A Q&A with designer Stefanie Sheehan

Modern jewelry designer Stefanie SheehanHere at Visible Interest, we are smitten with the whimsical charm of designer Stefanie Sheehan's handmade jewelry collection.  Each piece in Stefanie's versatile collection incorporates both organic and sculptural elements for designs that are clean, geometric and quite frankly, a lot of fun. Every single piece is made by hand in Stefanie's home studio in Long Island, New York, insuring that each lucky recipient has a uniquely crafted piece of wearable art.  She truly believes that jewelry is an art to be shared in a very personal way with the wearers of her pieces. Stefanie graduated from the Pratt Institute with her BFA in Jewelry Design and a won the Senior Jewelry Award from the Women's Jewelry Association. We recently had a chat with Stefanie about her inspirations, ideal customer and the idea of modernity.  Here's what she had to say: 

How did you start designing jewelry?

I’ve always been really into art and designing as long as I can remember. I started college originally as a painting major at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After I saw my first Senior Jewelry show, I was forever changed. I took my first jewelry class in 2009 and that was it, my major was changed to jewelry design and I graduated in 2012 with a BA. Never looked back!

What’s your favorite part of the process? 

Making a new collection is always so fun and exciting. I like making the first prototypes and working half from sketches, half on a whim. It never gets boring seeing what the end result is.

Do you have a favorite medium? 

I really love casting from wax prototypes. Being able to carve something in wax first gives you so much freedom with design, texture and shapes that may seem too tedious to do directly in metal first. The wax carving process is very freeing and really fun!

                                                          Modern Gold Evil Eye Ring by indie jewelry designer Stefanie Sheehan

Do you have a favorite piece?

I think it changes all the time. Whenever I come out with a new line it seems like they’re all my favorite. I guess it’s hard to choose. They’ve all had so much hard work and thought put into them! If I had to choose just one, I think it would be the Gold Evil Eye Ring. It’s one of my first designs. It just works with everything and I wear one all the time!

What’s your design philosophy? 

Make something that YOU would truly love. If you’re passionate about your designs and your work, I think people can see that. It’s magnetic.

What did you want to be when you were little? 

When I was very young I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals, I really do. I’m not cut out for that type of work though! I’m way too squeamish. I think I’ll stick to jewelry.

Describe your look/work in three words. Edgy. Intriguing. Graceful.

                                                      Mismatched Sun and Moon Earrings by modern jewelry designer Stefanie Sheehan

Who or what inspires you? 

So many things! I think inspiration is around us daily. I am inspired visually by things in nature and architecture as well as in art. I’m also often inspired by emotions and relationships. So many things can get a creative mind going.

Who is your design or fashion crush? 

I love Polly Wales. She’s an amazing jewelry designer. Very different from my work, so I find it very interesting and her designs are always jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Do you have a signature look? 

Oh! I am so fashionably boring. Jeans and a tank or t-shirt are very common for me. It’s because I am always at home working in the studio, so I don’t put in much effort! When it’s time to go out, I love some dark jeans and a (fake) leather jacket, dressed up with lots of jewelry and some awesome flats. That would be my go to. During the cooler months, I love a well-constructed and designed jacket, and a great pair of black boots.

Who do you design for? What kind of woman wears your jewelry? 

Someone who appreciates design and quality. I think all kinds of women can wear my work. It’s wearable enough for people who like more minimal designs, but creates enough interest that someone more outgoing when it comes to fashion.

                                                            Rose Gold Three Spikes Ring by indie jewelry designer Stefanie Sheehan

What makes a woman look modern? 

Being unique, expressing themselves and their personality in their own way. Picking out something awesome even if it’s not what everyone else is going for.

What piece of jewelry is most important for a woman to own? 

That’s a hard one. I think it’s different for everyone. For me, an important piece would be a gorgeous ring that you can wear everyday. Something that has the ability to be dressed up or down.

What does modern mean to you? Individuality. Developing your own style to express who you are.

What visibly interests you? 

Nature is a big inspiration to me. Some of the things that happen in nature NATURALLY are just so amazing. A sunrise or sunset, a mountain range, a blooming flower, a crazy insect, changing fall leaves or even a clear starry night sky. I mean c’mon! We live on an awesome planet.

What can’t you live without? 

My friends and family are super important to me. They have always been so supportive. This includes my furry babies too (Mysti and Lola, my cats).