Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Thesis Collection

Where culture meets fashion. Jewelry designer Sofia Ramsay incorperates the spirit of Native American culture and developes a line of jewelry that captures the essence of individuality and personal style.

A: So I read that the Thesis collection has a lot to do with Native American influence. What made you decide to incorperate that in your collection?

S: My junior year of undergrad was the first time I studied Native American jewelry aesthetics. I made a necklace that incorporated various elementsof traditional Hopi silversmithing as part of a "referencing history" assignment. This initial study sparked my curiosity and I began an in-depth study on Native American architecture, culture and jewelry the following year. My thesis collection developed alongside this research, and I found that my personal aesthetic as well as my choice of techniques became stronger in my interpretation of Native American style.

A: That's really interesting. I definetly appreciate culture in anything I wear since fashion is so important to me. I find substance very commendable in a designer.
One thing that stood out to me were the head dresses. As much as fashion evolves do you think that a piece like that could have an impact on the current & upcomming trends?

S: Hats and hair accessories have always been a big part of my personal style. There was once a very sophistocated time when a proper lady or gentleman would not leave the house without a hat, and I think that if trends in fashion start to lean towards a more formal look, something like this might return to our sartorial vocabulary. I live in New York, so the people around me are a bit bolder with their fashion choices, but when I wear it out I get stopped all the time, people want to wear something different like that. Because of that response I am working on developing a line of tiny headdress hair clips. Know anyone who might be interested?

A: I agree, the forties and times like those women wore feathers in their hair a lot and things of that sort if not hats. I think head wear is something that could be developed more artisticaly these days and you have definetly taken that and produced something great. No one comes to mind right now (I live in Detroit so everyone pretty much dresses a like. There aren't many people who would want to be that unique. However, I am trying to find some local designers to style some shoots and interview, etc. and if I do find anyone who the headdress image might fit I will definetly recommend you! :).

Two of the pieces I really took a liking to were the multi-colored banded cuff and the banded ring. What are your favorite pieces from the collection? Do you have any that are special to you?

S: It is hard to say which is my favorite piece, since they all have special qualities to me. The headdress is one of my favorites, it has so many good qualities and looks almost exactly like the original gesture drawing I did in preliminary sketching. The large banded bowl is another favorite. On the website it isn't terribly photogenic but it was a huge accomplishment to execute a piece like that. The raising, planishing and enameling techniques I used were technically challenging, like fun design problems to solve. My professor David Butler, also a practicing metalsmith and jeweler out of Brooklyn, was a big supporter of this piece and provided a lot of helpful insight on completing it. That piece represents a positive learning experience for me. I probably had the most fun making the banded pieces that you like, I love that enameling technique!

A: Yeah, those were really dope. I'm considering purchasing the ring, I
really love it. When did you decide that jewelery design was what you
wanted to do?

S: I entered Pratt as a printmaking major, and was introduced to the Jewelry department when I visited the senior thesis shows, which printmaking and jewelry share. I went to check out the work of seniors in my major but was really awed by the jewelry. It instantly made sense to me that I needed to make jewelry when I saw that show. I have had my ears pierced since I was three months old, jewelry has been a pretty constant part of my life for as far back as I can remember. So I was trying to find my niche, something to study that would be very meaningful to me and when I realized I could be making wearable, metal jewelry I knew I had found it. I am so grateful for my experience at Pratt. I am honored that you are interested in the ring!

A: That's what's up it sounds like you're doing what you're passionate
about! I know that has a lot to do with the outcome & how hard you
work. Where do you think you will draw from inspiration wise for your
next project?

S: My next move is to develop a small production line, and I am using my thesis collection as a springboard for ideas. I am observing how people react to my collection, and using the more popular elements and techniques to design something a little more practical for the everyday. You'll see a lot more of the chain, some small silver forms. This is a direction I have wanted to go in so I am excited to be entering this new stage.

A: I think everything is going to come about beautifully. Thank you for your time and patience to grant me this interview and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

S: It was a pleasure.

-Ayanna Michelle

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