Studio Story: Iris Guy Sofer of Iris Guy Design

Iris Guy is a resident jewelry designer here in Seattle. re-souL has had the continuing privilege of carrying her work since 2003. Originally from Isreal, she studied at the Bazalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Her work can be found in small boutiques, the Seattle Art Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. We had a chance to visit her studio and talk to Iris a bit of what influences her and drives her to create her wearable works of art.

Iris Guy working at her soldering table.

Iris Guy at work in her studio.

You live in Seattle now, but you are originally from Israel. What was it like growing up? How did you spend your days? Were you always creative?

…Well, growing up in Israel was fun! Since it’s by the Mediterranean, it is warm most of the year. We used to spend most of our days outside playing with friends (after school of course..).

I was born to a very creative family. My mother is an amazing artist as well as her mother. Ever since I can remember myself, I was surrounded by arts and craft. Creating with whatever we could find, especially from nature. My mother was an art and pottery teacher as her second job, teaching children, so being with her was my default.

Iris Guy earrings

Earrings being prepared for finishing.

How did you get into jewelry design?

I earned my B.Des. in visual communications, but ALWAYS had the need to work with materials, and get my hands dirty ;) rather than work on the computer all day. I knit and sew whenever I have free time, and my first collection of jewelry was hand crocheted jewelry with silver wire (I used to knit for days with my grandmother…)

Jewelry is my natural passion driven from my love for accessories and wearable art, working and sculpturing small scale with varied materials.

What is your studio like? How long have you been there? 

I’m at the current studio space for the last almost 5 years, and sharing the space with another four talented jewelry designers. I find it great and rewarded the opportunity to engage with other artists, brainstorm and have the creative community around.

How do you record your ideas?

I sketch on whatever I find the moment I have an idea… post it, backside of bills etc…

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

Few accessories made by my daughters, conceptual items I have collected and African beads, wearable art and such.

Iris Guy Inspiration wall.jpg

Inspiration wall in Iris’ studio space.

You work with several tools in your studio. What tool do you enjoy using most in your design process?

I have plenty of tools… but I love to use my river rocks collection for new organic forms and putting them together. I love a good wire cutter too. ;)

Your collection over the years has grown quite extensive, do you have a favorite piece?

I LOVE the stone necklace and the large Branch necklace. So different and yet so me.

Do you wear any of your pieces?

I mostly wear my small earrings and the big necklaces when I go out… My little son will pull every piece of jewelry I have on.

Tell us about a current project you are working on. What is the inspiration behind it?

Im participating in the upcoming’ 3X2 Redux’ exhibition at Facere gallery which is a collaboration between glass beads artists to jewelry designers… and inspired by the beauty of the glass beads I was given, hoping to find the right balance between my minimalism metal work and the fullness and richness of the glass.

To see more of the Iris Guy Collection go here and here.

Studio Story: An Interview with Elisa Shere

Studio Story is a post we are dedicating to the amazing and creative designers we have here in the shop. We thought it would be fun to know their story and what inspires them. 

Elisa Shere is a jewelry designer  from Seattle who handcrafts her pieces using recycled, non-mined sterling silver that was processed in an earth friendly manner. She also believes in being environmentally conscious in her studio too and therefore has eliminated most chemicals from her work space. Her collection is slightly industrial with pieces that are clean and simple. Elisa’s jewelry is sold in small boutiques throughout the country and through her shop on Etsy.com. We spoke with her recently to see what inspires her personally and her process of creating her modern organic jewelry. 

What is your background?

I became interested in making things at a very young age. When other kids signed up for swimming camp, I signed up for pottery or painting classes. I was very interested in hand built ceramics in high school and ended up getting a BFA in ceramics from Colorado State University and afterwards became a studio potter at Pottery Northwest.

 When did you start designing jewelry? How did you start your business?

About 7 years ago I was interested in trying something new and signed up for a metal smithing class at Pratt here in Seattle. It immediately clicked and my skills and designs progressed quickly. In January 2006 I opened my Etsy shop, and launched my line – Elisa Shere Jewelry. Since then my business has grown, I was able to quit my day job as an advertising project manager and currently sell my jewelry at craft shows and stores across the country.

What is your typical work style? What is your studio environment like?

I fabricate each piece of jewelry in my studio, which is quite large and in the unfinished basement of our 1920’s house in the North Admiral neighborhood. My studio has strange old house features, such as glass windows that open into the interior of the house and little wooden cubbies. It was clearly someone else’s workshop at sometime, which I love. It’s a charming space and the raw/vintage, rustic qualities are perfect for my aesthetic.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

The three things I couldn’t live without: a good book, my favorite boots and The Mindy Project (I seriously can’t get over how funny and brilliant this show is, I really like good comedy)

 What are 3 things that inspire you?

For inspiration, I love modern + interior design and find that looking at home design sites, such as Apartment Therapy inspire me. I know that’s strange since I’m a jeweler, but the home accessories and furniture inform me of shape trends. I also enjoy looking through friend’s “favorites” on Etsy.com, I find that to be refreshing and lastly, I very much enjoy being outside and going on walks, that is truly what inspires me the most.

What are you currently working on? What are you looking forward to this holiday?

I’m currently elbow (neck?) deep in production for the three holiday shows I’ll be participating in very soon. I’ll be selling my goods here in Seattle at the Etsy Rain show on 11/29 + 30 and also at shows in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. My favorite time of year is after all my shows are over and I can go shopping for gifts and take a few weeks off to spend with family and friends.