By using new material and old techniques, Arielle de Pinto is making unique jewelry. She has found a way to treat metal as a thread and crochets pieces such as earrings, necklaces and shoes. Her inducement is to test the behavior of the technique.
JL: Hi Arielle! Can you tell us about the idea and concept of your jewelry?
AP: Well, I’ve been devoted to develop classic shapes through innovating a technique of crocheting chain. The result is quite unique; I treat the metal as if it were thread and it becomes tactile and tractable. It’s a new fabric, but made very simply from materials like fine chain that have existed since Roman civilization. Crochet belongs to no one, it is part of the common knowledge of many cultures globally, it is not even known who started it. Most people have access to these materials and knowledge. My mission has been about developing a new language from something simple and portable by using different stitches, tensions and blending techniques; creating new patterns that test the behavior of this technique. These shapes treatments are my own and the body of work reflects that.
JL: Okay, so what kind of jewelry are you making?
AP: I work predominantly in 925 Italian sterling silver and with different gold plating’s to ensure an open color palette. Recently I have included rose gold, but my classic collection is yellow gold, darkened silver and other gold colours, as well as a palladium plated ionic treatment that is like an oil spill rainbow affect. I also do have a line of stainless steel, which is a bit more affordable and allows me to work with even wilder colors, but they are more matte.
The jewelry can appeal to anyone. I can compare it to a pair of jeans, in that it can make you look great, it ends up conforming to your body and becomes a staple. Eventually the threads work as an attestation of loyalty. Somebody worked very hard to find the pattern of your favorite pair of jeans, and that is what I do, but in silver.
I have a team of girls in Montreal who I have trained, and we make all the jewelry by hand. At the end of the production I have a metal worker attaching a tiny signature tag onto the last thread, which has my logo on it. It’s very subtle branding. Not until after my sixth year of making jewelry did I put a logo on anything that was over three millimeters. Then it was tacky, now I think it’s finally chic.
JL: Where do you find inspiration?
AP: Everywhere, I travel a lot and I am always going through vintage stores, and textures will come out at me and I will figure out how to re-interpret them. I am always looking at how things are made, the patterns behind them. When you start to pay attention to it, you realize how little is actually done by machines, and how all materials we come into contact with, at some point somebody had to tame and develop it.
I also become very attached to color. With lipstick, for example, if I fall in love with one color, you will never get me to accept a substitute. That is an elemental tendency, but still a reaction having grown up in a capitalist world. We’re still as animalistic as ever.
Usually, when I am designing a collection I look at motifs that have been part of how we’ve been dressing ourselves for ages. For example, I have re-interpreted a pearl necklace probably three times, but no one would ever know. For AW14 I just finally used real pearls. In my last collection I interpreted the pelt of a tiger. Because the technique itself is new, I have the freedom of drawing on tradition without being repetitive.
JL: Cool! How long does it take to make a necklace or a ring?
AP: This I cannot say.
JL: When did you start the brand?
AP: In 2006 I got my first magazine feature, and was making one kind of piece. By September 2007 I launched my first collection.
JL: And how would you say that your brand has developed since the start?
AP: In many ways. I have developed all the hardware to support the technique. I have access to colors, more diverse materials and distribution all over the world. Now, I have a team of skilled workers and we all have different strengths, thank God.
JL: What’s new this season?
AP: Well, I am working with pearls this season and we’ve created a kind of “pearl garden” motif. The board game chains are also a completely new technique. I have always loved checkerboards, loving anything flashy, but I can never keep anything brand new. I made a sort of quadrant piece as well, keeping this season more crisp than any in the past. There is always a need to evolve, especially when you are as specialized as this company.