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Welcome to Open Studio, a Racked feature where we explore the workspaces and showrooms of some of the city's most talented, up-and-coming designers.
- "I try to get business stuff done at this desk. I’m always like, I don’t want to sit over there, I don’t want to do that stuff!"
- "The illustrations and paintings are sort of where I start, usually. They'll sometimes turn up in prints on the clothing, or in jewelry. Then there are these epic battle scenes that I always focus on. Honestly, I have no idea where they come from."
- "I also did this dead pet series where their souls are all coming out of them. For a second growing up, we had a lot of pets. My mom left and my dad, I think, filled it up with like, goldfish, a dog, two parrots, two turtles, and fighting fish. It was jus
- "This is just a bunch of different stuff that always moves around with me. There are some Eva Hesse sculptures and old tribal jewelry. Some are my paintings, and a Richard Prince at the top."
- "I saw all these Ethiopian paintings recently, and they do a really similar thing where there’s millions of characters, and like, no depth perspective. Maybe it’s a past life thing—they're my inspiration. I don’t really pull from outside things, it’s more
- "This is the beginning of my second full-on clothing collection, which isn’t that full-on. Over there is where I'm working on packaging—all the little tags and stuff. The rest of the collection is all in Midtown right now, but this is the beginni
- "These are the clothing labels, and I put them on a sterling silver chain, and they'll be on the backs of the necks. All the hang tabs get filled out individually."
- "For the first collection, I took apart a fish I bought at the store, and this is its head. And this is from a sheep jaw, and that's a little bird beak, which I found in a park in London. I just had the bones—ew, no, I did not take the flesh off. With th
- "These rubber molds are basically a negative of the thing that it’s cast from. So, for instance, this is cast from silk cocoon, so you take the original piece and cover it in whatever it needs to be covered."
- "All the jewelry here has been made over the past four years. A lot of them are animal based—I think I'm getting more and more into animals—and some are food based. There's one charm that's cast from a pistachio, and two others from walnuts, and a pine co
"I call the little guy the Voodoo Baby. He's sort of one of the characters in my drawings. I don't think he's evil—I think he's good—but he's a little creepy."
Top row, from left to right: Skull voodoo pendant, $950; Skull pendant, $782; Axis c
- Silver Beasty Snake in sterling silver, $1,333
- Linked bangles in sterling silver, $1,684; Fingers Crossed pendant in sterling silver, $600; Stitch ring in
- "I never really wore jewelry before I started making it. I don’t have any. I find it amazing but, unless it’s like, a family heirloom, I never wore it. I was fascinated with cutlery when I was a kid. I kind of wanted to be a cutlery designer for a while.
- Tall Bark ring, $690; Rosa ring with black diamonds in sterling silver, $1,794; Carved abstract ring with black diamond in sterling silver, $2,760; Crater ring in sterling silver, $805; Square ring with black diamond in sterling silver, $2,760; Aquila rin
- "The safety pins are really simple, but you can buy them to fasten a sweater or whatever. The smaller ones can come on chains, like pendants. That piece in the back never made it. I never tried to sell it. You can’t bend your finger when you put that thin
- "My books are a good way to think about each collection, because they start off with the illustrations in the front, which are printed on a risograph printer. It's kind of like silkscreening. Each color is done separately. At the back of the book, they al
- "Horse Back," limited-edition book with silver ring on a chain hidden in back pages, $2000
- "I’m always really into packaging, and I wanted another way to display the jewelry and also to tie the illustrations in with the product. I’ve sold a couple of of my illustrations, and I always feel quite bad when I do. We sold the original of this one, a
- Hands bracelet in 18k gold, $18,000, (sterling silver $1,457)
- "I made a bunch of these casts to display rings on, and I was hauling them back and forth from Paris and eventually left them at a friend’s house. This is the only one I have here, and over time time the fingers fell off. And the middle finger is the only
- "I feel like my clothing collection is almost a no-brainer to me. It’s the stuff that I want to wear. A lot of people see it and they don’t dress anything like that, but they still want to wear my clothes."
- "I have three feral cats, my boyfriend rescues them. He does catch and release, so he gets them neutered and spayed and puts them in a shelter and finds homes for them. But these three we ended up with, and they’re kittens, so they’re adorable. They’re sl
Photos: Driely S. for Racked
"To be honest, I don't really like jewelry," isn't something you'd expect to hear coming from the mouth of a jewelry designer, but Alice Waese expresses it freely. She does, however, admit that she was "fascinated with cutlery" as a child and once considered designing forks and knives for a living. Fortunately for all those who do like jewelry, she didn't.
Trained in fine arts, Alice Waese begins the design process with pen-and-ink drawings of anything from epic battle scenes to mythical hybrid animals, then plucks motifs from those sketches—voodoo babies, dripping hands, skulls, hearts—to feature in her jewelry. What isn't inspired by her illustrations often comes from the more overlooked corners of nature—she's cast jewelry from pistachio shells, the jaw of a sheep, pine cones, and a bird skull she discovered in a London park.
We visited Alice's studio on a quiet block just south of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where she discussed the origins of her obsession with animals (she currently has three feral kittens), her incredible, $2,000 limited-edition books (each includes a piece of jewelry in a hidden cutout), and her clothing line.
· Open Studio [Racked NY]