This Jewellery Designer's Chic L.A. Space Is Studio Goals
If you've been dreaming of swapping your desk space in a corporate office for a creative career, then we've got the perfect inspiration for you to bite the bullet and explore your second life. We've been featuring the studios and workspaces of creative ladies—you must step inside the artist studio of Salt Lake City's Holly Addi or Alexandra Valenti in Austin—and this week we're putting the spotlight on Los Angeles–based interior designer Sophie Monet of Sophie Monet Jewellery.
She works out of a beautiful workshop in Venice, alongside her dad, who’s also a sculptor. One thing we wanted to explore in this series was how instrumental your surroundings are to inspiring and conjuring the work you produce. For Monet, it's crucial. "Being around so much creative energy has been instrumental in helping me not just ideate what I design each season but helping me think beyond the ordinary," she tells me. "Whether I'm discovering a scrap of a new wood that I want to use, learning a new technique from my dad, or seeing how different woods look against one another. And then there's that Venice air—that smells like home to me."
Take the tour and hear about Monet's vision for the space and how Venice Beach has also been massively influential in her jewellery design.
What was the vision/direction for the space?
"In the workshop, there wasn't room for customizing the space. I went into it knowing that and thrive off of the rawness of the elements. Upstairs (a few flights above the woodshop), I have my own little showroom space that has equal parts retro vibes and midcentury minimalism.
"I wanted to keep the space fairly stark so the jewelry could really speak for itself, and I display everything in sandboxes, so the wood designs sit really nicely. The window behind me looks east, so I get a burst of sunshine in the morning to wake me up, casting the prettiest shadows on my designs."
You are based in Venice, California—how has that environment informed your work?
"I'm located right next to Gjusta, which is just a few short blocks from the beach. This location fits me to a tee. I didn't choose it. I was fortunate enough to get to take up residence in the space where my dad works (and now my sister runs her business, too, upstairs), but I couldn't have found a better space for me.
"I love getting a fresh jolt of energy with a midday dip in the ocean or walking on the sand for a quick reset at the end of the day. So much of what I do has that laidback appeal, and you can see it stem directly from where I create."
What is your biggest inspiration and how does that factor into your artwork?
"My biggest inspiration continues to be architecture. I grew up learning so much from both of my parents, who have a deep appreciation for it, and still to this day, I can pore over books looking for inspiration, through shapes, the interplay of media, or color. I'm always looking to explore new spaces and I love mimicking some of my favorite architectural shapes in my designs."
What is your favorite piece in your studio and why?
"I love the big piece of modern art that greets you when you walk upstairs from the woodshop. It's generally the first thing people see when they walk in and it really sets to the tone for the experience. It's full of bright primary colors and a sense of blurred lines that I think is reflective in the creative process."
How did you decide on your color scheme?
"I don't tend to wear that much color myself, so when it came to the space, I wanted to keep it fairly neutral as well. There are a few pops here and there, in the form of art, or a bright floral arrangement a friend will drop off, but I love keeping things easy enough on the eyes that visitors (and I) can just focus on the jewelry."
How did you get started in jewelry design? What's your earliest memory of being drawn to jewelry?
"I've always had a creative bent. Growing up I was always making friendship bracelets and later, beaded jewelry in high school. It wasn't until I was spending time in my dad's studio that I realized the potential of all of the scrap wood that were byproducts of the art he was creating. There seemed to be limitless potential with it, and as I began designing, I realized there were so many pieces I could create. It started quite organically from there, really using what was available to me at the time to create something more robust and incorporating stones, metals, etc."
What inspires your jewelry design?
"Travel is really at the root of every design decision I make. I find so many incredible references wherever I go, from native architecture to local street style. Last summer, I did a residency at Villa Lena outside of Florence, and spending time in Europe over the summer was something that continues to inform my work.
The colors of an Italian summer in Tuscany, the textures, the scents—they've never left me. I've got a few inspiration trips coming up and I'm excited to explore what's next for my upcoming collections. There's so much out there to discover."
What is your creative process like?
"Because my studio is literally downstairs from my showroom space, I can ideate and create in a matter of hours. I can dream something up and upon discovering and experimenting with materials, create something that's wearable that night.
"That's the beauty of doing everything by hand and seeing the fruits of my labor become a reality in a matter of hours. It's small batch, but it's made with love, and allows me to experiment and create in real time, without adhering to a strict fashion calendar."
What happens when you get in a creative rut?
"I'm fortunate because of where I am, I simply have to step outside. The fresh air is something that I need to create, as is the incredible light that filters through, something that's really unique to L.A. Sometimes if I'm really stumped, I can talk it through with my dad, or simply watch him work and manipulate the materials with his hands and it'll inspire and incite something new for me. It's about as organic as it gets."
Sophie Monet Amour Bucket Bug ($240)