Welcome Christine of Navona Handmade to Positive Publicity today! Navona Handmade is an artist collective, who takes a short trip together twice a year to someplace new and inspiring, and creates a collection of jewelry and home decor based on their shared experience. Pretty awesome, right?
Hi Christine! Tell us a bit about Navona Handmade. How did it get started?
Since I graduated from college, I’d been running a local critique group with several other jewelers I knew. We met up to present what we were designing, get and give constructive feedback, and share exhibition opportunities. At the end of 2015, Julia (a Navona Handmade member) suggested that our group of friends expand on that idea, and run it as a full-fledged business rather than just a critique group. She really wanted outside accountability to start making creative work of her own again. It’s very easy to funnel all of your creative energy into a full-time job, and find yourself with little motivation to make additional creative work after hours. We’ve found that having regular meetings and shared deadlines makes it much easier to create new work on a regular basis.
Since we all work in different mediums (I’m a jeweler, Bethany is a potter, Julia is a fiber artist), we decided that we needed a common thread that would unite us as an artist collective. We settled on the idea of taking vacations together to find inspiration. It’s a quirky idea, and we hadn’t heard of anyone doing anything like it.
Navona Handmade takes short trips together twice a year to someplace new and inspiring and create a collection inspired by your experiences. Is there a trip in particular that left a last impression on you?
Our Portland, Oregon trip was our biggest adventure so far! Julia was living in Oregon at the time, so we decided to visit her and design a collection around our visit; kill two birds with one stone. In the weeks leading up to our visit we scoured Top 10 of Portland lists, compiling ideas for restaurants, bars, and natural wonders. In the end, though, the most memorable aspect of our trip was the unseasonable weather! It snowed and sleeted the entire trip, and was most harsh the day we visited Cannon Beach and wandered along the coastline. Rather than being a hindrance, the weather really gave us reason to find the fun and funny aspects of our trip and focus on those.
You’ve returned home and are preparing to brainstorm the next collection – what’s that process like?
We usually start a Pinterest board first, so we can see all of our photographs from our trip in the same place. We look for color and texture themes in those photos, then we all take a week or two to sketch what we intend to make for the new collection. Once everyone submits sketches, we usually do some minor design tweaks to make sure there will be a cohesive feel. For instance, in the Providence Collection, Bethany chose a speckled clay as the base for all her pieces. I added a hammered texture to all my jewelry to mimic the speckled texture of her clay, and Julia made use of a latch hook technique that also echoed the texture of the clay.
Christine, you’re an extremely talented jeweler. How did you begin designing jewelry?
Thank you! Actually, when I started at the Tyler School of Art, I majored in photography. After taking two Intro to Jewelry classes, I decided to take the plunge and switch majors. We were using huge torches, melting metal, carving plastic, making molds, stone setting, just utilizing all these different kinds of approaches. I loved it!
What sort of items can be purchased on Navona Handmade?
We offer handmade jewelry, accessories, pottery, and home decor. We create two collections per year, and take older collections down (if there’s anything left!) as the new ones go up. Everything is limited edition, so if you see something you love, snap it up before it’s gone! You can shop online, and follow along with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
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Know an awesome, badass lady here in Philly? Send her my way! <3