photography by DRIELY SCHWARTZ & THE STONESET
text by WHITNEY FELDMANN
NYC is stocked full of artisans and innovators bursting with ideas for everything from the next best jewelry or clothing line, to your new favorite craft bites and cocktail spot. So we went behind the doors to the creative spaces of some of the city’s fast-growing innovators you need to know now. They revealed their studio/office must-haves; best places to go get inspired; and handpicked items they’re loving that you can shop too!
susan alexandra in wonderland
The whimsical accessories of this need to know jewelry designer have graced the fashion platforms of Vogue, Elle, Refinery29, Nylon and even landed in a Levi’s international ad campaign…but the notable list goes way on. It’s no wonder though, the hand-made designs are just as colorful, fun and captivating as artist Susan Alexandra herself. We had to get into this lady’s studio so we could pick her brain about what keeps the creative wheels spinning, but mostly to see if any of her fanciful whimsy would rub off.
WHAT ASPECTS OF YOUR STUDIO MAKE UP THE MOST ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN A CREATIVE SPACE FOR YOU? WHAT ASPECTS OF YOUR STUDIO MAKE UP THE MOST ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN A CREATIVE SPACE FOR YOU?
Color and vibrance; my studio is just an offshoot of my jewelry. I think if you emptied out my brain the end product would look like my studio.
Cork board walls; I am constantly tacking up inspiration all around me, be it postcards, vintage seed packets, love notes, or dried flowers.
Scent! I love lighting Palo Santo wood before starting any big project. I also keep tinctures [oils] and elixirs scattered throughout the studio in case I need to lift or mood change.
DESCRIBE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN HACKS
Thoughtful storage. In my dream studio there are bookshelves that are organized by color, cabinets for all my curiosities, art everywhere and tons of workspace. In reality, organizing my tiny studio has become a balancing act of all the tzotchkes I’ve collected over the years. Everything is tacked, taped, hung and leaning on something else. I have bracelets slung from the lamp shades and around the base, rings plopped on doll furniture, barrettes stacked on old books and necklaces pinned to the walls. Try it, life outside the (jewelry) box is playful and fun.
I don’t know if it’s a hack, maybe an aesthetic hack, but I love incorporating fresh produce into my space as much as possible. There’s something cheeky about asparagus in a vase instead of flowers.
WHERE ARE YOUR GO-TO PLACES TO GET INSPIRATION?
I have so many! The Rosebowl Flea in Pasadena, CA is astounding and awe inspiring. I’m also taken by the aesthetic of a brilliant boutique down the street from my studio, Warm, which masters this California boho meets Downtown NYC look. John Derian in the East Village is magic and harkens back to a Victorian past life. Another tremendous escape is definitely ABC Home and Carpet, it’s probably the best store in the entire world; I want to move in and never leave. There’s also this store called Vintage Thrift Gramercy, where I’ve scored some gorgeous original art.
Shop Susan’s style!
I’m attracted to subtle neutral furniture, so the accessories can do the creative talking
Lighting is important, it helps achieve the tiny details that my work requires
A desk needs to be sleek and open, but with nooks and drawers on hand to keep all my materials, because having to move from my creative zone can throw off my process
My advice for any artist for any artist is to create a community, so having a space where you can gather and collaborate is vital.
I like a few art pieces in my space, but I would cover the walls with these shelves and load them up with, knick knacks, curiosities, crystals, beads, candles, sculptures, jewelry samples; all the tzotchkes you collect on your travels across the world or across town.