Jose Sierra is a New Orleans jeweler with a background in architecture. The combination of fashion and function makes Jose’s pieces quite unique.
Rubber teardrop earrings
Tell Slow Southern Style readers a little about yourself. You studied architecture, how does this translate into your jewelry design?
I’ve never really had any desire or intention to mass produce my designs. My goal is to create interesting, one of a kind pieces. Even when i’m making multiples of a design I make each piece individually or at least a little different from the others. I get real satisfaction and joy in knowing that one person out there has this one piece that they really love that no one else has.
Architecture shows up in my designs in subtle, inherent ways. My work is about the balance between curves and lines and the visual weight of my pieces. I draw a lot of inspiration from building elements:the simple curve of an arch, the angle of an overhang, a structural detail, or decorative element in a fence.
You’ve spent time in San Francisco and you are from New Orleans. I find the cities have some similarities and many differences. How has each influenced your work?
It wasn’t until i moved to San Francisco that i began to study metal working techniques and to produce work that I felt good about putting out there. You can credit New Orleans with nurturing the creative spark and San Francisco with giving me the tools and abilities to translate it into something interesting and appealing.
While living in San Francisco my work had the tendency to be sharper, harder and more directly affected by architectural elements. Now that I’m back home in New Orleans my primary influences have remained the same, but the results tend to be more abstract such as studies of form and movement and the fluidity found within architecture and nature.
Your work has been featured quite a bit in art galleries and fashion shows. How do you perceive your work, as art, fashion, or both? Do you think there is a difference between the two, or is fashion an extension of the art world?
To answer the art vs. fashion question, i’m going to say both, but probably more art than fashion. I don’t tend to follow or study fashion trends except for my admitted addiction to project runway. Instead I work more towards creating modern, yet classic pieces that are interesting, comfortable and hopefully, fashionable.
When at its best I certainly think that fashion is a part of the art world. You have to study the art as it passes by on the runway as an alternative to viewing in a more static form hanging in an art gallery. I’ve seen my work n both settings and by far I prefer seeing it in action.
What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I’m notorious for my lack of planning! That said I have some good intentions that are currently floating around.
I’m working on incorporating more handmade glass (not made by me) and semi precious stones into my designs. I’m working on a series of traditional cocktail rings and soon I’ll be starting work on a series of dia de los muertos inspired rings, neckware, and maybe more.
I’m also trying to vend at a few local art markets in the fall.
Define southern style.
Slow is a big part of how i’d define southern style. Easy, free flowing, loose, brash, refined, eclectic, eccentric, traditional, languid, sultry, vital are other words that define it.
Southern style is contradictory and harmonious; like all of us down here; a bit of a mess, pieced together with a little more thought given to comfort than convention, and in the end uniquely southern. It’s what each one of us makes of it, and goes great with bourbon.
Double edge ring
Jose’s work is currently available in his Etsy shop.
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