POST SHOOT INTERVIEW WITH DESIGNER SOLEÉ DARRELL
Damaged: What led you to become a silversmith?
Soleé Darrell: I started my brand about 3 years ago. I had just come back from living in Mexico and learning how to work with silver. I fell in love with making jewelry and I just started making as much stuff as I could. I initially was just making stuff for myself and then people started asking me if they could buy my pieces. The whole thing organically happened and before I knew it I was running a business.
Damaged: How was your experience studying your craft with the master in the Art of jewelry, Billy King?
Soleé: I studied with Billy for 6 months and it was the greatest experience of my life. Billy taught me everything from the ground up. I had no experience working with metal and I had no idea if I would even like the process. Billy makes you feel like anything is possible. No matter how big or small there is never a "no", it's always a "Yes, let's fucking do it kid". Billy's teaching structure allows for so much freedom and it breeds creativity. I'm so glad that I learned in that environment because I feel like I bring that element into every piece I make. Also, San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful place and I dream about going back every day.
Damaged: Why was becoming a silversmith important to you?
Soleé: I have loved jewelry my whole life and had always felt limited by beading and other jewelry making processes. Silversmithing was this far fetched skill that I never thought I could learn. After I graduated from college I reached a point where I felt like it was now or never and I went to Mexico on a whim. Becoming a silversmith means so much more to me than just being able to work with silver. It's a skill that I sought after and learned and it's a part of my identity now. Working with silver is a form of therapy and has taught me problem solving skills as well as built my confidence in myself.
Damaged: What is this new collection inspired by?
Soleé: This collection was inspired by the idea of the unknown and space. I had an image of this alien woman in mind and she spoke to me about what she needed. If she just landed on a new planet what would she need to feel confident and beautiful. I was drawn to circles a lot and repeat open spaces. I love this collection because they are comfortable pieces that can be worn everyday but they also pack a punch and carry a lot of energy.
Damaged: How was with photographer Asher Moss for this new look-book and how did you meet?
Soleé: Working with Asher was a dream. We met on Instagram. I have been a long time fan of his work and when I started the process of putting together the look-book, he was first in my mind.I reached out to him and I was so stoked and excited that he was into my work and concept It was amazing bouncing ideas off of him and I felt like he understood exactly what I wanted without me even saying it. The whole process was so inspiring and I am filled with gratitude.
Damaged: What goes into the creation of each one of your individual handcrafted pieces?
Soleé: It always starts with the materials. I love re working scraps and putting shapes and lines together to see what feels right. If I'm doing a custom piece I try and get as much information from the client about who they are and what they need. I always start by asking what does your dream ring look like? From there I pick the stones and start building around it.
Damaged: Does each one of your talismans have a symbolism?
Soleé: Since I don't sketch, my designs are based on intuition and there is a bit of the universe in each piece. Whatever flows out is what you get. I try and make each piece as powerful as I can and because I love grouping shapes and lines together my pieces can take on a totem feel. This collection was based off of space and the unknown so a lot of the pieces are named after amazing things that happen in space.
What’s your damage?
Soleé: I would say some major damage that I have is not fitting in anywhere. I've moved around a lot in my life and I've started over and rebuilt so many times. No matter where I move I always feel like I'm an outsider looking in. It's hard for me to let people in and and show them my true self. The older I get the more I realize that this is something to value. It's ok not to be like everyone else. It's ok to feel uncomfortable. It's ok to protect your shine. Being a jeweler is an isolating profession. It's a lot of solo time at the bench and a lot of introspection and I feel like my solo life has made me really good at it. I've had to learn to play by myself. Being a jeweler has also brought an amazing tribe of beautiful freaks into my life and has given me the confidence of not giving a fuck. I finally feel like I fit into a place.