Blazing a trail for modern jewelry, luxury jewelry designer Brittany Weiss, owner of W Britt, takes a unique approach when it comes to inspiration and her design processes.
Weiss has mastered the art of turning often overlooked objects into beautiful and wearable jewelry pieces. The W. Britt collections consist of a delicate mixture of architectural and geometric shapes, industrial fixtures and natural elements. Educated in Israel and New York City, Weiss’ designs have caught the eyes of many A-list celebrities like Kate Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Lupita Nyongo, Khloe Kardashian, and many others.
We chatted with the owner of W. Britt about everything from her design process to the secrets behind her unique creativity, so you can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary too.
Q: Do you have any kind of rituals perhaps to inspire creativity?
A: Meditation for 20 minutes most mornings. This helps center my thoughts. When I can do that and let my creative mind roam free, insights begin to open up.
My Grandmother is also an inspiration in this regard; from a young age she taught me how to see the beauty in everything. When we would go on walks and I would run ahead, she would be behind me picking up one of falls first fallen leaves, “isn’t this beautiful, all of the colors, look at G-d’s creations.” When I look at things with fresh eyes as if seeing it for the first time, the wonder is there.
Q: How does the process of creating jewelry look like for you?
A: When I see an object that peaks my attention I start to ask questions. What would it look like if it were a bracelet? My imagination shrinks it down and curves it to my wrist. ‘That would be interesting, but I think it needs this extra curve or more open space to create balance.’ Aesthetically pleasing proportions are key to a good design. Then my mind continues to wonder, ‘What if the material was silver and I added some inlaid lapis, no, Malachite, no Lapis and Malachite?’
Then maybe I’ll take a picture of this object that caught my attention. I will take this seed of an idea home with me and play around with it more and more. It would look beautiful as a bracelet but how would it look as an earring? How can I extract different shapes from the original inspiration and transform them but still keep the initial essence of the object? This is also how I start to build out a larger collection.
After collecting inspiration from my surroundings, mostly the city environment, the next step is sketching the concepts and reviewing and refining each design. Once a design is finalized, I do a watercolor rendering of it to help bring the piece to life and decide upon colors. Then there is a computer model generated from the design to ensure all the measurements and intricate details are correct. A wax model of the piece is then printed on a 3D printer, which is cast, finished, assembled, polished, set with stones and it is ready to wear.
Q: How do you get out of a creative rut?
A: Whenever I feel the world seems repetitive, I take a step back and focus on the small details- a blade of grass, a crack in the sidewalk- and the whole world can open up. Get curious, curiosity is the best remedy to being stuck, keep asking questions and different answers will present themselves.
During the design process my only job is to show up.
Some days inspiration hits when I least expect it. Some days I will be working all day grinding it out and when hopelessness begins to set in the spark arrives. However there are other days, when I have to call it a day and get up from my desk and perhaps take a walk or watch TV to distract my brain, give it a break and start fresh tomorrow. Other rituals that help keep my creativity stimulated are traveling, going to museums, yoga, reading, journaling, hiking, meandering down the city blocks. Any activity that will help shift my perspective. Sometimes my brain can get stuck in one loop, or one boring topic. When I am able to switch up my environment or my thought process it helps reset my thinking and opens up space for new ideas.