These days I find it harder to come across interesting jewelry. So I was really pleased when that I discovered Vanessa Chew’s line of wooden jewelry called Roots. This is jewelry that stands out both for the design and the material used.
I caught up with Vanessa over email to find out more about Roots.
1. How did the idea for making wooden jewelry come about?
The idea came about organically. I was making coasters as gifts for my family and friends one Christmas while in grad school. The jewelry was born out of the desire to keep the off-cuts that resulted from those gifts out of the waste stream.
2. What is the inspiration for the pieces?
Geometry, sustainability, my family and friends.
3. What makes the jewelry sustainable?
The jewelry is made with re-purposed wood, originally off-cuts that would otherwise go to waste. In keeping with that, I now source salvaged wood or off-cut wood.
4. Where do you get the wood from?
It’s an ongoing search but I try to keep all my sourcing local.
5. Do you cut the wood chips yourself?
I prepare the raw wood myself in a woodshop. I cut each board and the jewelry pieces according to it’s shape, size, and grain of the wood. I then hand sand and finish each piece.
6. What kind of a woman do you see wearing your pieces?
I find Roots appeals to a wide range so I’ve seen interest from those who are sustainably minded, to the fashion forward. It’s a great blend of both.
7. Can you tell me about your background?
I received my Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt a few years ago. It was through my study abroad in Copenhagen during my time in grad school where I fell in love with wood as a material. There was a great amount of respect and appreciation for the tree from which the wood came. I connected with that and the natural beauty of wood.
8. How did the name Roots come about?
Roots means many things. It references where wood comes from, the tree. It also refers to whom I originally created the jewelry for, my family and friends. And the name Roots also refers to this jewelry line being the foundation from which Vanessa Chew Designs begins. ♥