The Dakota Stones Interview with Robyne Robinson:
How did you get started in jewelry design?
I give credit to my mother, who is a natural teacher and a very clever woman. She never told us we couldn't afford to give dozens of gifts to friends when we were young - she'd encourage us to use our creativity. I loved making jewelry, and it's stayed with me over the years. The passion for it was reignited during the years I owned an art gallery in Minneapolis and started traveling overseas.
Do you have a method, source, or tool you look to use for inspiring your designs?
Travel is a wonderful source of inspiration. Living in Greece, I learned the history of jewelry, how Greek design still influences what we wear today. I look for cultural influences, styling and trends. I also use nature as a guide. I often use bone, animal teeth, wood and fossils in my work.
How often do you work on your jewelry designs?
As the sun rises and sets - I never actually stop working. If I'm not doing physical labor, I'm thinking about what's next. It is a never ending process.
How would you describe your design style or technique?
The style ideas come organically, or with study. But my technique is pretty basic. I'm a stringer, as we're often called. Or I wire wrap on many designs. I'm eager to learn silversmithing and bezeling.
Do you work in any other mediums beside jewelry design?
I'm a sometime mixed media artist. My work has been displayed in group shows at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and non-profit art exhibition spaces.
What are your favorite stones to work with and why?
is always a favorite. It's a rich, earthy color and one that's a base chakra. A source of strength for women. Amethyst is a beautiful stone. It's said Alchemists in medieval times used them to cure migraines. I find that I gravitate to strong, warm colors that flatter ethnic skin tones and also used for healing.
What are your favorite shapes and sizes to work with and why?
I like irregular shapes so my designs are always unique. I work with all sizes of stone, but the larger the better - large stones photograph well editorially and lend to more dramatic designs for the runway.
What's your favorite jewelry trend right now?
The current trend is toward ethnic and tribal jewelry, but that's the work I've always done. So I feel like style has caught up with me! I love anything with artisan metals - Touareg and Indonesian silver, Pashtun pendants from Afghanistan.
If you could pick one person living or not to wear your jewelry, who would it be and why?
That's a tough question, because there's so many style icons to choose from. But I'll have to say my first idol - La Baker, Josephine Baker. She embodied the exoticism and freedom of an era that also included the Art Deco movement. Bold, fearless style. People forget that Baker helped save the French fashion industry after World War II - she was friends with Dior and Balmain and wore their designs when performing internationally because there was no money to promote them in France. Today there's not even a tribute to her by the Fashion Industry.
What's next? What are you working on now?
I'm expanding Rox overseas. I'm picking up a second location in Vietnam - the Pilgrimage Hotel in Hue, Central Vietnam. And I'm preparing for a possible one-hour pilot on one of the shopping networks. It's a very exciting time, and I feel very lucky and blessed.