Smithy Jewelry: A Modern Approach to Art Deco Style


1) Tell us who you are?

My name is April Laird, and I am a handmade jewelry designer based out of Los Angeles. 
2) Why did you start making and selling with Smithy Jewelry and how did you get started?
 I’ve always loved jewelry and making things with my hands, especially gifts for others. I started to modify jewelry I already had to my personally taste, as a teen, and I read lots of DIY articles in magazines and such to get ideas; it’s always been a hobby of mine. Last year, a few of my fashionista friends encouraged me to sell some of my pieces online. Since then, my passion for metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication has increased to a level I never imagined! I have had such wonderful support and encouragement from my friends and family that it was impossible not to keep going. The excitement of starting an official company of my own where I can craft my own designs from the ground up had never occurred to me, but I am so very thankful I took the plunge!
3) What has been the best thing about launching and running  Smithy Jewelry? 
The learning curve is daunting. Starting your own business requires a LOT of research and prep and everyone makes mistakes along the way, myself included. The best part of launching, maintaining, and growing my business is the overwhelming pride I have when I get something right! It’s so gratifying to see a product through literally from start to finish and see your creations valued by others. That is definitely the part that keeps me going the most. 
4) Besides Smithy Jewelry, what else do you do? 
I have worked in the art department for network television for six years, which is still my day job. Working in props and set dressing lends itself to all kinds of fun hands on projects. I like building things, woodworking, DIY projects, and crafts. I sing background vocals in a twelve piece pop rock band, here in LA. I am also a classically trained cellist. I love to travel, but am especially enchanted by the British Isles. I support rescued animals and have two adorable rescued pups. I am also a big time yogi. Sometimes I think I have too many hobbies/interests, haha. 
5) Art Deco is a big inspiration for your work. What about Art Deco appeals to you and what else inspires you? 
Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles, in essence, are a combination of strength and beauty. I have always been fascinated by the strong lines and geometric shapes of Art Deco which are then organized in a fluid and romantic way. No one can tell me that the Empire State Building, for all its regality, isn’t completely romantic. The sinuous lines and delicate natural motifs in Art Nouveau styles embody femininity to me. Most designers will say that they get inspiration from everything around them, which is true. I suppose I gravitate toward the styles of the 1900s-1930s most because of the truth in craftsmanship and the risks designers took during those periods
6) Besides your Art Deco influence what make Smithy Jewelry unique? 
I try to strike a balance between vintage styles and the modern 21st century. It’s very important to me that no one looks at a piece I’ve made and thinks “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that exact thing before.” or “This is trendy”. I don’t try to be trendy. I try to make jewelry that speaks to me and represents my creativity and appreciation for those before me.
7) It must be a fun job to design and create new pieces.  What do you look for in a piece when you are considering adding it to your line? 
When adding new pieces to my shop, there are a lot of important factors that I pay close attention to. When I design something new, I always hold durability and wearability highest and work from there. Jewelry is wearable art, in my opinion. The worst thing in the world is to purchase a piece that you think is beautiful and perfect for you and then have it break the third time you wear it, haha. Beyond that, I look for flattering patterns, colors, and an element of uniqueness without losing simplicity. 
8) Do you collaborate with any other artists, if not yet who would you like to in he future? 
I definitely look to my designer friends and coworkers for feedback, but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to co design. I would love to do that! There are so many great designers and talented metal smiths in LA, it’s overwhelming at times. There is a company called “Scarlett Garnet” based in St Louis, MO that I greatly admire! The company is run by two partnered female designers who collaborate on every piece they make. What a dream! 
9) Describe 3 of your favourite items currently in the shop. 
I love my Art Deco Brazen Drop Earrings. They’re one of my top sellers and I wear a pair myself, all the time. 


My Winged Goddess Isis Gold Pendant Necklace is also another favorite of mine. It’s so simple but people comment every time I wear one. I think I’ll always incorporate Egyptian motifs into my work.


I am also quite partial to my mood bead pieces, especially the Boho Purple Drop Mood Bead Pendant Necklace. As someone who wears a lot of purples, blues, and greens, I always enjoy watching the mood beads change color but they always stay matched to my outfit. 🙂


10) Where would you like to be in 10 years?

I suppose supporting myself solely on my designs and having my own full fledged metalsmithing shop are the two most obvious goals for Smithy Jewelry. My lifestyle goal is to be by-coastal in Los Angeles and New York, and to eventually have enough of a following that my pieces can be featured in hand crafted jewelry stores and boutiques all over the US and Canada. These are lofty dreams, but if I keep to the grindstone, I may just get there!

Thanks April for sharing with us! Smithy Jewelry is destined for success! Check out Smithy Jewelry on Etsy to look at more of April’s beautiful work!





OOAK Toronto Favourites: OTRA Design

I thought I would share some of my favourite shops from OOAK. I will start with a fellow Canadian, out of Montreal, Otra Design. You can find them this weekend in the Canadian section at OOAK.
I remember seeing Otra’s lamps from about fifty feet away, and having to stop mid-conversation because I was so distracted by how beautiful they where.
Made from recycled cardboard and reversible, these lamps are one of my favourite items. I bought the turquoise one, and I look forward to hanging it in my living room!
So check out Otra design on their website or at OOAK 2013 Spring Show.