“I love that I get to embody and immortalize people and their personalities in my work, whether the piece was made specifically for them or inspired by them.”
After leaving a ten year stint in brand strategy and “only a little bit of an idea” of what to do next, the one thing Dee de Lara was certain of was her conviction to create something tangible, and to tell stories with the products of her creation. Utilizing her professional background of digging into what, how and why people, culture and brands do what they do, she took the same approach to jewelry by delving deeper into the meanings of items to create new narratives, which is how her line of ‘jewelry with a story’ was born.
As a self-taught jewelry designer that started silversmithing as a hobby, her first foray into the craft was through making pieces for fun, which then turned into personalized pieces (each of them is named after the person it was created for or inspired by). Citing the materials as the first step in the design process, Dee says, “I look everywhere for inspiration, and wonder what I can turn into jewelry. Then I see patterns before the actual details.” Rarely pausing to sketch out ideas, Dee jumps right into the hands-on part of the process, eager to emerge with something concrete in her hands. Citing the Surrealist and Dada art movements, along with the notion of “readymades” – found objects elevated into art through recontextualization – as the inspiration behind her design, Dee admires the whimsicality and contradiction within these movements and expresses these values through her jewelry.