I tend to approach design from a rather non-design point of view. For me, it's not about the coolest shape or the most interesting movement. At least, it doesn't start there. My first concern is connection. From relationships to objects, nature, and people, I strive to connect to that which surrounds me in my everyday life. That is the first step of design for me. From there, I look for bright moments that are begging for attention. jewelry designer sketchbook

When the sketches are finalized and the pieces of brass, bronze, and silver have arrived, then we can start making new jewelry.

In the case of the You + Me collections, I wanted to explore relationships and human connection, how we connect, and how that translates into shape. I was also on a mission to create some sophisticated best-friend pieces, like the nostalgic necklaces we are all familiar with. I wanted to recreate that with less of an overt statement about friendship and more of a subtle nod to individual connections. Some of the best examples of this are the Tuyo y Mía ring set from pt. 1 (below, left) and the Ela cuff and Nisi cuff from pt. 2. (below, right) betsy & iya rings and cuffs Instead of each person being only half of one side of a friendship, each person is their own individual (sometimes dissonant) part that when put together creates something different, new, and becomes harmonious as its own thing.  To me, the strongest relationships involve two complete parts that make a whole new thing together. These pieces achieved this concept for me. For pt. 1, my focus was newness, the more rigid, awkward, yet beautiful thing that happens when one slips into any kind of new relationship. There is strength and boldness and sharpness and moments of confusion and powerful moments of love. you+me collection by betsy & iya

Our website banner image for You + Me, pt. 1, which reflected the collection's "new love" inspiration.

With pt. 2, my focus was what happens to relationships after years and years pass–an exploration of an older love. I saw a softness, a roundness, almost like our jewelry which is tumbled for hours and hours and days at a time to take off the sharp edges–we tumble, we dance, we fall, and get back up, our shape changes and deepens over time. I wanted to explore how history and time shapes relationships and love. We curve into one another and hold each other. This is why you'll see a roundness repeated in almost all the pieces. A theme of twos emerges–two bars here, two jump rings there, two dissimilar halves of a circle, two mirroring trapezoids, etc. Again, I see strength and power in two complete things joining together to create something new. betsy & iya jewelry themes So what does all of this mean for me personally? What is my "You + Me" story? Well, it's evolving, but I'll tell you what it has been so far, and what it is now. My Y+M story starts with a little bit of fear–who am I? what do I want in this life? (I know, I know, like huge big things). I went from a quiet, shy girl who lit up a party to someone who shook with nerves in front of her first few theater audiences to someone who pushed miles past her comfort zone and worked to her bones until she found it- found herself. A wholeness. small business husband and wife team behind betsy & iya

You + Me - aka Betsy & Will - at Multnomah Falls earlier this year.

Looking from my early 20s to now, I see a fearful girl who ran into the wild wide open and discovered what it was she loved about life. I'm still doing that. I'm still learning. But I found the "me" in there somewhere and I let her fly. Looking into my future from there, this is not where I would have seen myself land. I went farther than I thought I could and I think I'm still going. Somewhere in there I found a "you" who was wholly himself from an early time, from the moment I met him. We travelled together and we travelled far far apart, but we ended up searching for each other in the end when everything had fallen into place, when we were who we wanted to be and we were our own people, fully. My husband is my partner in business and life, but we are so definitely and fully our own people. Sometimes this causes eruptions but mostly it causes collaboration and explosive connection and some very good ideas. We complement each other and we fit together, we curve into one another and we've find a softness and depth that we didn't know existed. A lot of these same things can be applied to other strong friendships and relationships in my life now. betsy & iya You + Me, pt. 2 collection

The full 19-piece You + Me, pt. 2 collection.

The names of the pieces in pt. 2 are different languages for: time, here, turn, together, soft, life, love, light, and us. They are also places where I've adventured (slash: fallen in love...) with the love of my life. I hope you'll see these moments in the collection and find your own connection to the work. And hey, it's nice to talk to you guys again here. I've missed you. :) -Betsy P.S. For more insights into my design process, check out How to Design a Jewelry Collection: A 15-Step Tutorial and You + Me, pt. 1: The Birth of a Collection.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *. Comments must be approved before they are published.