THE UNLIMITED sat down with artistic renaissance woman Alice Waese for an interview about evolution, inspiration, and collaboration.
THE UNLIMITED: How did you wind up making jewelry?
Alice Waese: I moved to New York from Toronto when I was twenty and became Maria Cornejo’s designer's assistant. She taught me everything about being a designer as well as how to run a business. Though I liked out joint work, I didn’t like the disposable nature of fashion, of making more clothes season after season. I thought, “the world really doesn’t need another dress.” So I went to Goldsmiths University in London for a year and then I dropped out. I knew I didn’t want to work in fashion, but my passion for adornment and my work in the sculpting studio during my year at school, focused me on jewelry. I ended up putting the two together - fashion and sculpture. Jewelry is really interesting. It has crazy history and working with metal is a really emotionally charged process.
TU: Tell us about your book
AW: Those That Don't is my second book, a limited edition of twenty. It has three different covers. It starts with my drawings, a good way for me to get my drawings into the collection and bring the jewelry together with the artwork. The books have a little secret compartment in the back, so it’s this little cutout secret that you have with the book, and you get something precious in there.
Click and Drag to flip through the pages
TU: What inspires you?
AW: Sometimes I work purely from imagination. I never look at magazines and I should go to art shows a lot more than I do. I’m pretty internal and I get a lot of inspiration from materials. I work with nature in the beginning, turning something in nature into something else that people see as a precious item and realize the beauty in it. I do a lot of castings of things that I find that have no value whatsoever, then change them from something that’s essentially valueless to something that’s extremely precious. I use a lot of black diamonds and 24-carat and 18-carat gold, which creates a really interesting transformation.
TU: How do you go from making different pieces to making a full-blown collection?
AW: I’m always trying to find ways to bring the collection together, because I think it is confusing for people. The shoes come out of the drawings; the jewelry comes out of the jacket. It’s the evolution of inspiration.
TU: How do you manage the transition between the different types of art forms you touch upon?
AW: I don’t really think about mediums. Obviously there’s a difference between making a pair of shoes, making a piece of jewelry, and making a painting or a book. But they relate to each other. For instance, I made shoes that came out of a drawing. They were worn by a caricature I drew and I decided to actually make them. The same thing goes for the jewelry. I guess it all comes from the same place.