I was asked almost a year ago to write an article for a UK magazine by the name of Scarlett. The magazine unfortunately never went into production. Here I had these great words from one of my favorite jewelry designers, unpublished and never surfaced. I decided to share with you the interview I did with JL Schnabel of BloodMilk…
Q: What inspired you to begin your career as a jewelry designer?
A: Like most things that have occurred to me in my life, designing jewelry happened quite on accident and has seemed to me to be most fateful.
Q: Your collections reflect are darker aesthetic. Is this a refection of your personal style?
A: I like the balance between what is considered grotesque and what is beautiful. I’m interested in manifesting this tension in my jewels, so I suppose there is an element of darkness in both my personal aesthetic and in my work. I do think it’s important however, to keep a kind of light in life too, so I try not to become too mired in the shadows.
Q: What was the concept behind your logo?
A: The planchette has become a deeply personal symbol for me. I lost my father in 2008 and this tragedy has caused me to quest after knowledge of the afterlife. In this way, the planchette symbolizes the “ability” to speak with the dead. As a logo, I believe it captures how the essence of my work speaks to both mourning as well as my interest in both honoring the dead and seeking a way to communicate with the “other side”.
Q: Are there any particular music artists you listen to while you’re creating?
A: I listen to a mix of things; Nina Simone, French carnival music, The Caretaker, Neutral Milk Hotel, Chelsea Wolfe. I’m generally inspired by moody music with strong lyrics or a strong sense of mood. I like to see live music when I can, I’m inspired by that moment when at the members of a band lose themselves in the ritual of their craft and emanate a kind of magic. It’s truly a gift.
Q: If there were a celebrity who you’d want to wear your jewelry, who would it be?
A: I would truly love to see artist Chelsea Wolfe wearing my work. Her music really speaks to me; the dark, ritualistic mood it sets seems to be the perfect soundtrack for my work.
Q: You have a new collection coming up, what was the story behind it?
A: ‘Sea Witch’ is a small line of jewels inspired by my birthplace, Long Island, N.Y which is a small island east of NYC. The ocean envelopes this island and I grew up at this wonderful cusp, between land and sea. The pieces are named after quotes from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, Sylvia Plath’s poetry and Hans Christan Anderson’s version of ‘The Little Mermaid.’ ‘Sea Witch’ is also a thematic collaboration between clothing designer Audrey Cantwell of Ovate and I. Her clothing has become part of my personal style and I was honored to create work that complimented hers thematically.
Q: Are you shopping your line at stores? If so which ones?
A: I currently sell Blood Milk at two physical locations, Loved To Death in San Francisco, and Catbird in Brooklyn, NY. Both of these shops have incredible aesthetics and I like to think of my work living there. I often don’t seek selling my work in places aside from me personally as I like to keep the communion between the buyer and myself as personal as possible. I know this will change in the future, but for now I enjoy speaking and working directly with my customers.
Q: How long have you been designing jewelry?
A: I’ve been designing since 2008, which was a fateful and hard year in many ways. I like to think that Blood Milk rose out of the ashes of this year, like a dark plumed bird.
Q: Do you see yourself designing anything else besides jewelry?
A: I often think about expanding Blood Milk into other projects, working with other designers on products and house wares . . .for now though I’ll be focusing on jewels.
BloodMilk ‘Between Worlds’ by Stacey Ransom & Jason Mitchell