the field of jewelry who managed to express themselves and the spirit of their time.
ATPB: What’s your design process?
LR: I get deep into an idea or usually a combination of ideas I want to bring together, transform them into a visual idea, draw it, experiment with 3D models of it, and then fabricate it in metal or wax for casting in metal, sometimes repeating the fabrication a few times before I’m satisfied.
ATPB: Do you have a muse?
LR: Not one in particular, but I have a bad habit of mentally inventing jewelry for the people I’m talking to.
ATPB: What has been the most positive part about starting your jewellery line? What has been the most frustrating? How did you react to both experiences.
LR: I find it deeply satisfying to make things and have people wear them and even treasure them. I could cry tears of joy when I see someone wearing my work- it’s almost too much. The commercial reality of running a business is a dreadful chore I push myself through because I know the reward is making more jewelry.
ATPB: Would you ever do a collaboration with a designer or architect? Who would it be?
LR: Of course, it’s great to work in different contexts and I’ve done some really interesting collaborations in the past. I’m really interested now in collaborating with some of the fashion brands based in Italy that are willing to take more artistic directions with jewelry, like Vionnet, Missoni, and Ferré.
ATPB: Tell us about the pieces that you wore during our shoot? What’s the inspiration behind those pieces?
LR: They are all from the Echo collection, where I reduced the shapes and patterns found in nature to their most fundamental forms to create the impression of nature’s beauty expressed through a very purified geometry.
Name: Laura Rysman
Occupation: Jewelry designer, creative and trend forecaster, writer
Passions: Contemporary art, cultural history, spacey instrumental music, making things, feminist critiques, nerding out, riding my bike, and this crazy place called Italy, plus of course totally obsessed with jewelry jewelry jewelry!
Current Town: Milan
Cities that you have lived in: New York and Paris
Favorite place to shop in those cities:
Paris: Chine Machine for amazing vintage pieces, and Merci, le 66, and L’Eclaireur
New York: Assembly, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Bird, and, of course, Opening Ceremony
Favorite place to dine in those cities:
Paris has the best bakeries in the world, and the best of the best is Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes. Some places I love just because they’re so ultimately Parisian- Le Progrès, Au Petit Fer à Cheval, Bofinger, Le Temps des Cerises which has live music- usually some lone chanson singer, and Le Tambour for late night dining. Plus there are so many amazing chefs working in Paris at places like KGB, Le Pre Verre, and Frenchie.
New York has endless restaurants and always too many new places to keep track of, but I love the international stuff I can’t get in Milan- Betel is a beautiful place with Vietnamese and other Asian cuisine, Mayahuel has amazing Mexican food as do some of the cheap, fluorescent-lit places in Bushwick, and for food that reminds me of my grandparents, I love the kooky Russian Vodka Room and Russ & Daughters.
Milan has some great spots as well- Pont du Fer, Erba Brusca, and Ex Mauri do exciting things with Italian cuisine, and for traditional style food, I love Controvapore and Taverna Moriggi.
What do you do to get your day started: Cappuccino and water, catch up on email, news, etc., then some stretching and a shower.
Tell us about your lovely kitchen and all of the yummy experiments that you have going on (please feel free to talk about your rock star husband the chef, you lucky girl): My husband, Pontus, is a musician and a chef. The chef part means that cooking is very important at our place, so he put in a professional style kitchen and we always have a ton of experiments going on. Currently we have sour dough starters, which require as much maintenance as a pet, but they make fantastic bread. We’re also trying different vodka infusions- caraway seeds, beets, carrots, horseradish, tea- all kinds of stuff.
What’s your beauty routine: Once a week, I do a facial at home and a full body scrub with salt, peppermint, and olive oil- that feels great!
Skin: I use rosewater, my own blend of oils, and Weleda Skin Food.
Where do you cut your hair: I cut it myself
Nails and other personal grooming: I do everything myself and go to the thermal baths when I can.
Where do you shop in Milan: I prefer hunting at flea markets to shopping in stores- it requires a little more creative energy and the markets in Italy are incredible, filled with such beautiful, well-made, and wild stuff. I also like Wok, Frav, and Excelsior for contemporary stuff.
Describe your style: I just put on what makes me happy or looks interesting to me, which means I’m usually dressed inappropriately for wherever I’m going.
What are your favorite brands: I’m really inspired by designers like Hussein Chalayan and Iris van Herpen, and I like Acne, Minimarket, V Avenue Shoe Repair, and a lot of the Swedish brands, and April 77 for jeans.
Any style rules (for instance you never black shoes): I never wear all black. I try to avoid black clothes in general since I find them a little depressing and everyone else is already wearing so much of it, but it’s also the easiest color to find things in, so sometimes I give in.
What do you do before you go to bed: Read a book or the New Yorker and drink tea.