As it always happens, Laura Estrada’s journey as an artist started at a tender age. The sculptor within was longing for her to create sculptures from found objects – a skill that guided her through university and transformed into a metalsmithing expertise. There are plenty of brilliant jewellery designers out there who have never touched the torch or sat at the bench, however, the direct, almost intimate engagement with metal and gemstones is what makes the creator in touch with the piece; they share a soul.
What is your story / background in the creative industry?
From a very young age, I was always making art and creating little sculptures from found objects. This desire to create with my hands took flight in college where I earned my degree in jewellery + metalsmithing and went on to work for a master goldsmith. After gaining valuable experience, I moved to Los Angeles to start my own brand and pursue my passion.
VALUES /// PROBLEMS
What are three fundamental values that you would like to embrace throughout your career, that you pay special attention to during your work?
- Artistic integrity and commitment to the handmade
- Keeping the practice of the handmade and ancient methods while also always seeking to be innovative in my work and pushing the field of adornment
- Community involvement and building, inclusivity and support of marginalized folks.
What are three relevant problems that you wish to solve or improve with the help of your work?
- Having my work act as a bridge between the academic art jewelry world and the editorial fashion industry
- Keeping ancient handmade practices and metalsmithing techniques alive and relevant as society shifts in the digital age but also finding ways to embrace the shift and adapt my work to the changing world.
- Being able to give back to my community and supporting social justice causes
#GAHSPpsyche /// CREATIVE PROCESS
What is the role of jewellery in people’s life and in our culture? And the role of the jewellery designer? Do you intend to challenge ‘jewellery’ as we know it today?
Jewellery and adornment are deeply woven into our personal identities and how we express ourselves. They can act as a signifier, a piece of armour, an ancestral memory, an aesthetic object. Jewellery is meant to empower and strengthen the wearer and it is my purpose to make pieces that resonate and connect with those that come across it. I seek to make work that pushes boundaries and challenges the accepted norm or conventions of jewellery. Experimentation and innovation are key to my artistic process.
How do you define the aesthetics vs. the function of your creations? Which one comes first, or do they complement each other? Does that reflect your stance on design in general, or do you believe that jewellery is in a class by itself?
Aesthetics and function go hand in hand with my work; they need the one another to exist. It often starts with an aesthetic vision and then the challenge of creating the functional object follows. The function though, goes beyond physical mechanisms and construction to social, political, cultural, or historical commentary. I want my work to be visually satisfying but also contain a purpose or deeper meaning.
#GAHSPzeitgeist /// VISION
What would you say is your signature style as a jewellery designer and how did that evolve over time?
My process is very intuitive and organic - allowing the metal to dictate as I bend, form, shape, solder the material. The outcome is a very intentional and organized chaos, a love letter to organic and natural forms. I think this is apparent in my work and has become something of a signature.
How would you describe your ultimate vision as a Creative? For your brand, for the jewellery industry and for people who love jewellery?
The vision for my brand is always shifting -- I could envision myself collaborating with designers for runway and couture internationally, I could also see myself living in a cabin on a lake or a cottage by the sea and maintaining a tiny handmade business and being happy with that.
As the world changes, I seek to interrogate, and ultimately embrace, our relationship with technology - to imagine new ways to adapt and harmonize past, present and future.
VOLUME IV /// METAMORPHOSIS
What is your definition of metamorphosis? Did you ever experience one, and if so how did that change your perspective? What did you learn from it?
Metamorphosis is a change or transition from one state of being to another -- it is a blossoming, an unfolding. I actually believe that I am in the middle of one and that a shift is imminent in my creative and personal life. This past year or so has been tough for me as it has been for so many, and as things seemed to be unravelling, new portals of self-discovery and identity have slowly started to open. Excited to see where this goes.
Check out our full September Digital Cover below.
VOLUME IV /// METAMORPHOSIS /// Dream, Vision, Idea
Styling & Art Direction: @maheenrn
Assistant Photographer: @ghast.raw
Written and edited by Gennady Oreshkin and Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy of GAHSP Media