Designer Feature | Natalie Joy
Natalie Joy jewelry uses both unique and traditional metalworking techniques. Her work mixes clean shapes with melted silver studs and hand drawn style lines, creating statement pieces that have a casual feel. Her latest collection, STREAM/LINE, was inspired by Bauhaus textiles and prints with an emphasis on clean, structural lines. We chatted with Natalie about her work and got a glimpse of her home studio in Portland, OR.
Photography by Kelly Wilde & Evie McShane
Why did you become a jewelry designer?
For as long as I can remember I have been a tangible person with a strong desire to create objects with my hands. That urge has never left me; it just evolved through different mediums and outlets. In college I studied metalwork and ceramics with a particular interest in small-scale, semi-wearable sculpture. After graduating I worked at a jewelry design company for several years both making the jewelry and taking on a managerial role in the office. My interest in sculpture and adornment didn’t fade, and eventually I found a way to satisfy my desire to make sculpture in a purely wearable format. With the knowledge gained from my job and the inspiration to create my own collection, I started Natalie Joy.
Who do you see, as you design and create, wearing your pieces?
Initially I envisioned my work on a pedestal instead of a body. At the same time, I would make very wearable pieces for my friends that I didn’t consider to be art. With Natalie Joy, those two ends of the spectrum meet in the middle. I imagine my pieces to be worn as a statement more than an addition to an outfit. I see them on someone with easy, clean, simple style who can appreciate the bold sculptural elements of my jewelry.
How does the Pacific Northwest inspire you?
I am a Cancer, so my surroundings or “my shell” affect me immensely. The pace, energy and overwhelming beauty of the Pacific Northwest keep me calm and fuel my creativity. I tend to be a little neurotic and anxious, so living and working here is like environmental medicine.
Any future plans for the jewelry line? Concrete realities or dreams?
I plan to continue learning new techniques and becoming a better craftsperson. What matters most to me is creating pieces that I find meaningful and resonate powerfully for people who wear them.