We fell in love with Ashley Childs jewelry (and her) since day one of us following each other on Instagram. Her collection transcends elegance and her eye for detail always captivates us.  As a sculptural artist, first and foremost, Ashley Childs is committed to designing jewelry worthy of everyone who wears her pieces. From her long list of global experiences, a mind trained in fine, conceptual-art; she hopes to change how we think about metal - and it’s working.

Her innate feel for sculptural movement has always driven her designs and has driven us to ask the questions and get to know this incredible artist. Find out how she grew her line and her next steps!

STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD: GETTING TO KNOW ASHLEY CHILDS

ENTIRE: How did you first start on your journey? 

Ashley Childs: I’ll be honest and tell you I normally don’t really wear a lot of jewelry, but somehow I’ve been making it since I was a kid.  My fascination for physical objects, their shape, texture, and material started as a toddler.  Not only did I need the tangible experience but I was captivated, visually, by physical objects, watching a clock’s parts move or observing a person’s facial expressions. The visual experience of movement has always been part of my DNA. I was always figuring out how to take things apart, using my hands or any tool I could find.  From bronze casting to forging gold and iron, there was always an inherent need to be making things with my hands, and using my engineer’s intuition in order to make something better, or more beautiful.

 

ENTIRE: What is your process for finding inspiration for the line?
AC: I’ve always been attracted to subtle, clean lines in fine art like Brancusi’s ‘Bird in Space,’ architecture by Frank Gehry, photography by Ansel Adams and fashion designers such as Helmut Lang. As a metalsmith, first and foremost, I decided the metal would be the focus, something Elsa Peretti and Brancusi have done beautifully with their work. I wanted to create a body of work where you can really see the metal, appreciate its value and realize its absolute perfection.  Also, my experience with metal, forging iron, pour bronze, soldering gold – I’ve learned all kinds of metal inside and out. It is a beautiful, clay-like substance at certain temperatures. Its qualities are true, magnificent and inspiring. Of course, thinking outside the box in a big, big way is always necessary – I am determined to stand out amongst a sea of fine jewelers and that is an incredibly grueling task.

 

ENTIRE: Do you have a specific aesthetic or is your aesthetic that constant push?
AC: The one constant aesthetic in my work has always been a sense of movement.  Just like the movement in a ballet dancer, or the sweeping lines of a bronze sculpture or the flowing motion in fashion, there is always a sense of movement.  I am sure it is a metaphorical reflection of my own life and how many times I’ve changed my mind, traveled the globe or redesigned a piece. My greatest challenge and constant push are: how to do I combine my sculptural aesthetic, with the fascination for moving parts and the need for subtraction, in order to make a piece striking, graceful and contemporary? The hardest part in design is subtracting, especially in a world where so much is constantly being added, saturating our visual experience. I decided to make pieces that could stand alone, be a source of confidence, yet still be vulnerable. The one thing you won’t see in my jewelry is a lot of diamonds and gemstones. As a metalsmith, I want to push myself and my designs to show that metal, by itself, can still be just as important.

 

ENTIRE: Starting your own line can definitely be difficult, what have you done to help your brand grow and expand?
AC: The most exhausting part of this process is pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’m an artist, which also comes with being an introvert, going to museums and movies alone and being an observer of the human experience. Of course, my absolute pleasure is in every step of the design and production process. The scariest part is asking for help, finding the right people to talk to, the right store, the right publication, the right niche. There are 7.5 billion people on this globe and I have to find those specific people who can see beyond my unknown name, who can understand my in-depth sculptural experience and who can appreciate the quality of my designs. This is not going to happen overnight, so I put in exhausting hours, researching, emailing, asking questions and diving right it. I believe my passion has everything to do with my grit – and I am determined to go a long way.

 

ENTIRE: What is some advice you can give new aspiring jewelry designers?
AC: I asked many jewelers over the years the same question, and it took me a long, long time to realize a few things. It’s important to go through a process of trial and error. Making mistakes makes you.  I’ve make decade-long mistakes – and I found my voice for this new collection because I fell down so many times because I made ugly jewelry all those years ago because I made awful choices in terms of business strategy. I didn’t go to business school, I went to one of the most conceptual art schools in the country (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and spent my time learning interior architecture, pouring bronze and using a table saw in wood-shop. If you can imagine a little, unknown artist swimming alongside big strategists, marketing experts, business owners and public relations agents, all I can do is laugh! It’s a miracle I got this far.  But I forced myself to learn a million tiny things outside my comfort zone in order to get here.
And, finally, it is NOT easy.  It just isn’t. You have to be brave enough to keep going.

 

ENTIRE: When you’re envisioning a client wearing your pieces, what do you see? And does that help inspire each collection or piece?
AC: I see a confident woman, pouring herself over a new challenge in life or in her work.  She definitely knows what she wants and she never hesitates to extend a little humor into the situation. Sometimes she’s wearing her favorite pair of blue jeans and a blouse, other days she decides on a sleek, sophisticated outfit which makes her feel beautiful. She doesn’t need much, but I do see her wearing the gold VEGA ring. I want pieces which can be worn alone, just like when a confident woman walks into a room, that’s the only person you see. You see her. And she’s amazing.

 

I want my pieces to inspire women to carry themselves with confidence.

 

ENTIRE: What are some new events and upcoming moves for the Ashley Childs line?
AC: I will be debuting my latest VERTIGO Collection at Metal & Smith in New York City,  August 21st & 22nd.

 

View more at Ashley Childs

See more designs: @AshleyChilds Instagram

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