Focusing solely in the linearity of the ring, with respect to its form, the best way to highlight a delicate structure is to abandon all effects. Created with a combination of old techniques and new technologies Shahla Karimi‘s Honey Rotation 3D printing ring brings a strong character of its own, controls the inspiration and dominates the aesthetics. The self-referential mood, emanating from the design led to the use of natural light, linear shadows and body movement and emotion being the border between the repeated effect and plain shadows.
AP: What is your major? Did you always want to make your own jewellery line?
SK: I majored in Psychology for undergrad and went back to school at NYU for graphic design. I am half middle eastern so I grew up being adorned in gold bangles and gemed-out handmade necklaces. I didn’t consider starting my own line until I started taking metal smithing and casting classes about 8 years ago. From the first piece I made, I knew I wanted to have my own line one day – I wasn’t able to dedicate myself to it full-time until 2014.
AP: How do you think your collections and work have evolved since you first started?
SK: My taste has gotten more expensive, haha! I am definitely gravitating towards more fine jewelry this season – 14K gold and diamonds. AW16 is my first fully fine line – I did a daintier version of the Subway Series in gold, setting diamonds at each of the express stops.
AP: Is there any specific element that you always use, perhaps in different ways or forms, in you collections?
SK: I love the hexagon shape – I always try to integrate it- even in my engagement rings – instead of a circular hole under a diamond, I will sneak in the hex.
AP: The combination of old techniques and new technologies that you use for your designs, give an absolutely amazing and interesting result. Why did you choose that specific procedure pattern?
SK: Thank-you! I have always been much better at computer programs than making things by hand – I think that’s why in school I followed the graphic design vs fine art path. The 3D modeling allows me to develop my ideas with precision and the casting gives it the human touch / look.
AP: Where you always interested in 3D printing as your creation mean and procedure? How did that occur?
SK: When I started making jewelry, I didn’t even know that 3D printing existed yet (it did)! I first saw a 3D printer when Maker Bot came out but they have been used in jewelry for the last 30 years. About 3 years ago, rapid prototyping became affordable so I jumped on board by taking Rhino classes. Math was always my best subject in school, so I do enjoy using that part of my brain…sometimes.
AP: Your experience in product strategy had clearly enriched your view towards promotion. Do you think that marketing advantage had any negative influence in your designing and inspiration process or was it a completely different path, a personal and sensitive project?
SK: It would definitely interfere with blue sky thinking in the beginning. I still design the things I want to wear, whether it may have commercial appeal or not; however, as I design, I can’t help costing material, labor, time, packaging as I go and in some instances I hold back.
AP: Couldn’t avoid mentioning that part about your designs as sculptures. More precisely, the contradiction between organic forms and strict lines. How does that fulfil your vision? Have you used more types of contradiction in your work?
SK: There is usually an element of duality behind all my designs. By taking something hard like the subway lines and giving them an organic flow or taking Parisian bodies of water and forming them with strong lines keeps my work from looking too industrial or too organic. I try to make forms that will be beautiful whether you know the meaning behind them or not. Not all pieces are conceptual but still have an element of duality or contradiction – for example the in-between bar rings play with a lot of metal and geometric lines but allow the human skin to be used as a canvas.
AP: As you have mentioned, your Native American and Persian roots have been of great importance concerning your inspiration and final collections. Where do you stand concerning trends, though?
SK: I am very trend focused when designing, not because it’s a trend or commercial but because it’s typically what I am liking at the time, and it works with the clothing of the time. I am influenced by my heritage in my material use of silver and stones like turquoise and lapis, but you won’t see me doing anything too ornamental.
AP: How important is keeping up with each season’s “musts”, for you?
SK: It’s really important because it is typically what the buyers are looking for. I still round out my collections with basics but I make sure to fill in with those trend pieces or merchandise things in a way that makes sense for stores. For instance, the last couple of seasons, buyers prefer to buy earrings as singles instead of as sets so their customers can mix and match…and they want earrings that are stackable…all the way up the ear!
AP: Do you have any designing experimentations that you would like to pursuit? Either in your techniques, materials or something completely different?
SK: I can’t wait for direct printing in solid gold…I have been testing a new direct printing in steel and can’t wait to be able to print in precious metals. It will allow designs to be more complex and not waste as much material.
AP: What are your future plans in your career? Anything besides jewellery perhaps?
SK: I have just expanded into fine jewelry, and hope to grow a small bridal collection this year. I would also love to create a men’s line in a couple of years. As of now, I don’t have an interest in expanding beyond jewelry into other categories…
AP: Which piece of your designs do you wear the most?
SK: I wear the subway series rings, mini honey necklace with lapis, mini honey earrings with buffalo turquoise and destination necklace (that maps my apartment in BK to my brother and parent’s homes in KY) every day – I don’t even take them off to shower!
Photography and editing: @sanssouci.a