SHA - RECE is a jewelry brand for the contemporary. Founded by Seattle based designer Sharece Anissa Phillips, the collection celebrates a balance between the levity of child-like playfulness and the gravity of rebellious irreverence. Elements that inspire Phillips’ work are often celestial bodies, landscapes, architecture, and spaces–both physical and simulated they relate to the realities and fantasies of ourselves and the elements around us.
Each piece is handcrafted and created with the purpose to empower and inspire through conversation and creative expression, offering a meditation on identity, duality, and the relativity of perception.
We visited Sharece Phillips at Common Area Maintenance, a community-shared studio and gallery in downtown Seattle. Drawing from a background in Fine Art and Art History, Sharece’s striking collection of earrings, necklaces, and rings stand out as unique miniature sculptures.
Photography by Rachael Lang
Tell us a little about your background. What inspired you to start your jewelry line?
I went to art school originally for Art Therapy; with hopes of getting a masters Degree, my concentration was Art Education. Through several different creative outlets and many years of self-discovery, I found that it was the process of creating that was incredibly therapeutic. I’ve always been an artist and a healer since day one. I’ve also been a designer. For instance, I would pick out my own clothes when I was three. It was only in my mid-twenties that I realized it was possible to heal others through my own creative process, to indirectly serve people through my artwork.
Describe a normal day in the studio. What helps you get in the headspace for creating?
A typical day at the studio consists of me just opening the door. Everyday. I’ve always been a creative and busy person, but channeling that creativity waxes and wanes. I spend a lot of time outside of the studio searching, staying fully engaged in things that are important to me: nature, beauty, and dueling forces. It could be a word, a shape, or vibration that I try to document. I also ask a lot of questions: about myself and how I move with the world, or why nature acts in the way it does, or how people sometime act against nature…things like that. It’s when I head to the studio in the evening that I check in with myself revisiting those thoughts and feelings.
How do you approach an idea for a new design? Walk us through your creative process.
I believe I try to approach my work as a form of psychotherapy–I’m just using jewelry as my primary mode of communication. Anytime I feel compelled to make a piece, I ask myself “why did I make that?” With my recent series there was a lot of emotional processing. I had to do quite a bit of writing. Revealing my emotional stuck points in order to find a creative solution, one must identify the problem. In search of quintessential self, I would try to document everything, and look for patterns, similarities in shapes and feelings. STATERA is a Latin term for balance or the value of a thing–or to make judgments that are weighed by popular opinion. When I had started my STATERA series, I spent about a year preparing. This was my first collection, so there was a lot of uncertainty and with uncertainty, imbalance followed. Subsequently, I was discarding old emotional habits. Like a dying language, STATERA guided me through the weighing process between old and new me, letting go of feelings that were no longer useful.
Tell us about your inspiration. What are you reading, listening to, and/or looking at?
I like this question! One thing that I really enjoy doing is going to lighting stores. I love looking at contemporary light fixtures! Most of my earring designs are inspired by lights. I think I’m drawn to the radial balance. For more complex forms, what I often do is take anything I find aesthetically pleasing, and flip it upside-down. Most of the time I’m able to find something new within that altar of perspective.
From art, poetry, music, to shadows on the ground–I get my inspiration from many places. The STATERA series’ color palette was inspired by a Barkley L. Hendricks painting. Three books that I was juggling during the time of that series were Calder In Connecticut, Ethnic Jewelry: Africa, Asia, And The Pacific, and Passages In Modern Sculpture. I also had imbibed the gospel of Black American womanhood from Morgan Parker’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce. Artists that had fueled my inspiration during that time are Eva Hesse, Ruth Asawa, Solange, Kate Bush, Yvonne Rainer, and Alexander Calder. A lot of Funk and Jazz music help me channel good creative energy as well.
What’s next? Are you working on a new collection or on any special projects?
I have a look book that is in the works and I’m also hoping to develop a capsule collection by fall. That’s also when I hope to launch my second series of which I can’t speak further about just yet. With these projects ahead, it’s imperative that I remember to keep myself balanced. I tend to overwork myself. I feel I’m still defining my own voice. I’m also in the gathering phase of my creative process, still in search of sacred things that are unknown to me right now. All I know is that there is much beautiful work in need to be done.