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.