Dance has always inspired me. I am at my happiest when I dance. I always want to create pieces of jewellery that reflect the joy I feel dancing. The movement, the colour, the vibrance and the fun are all emotions I try and capture in my pieces.Astrid
That influence and feeling shines through in Melbourne’s Love Astrid signature style we have been loving for years! Read on as Astrid shares why making creates happiness and the meditative qualities her work brings. We can’t help but feel uplifted by Astrid’s work and colourful designs.
Be sure to visit Love Astrid’s Finders Keepers Shop too! We’re sure you’ll find a keeper.
Who is behind Love Astrid and how did it start?
My name is Astrid and I’m the everything-under-the sun behind Love Astrid. Before Love Astrid, I was working as a radio announcer and social media producer for ABC Radio. After I finished my work contract with ABC, I honestly didn’t know what to do next but I had always wanted to work in fashion.
With my whole career being in radio I had no practical knowledge of jewellery making. I didn’t even know what pliers were called, let alone even held them before. I did have a strong urge to do something creative and to make with my hands. Between hunting for another job and enrolling in fashion business school I began playing around with a stash of craft materials that belonged to my sister-in-law.
At that time Melbourne was pretty monochrome, very black, white and grey. I am the absolute opposite of that. So I set to work creating a necklace that reflected my personality. Something vibrant and bold. My first piece was a hand-dyed yellow-orange fringe necklace that I wore almost everywhere back then.
I enjoyed the process of making, and I loved wearing the pieces I had created, so I kept on perfecting my skills. Learning by doing, experimenting, and letting my creativity run wild.
My husband was always encouraging me to start selling the jewellery, but the moment when it clicked and the idea of Love Astrid emerged, was during Finders Keepers Market A/W 2014 in Melbourne. I was helping a friend with her stall and was stopped by a number of people asking where I got my necklace from. After that, I finally opened an Etsy shop and turned my hobby into a business. That was late 2014 and here we are now.
How has your label developed over the years and what do you love most about creating jewellery?
Funnily enough, not long after I started Love Astrid my husband and I went travelling for almost 3 years. Love Astrid grew while we were on the road. We were nomads working, living and travelling from all parts of the world.
I packed all my jewellery supplies and tools into a backpack weighing 25kg. It was my portable studio and it followed us through SE Asia, Europe and Africa. I would make and send my jewellery from Bali to Barcelona, from Agadir to Amsterdam and London to Lyon to name a few. Working remotely then was up and coming but mostly for those working on digital products. Working remotely as a jewellery maker was quite unheard of! It was the craziest yet the best time of my life.
Hand-dyed tassel and rope are the staple materials used in my designs and I have tried to keep these core to all my pieces. This still leaves plenty of scope or experimentation. I am always experimenting with different dyes, colour, creating shapes and the mixing in other complimentary materials.
Over the years my range has grown from necklaces to also include earrings, bracelets. I have grown in confidence with how I use colour, straying from classic combinations to bolder and more eclectic colourways. Early on all my pieces were all rope and cotton, but now I also mix in brass, wood and leather.
My design process has also evolved to be more intuitive. Designing and making are two different things. Making the first prototype is the most challenging process. Creativity isn’t always on tap and can’t be planned.
It takes turning up each day and many versions and refinements to form and create the vision of what’s in my head. Multiple failed attempts lead to my successes. Sometimes the failures lead to new ideas styles I didn’t plan.
Creating jewellery makes me happy. I’m not sure if other makers can relate to this but whenever I’m in the studio making jewellery I get into a flow. It’s just me with my materials and tools and some music playing in the background. It is a kind of meditation for me.
…whenever I’m in the studio making jewellery I get into a flow. It’s just me with my materials and tools and some music playing in the background. It is a kind of meditation for me.
What influences your work, is there a person or business you admire and look up to?
Dance has always inspired me. I am at my happiest when I dance. I always want to create pieces of jewellery that reflect the joy I feel dancing. The movement, the colour, the vibrance and the fun are all emotions I try and capture in my pieces.
At the start of my Love Astrid journey, I was hugely influenced by African culture with their colourful neck and head-pieces. I combined this with my love for salsa dancing which inspired the use of tassel. My earliest work is a mix of these two cultures. Colourful statement necklaces with hand-dyed fringe.
My work has drawn a lot from my travelling. People from other cultures, their fashion, architecture and their murals have all influenced my designs. Now that I am more settled the world of art is a constant source of inspiration.
In terms of the people that I admire, Mary Katrantzou is for me at the top of the list. The way she works with bold patterns and colour inspires me. Her designs really stood out in the world of fashion, at a time when black and white dominated.
From a business point of view, I admire Emily Green and Lisa Gorman. Their work over the years before me have really created a market that has enabled designers and makers like me to thrive. They were fundamental in shifting attitudes to the quality of handmade and quirky design.
What are you listening, reading, watching?
As I mentioned listening to music while I work is part of my process. I have what I call my ‘Work playlist’ on Deezer (Europe’s version of Spotify). It consists of only salsa music. I love to shake my booty while making the jewellery, hahaha .. I really do.
My musical tastes are pretty eclectic :p. Outside of my studio, I listen to 90’s – early 2000’s hip hop and R&B music like Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek duo), The Fugees, Common, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, etc. To mix it up I also listen to folk music like Iron & Wine, Mumford and Sons and Johnny Flynn.
I’m also an avid reader. Oh gosh, I used to read A LOT. I used to read 2-3 books in a week. But since having my son I take a little longer to finish a book. During the day I am reading Anxiety by Dr Mark Cross and The Lord Of The Ring The Two Tower, before bed.
I am currently watching psychological thrillers in the ’90s, like Se7en, Primal Fear, Cape Fear, etc.
Sing out to a fellow maker and tell us what it is about their work that speaks to you?
One of my favourites ever is the lovely Claire Ritchie. Her distinctive way of designing and using colour is outstanding. I’ve watched her IG story where she did what she calls ‘Wall Draw’ and it’s one of the most inspiring things I’ve watched. Her thoughtful approach in producing her line of design also what makes me admire her more. Ethical design at its finest.