I recently sat down for an interview with my friend Lindsay Olson Ansley, the designer and maker behind ADELINE JEWELRY, for insight into her design process, studio practice and upcoming projects.
An Oakland native, Lindsay’s ties to the city and to its close-knit jewelry community run deep - fun fact: Lindsay was actually ESQUELETO’s first employee way back in the day! Inspired in no small part by Oakland’s ever-evolving urban landscape, ADELINE JEWELRY designs embody a rough, geometric aesthetic that is both elegant and timeless.
Alexis: Tell us a bit about how you got your start in jewelry.
Lindsay: Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t deeply interested in jewelry. Digging through the treasures in my mother’s jewelry box as a small kid, I’d grill her on the story behind each piece: what is this, where did it come from, who gave it to her, etc. My favorites had been given to her by my grandmother, who passed away before I was born. There was a special energy to them that made me feel connected to her when I held them in my hands.
The first time I experienced flow state, I was sorting through my bead collection (always hoarding treasures) and playing with color combinations. Completely immersed, and totally present. As an anxious and cerebral kid, discovering something tactile was grounding for me in a way I’d never experienced before, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.
A: What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
L: I am an early riser, and I’ve taken to starting my workday at home, sipping my second (or third!) cup of coffee while I respond to emails, go over my to do lists, and make a plan for the day. Then Bear, my Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix, and I hop in the car and head to the studio! I try to get any orders or packages prepped and packed as early as possible, just in case the day gets away from me. Then I sort of segment the rest of my studio time into sections where I focus on custom work, marketing tasks, client meetings, and if I’m lucky, a little bit of design time to play at my bench.
A: You’ve become known for your bold use of color, particularly the primary colors of red, blue and yellow. What role does color play when you are designing a piece? What inspirations are you drawing from?
L: I’m always interested in the infinite possibility of simplicity: lines, shapes, and colors, combined with asymmetry, unexpected proportions, and intentional imperfections. I think it all goes back to that idea of tapping into flow state. I started playing with primary colors as a way to bring color into my collection while keeping it restrained and controlled. I’ll take out my stones and just arrange them in different layouts and color combos until something sort of “clicks” in my design brain and I get inspired to form a piece around the stones. I could seriously do this all day long, it is my favorite part of the design process. I’ve always been hugely inspired and influenced by themes in the Bauhaus movement and modernism, from visual art to architecture. So introducing primary colors felt like a really interesting way to play on those themes: using the stones as paint in a way. These deeply saturated and vibrant colors, all naturally occurring in gemstones like red garnet, blue sapphire, or yellow citrine, can be cut into shapes and arranged in geometric patterns that evoke something unexpectedly industrial and human-made.
A: What does the idea of adornment mean to you?
L: I think the notion of adornment is inextricably tied to emotion, specifically love. A piece of jewelry, in making us feel beautiful, can help foster self love. It can commemorate a personal milestone, remind us of those we’ve lost, and of course, it can symbolize a commitment of love between two people.
A: What is on the horizon for you? Any upcoming new designs or projects you’d like to share?
L: You’ll continue to see a lot more color in unexpected combinations. I’ve also figured out a way to make a few classic solitaires that are very Adeline, and I’m excited to release that collection, as well as an expansion of my simple tried and true bands. And always, plenty of one of a kind rings and necklaces.
As an extraverted worker who does most of my job all by myself, I’m constantly hunting for other artists and organizations to partner with on projects. I have a few coming up that are going to be so much fun, so be on the lookout for some exciting collaborations.