Since we are all physically disconnected right now as we STAY AT HOME, we’ve been reaching out virtually to some of our favorite designers to see how they are doing in these strange times.
Shane Yamane of S. Yamane Studio is the newest jeweler to join the ESQUELETO family, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome his thoughtful, timeless designs to our website. Shane launched his line in NYC in 2008, creating wearable heirlooms meant to last for generations, and is committed to preserving traditional techniques while incorporating modern methods and technologies. Growing up in Hawaii, Shane was always deeply inspired by the ocean and forests, and that natural inspiration carries over into his jewelry designs which highlight the natural beauty of the stones he hand carves into organic forms.
Shane is fortunate enough to have access to his tools during these NYC shelter-in-place orders, and he filmed a lovely video for us showing a lapidary project from start to finish!
Rachel: Shane, welcome to the ESQUELETO family! We are so honored to represent you. I would love to know how and when did you start making jewelry? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Shane: I’m very excited and honored to be part of the ESQUELETO line up! I found my way to making jewelry here in NYC. After moving from Hawaii to attend school, I studied textile design and later worked in fashion for several years before setting up full time here in Chinatown. I’ve long been fascinated by the craft of jewelry making, and over the years, I’ve built my studio gradually and organically. The core of what inspires me can be found in the details; specifically, the process and the problem-solving inherent in the craft. There’s a personal relationship you develop with the materials you use and it's fascinating and challenging to balance set
expectations while allowing the process to guide you to where you need to be.
R: You do your own lapidary work and cut each agate stone by hand; this enables each piece of jewelry to become one of a kind and completely unique. I know this series is relatively new; what excites you the most about this series and how do you see it evolving?
S: Collecting different agates from across the U.S. has fast become an obsession of mine, and I hope to introduce more of what I found in future projects. I love the hunt to find great material and the process of creating new work from the ground up. Doing it all in-house is time consuming but rewarding, and I am looking forward to seeing how it all evolves.
I’m grateful to have most of my lapidary equipment available while still safely isolating and have taken time to have fun and work on some stone projects I’ve been procrastinating on. The project in the video is my interpretation of a famous Japanese folk doll. The image of a “Daruma” has always been in the back of my mind. It’s popular in Japanese folklore and represents goals, perseverance, and good luck. The circumstances, the medium, and the subject seemed to come together during these trying times, and the process happened organically.
R: How long have you been living in Chinatown, NYC? What is it about this community that you love and keeps you invested in living there?
S: Chinatown holds a special place in my heart; I've lived in this neighborhood for half my life and feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to start a business here and be a part of such a welcoming community. What keeps me invested in Chinatown is, in part, its location. Being near many subway lines enables me to carry about my business in key parts of the city that are pertinent to my industry quickly and efficiently. At the same time, limitless dining experiences, groceries of all kinds, and virtually all the conveniences of daily life are within a short walk. Being one of NYC’s oldest ethnic communities, economic disparities still exist here. Over the years I have learned more about Chinatown and the services available to those less fortunate, and I have incorporated ways that my business can be a part of these services, whether it’s volunteering my time or fundraising.