Isobell Designs x Hearth Magazine

Some very exciting news to share! I'm published! First time ever seeing my work in print and it feels grrrrrreat!

I had the exciting opportunity to write about my friend Melody of Isobell Designs. Betsi and I have been doing some behind-the-scenes work for her this past year: managing her online newsletter mailing list, overseeing advertising needs, collaborating with bloggers to host giveaways, landing press mentions, etc. We worked together to streamline her brand identity and launched a new site in Spring 2014. Additionally, I modeled the Winter 2014 Collection lookbook which was heaps of fun! Nowadays I'm channeling my time and energy into the SLO Farmers' Market Cookbook so Betsi is Mel's go-to-gal :)

Early March during a City trip, we ventured over the Bay Bridge so that we could both interview Melody. I wanted to get content for my Hearth Magazine story and Betsi wanted to film the interview to edit it into a studio tour to be paired with the launch of Melody's new Spring/Summer '14 Wild Coast collection. Have a look, she did a radical job:

Shot & Edited by: Betsi Clark // Art Direction: Betsi Clark & Kendra Aronson // Music: Django by Grant Green

It's equal parts daunting and thrilling to see your words and photos in print! I've been on a story-pitching binge to bulk up my writing portfolio and I look forward to churning out more content for other online outlets and tangible publications! Below is the story and my favorite photos from the shoot, I hope you enjoy it! xo, K. 

ISOBELL DESIGNS

alchemy |ˈalkəmē| noun: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
Melody Shirazi, founder and jewelry maker of Isobell Designs, is a true modern day alchemist.

“It reminds me a bit about the power of an alchemist because you take nothing and you are creating something powerful from it,” says Melody. She crafts her pieces starting with vintage components or stock metal in the form of pipes, sheet, or wire. Then, using traditional hand tools - saws, hammers, torches and a drill, she turns these raw materials into beautiful wearable objects by hand sawing, hammering, and soldering. Centered around historical design, created with traditional metal working processes, and made with love in her Oakland, California studio, each Isobell Designs line is a unique, limited-edition collection that Melody hopes will inspire confidence in each individual wearer through her craftsmanship.

Utilizing her background in Graphic Design and Photography, Melody felt compelled to create a separate identity to encapsulate and truly showcase an additional creative side of herself. “I always really enjoyed photography, but I never really picked up a camera with purpose and intent to create great work until college. I always looked at my photography as fine art, my graphic design as a sustainable career, and my jewelry making as a hobby - all separate entities,  but all very much a part of me.” As her craft began to develop and mature, she realized that jewelry making was where her skills were intersecting. In essence, this is how Isobell Designs came to be - born out of the head, the heart, and the hands of maker Melody.  “I love how jewelry making allows me to be wildly creative. I’m able to take my sketches and ideas and turn them into tangible pieces of art.”

When creating new collections, she draws her inspiration from many sources: 1920s American architecture, Art Deco design, and geometric shapes. “I think there is a really beautiful combination of ‘the natural’ and ‘the geometric’ that align closely together in 1920s architecture that really inspires me. Uptown Oakland is so beautiful because this metropolitan area has been constructed among all this preserved beautiful architecture from the 1920s;  for example an old Art Deco movie theatre or a beautiful preserved coffee shop that has all the original 20s motifs.” Viewing this side of town through Melody’s lens means noticing the ornate details on the facades, admiring the intricate linear patterns of the colorful tile work, and appreciating the elongated and elegant typography.

Along with these inspirational industrial elements, Melody also incorporates her natural physical surroundings into her jewelry designs. “I thought that I would be more influenced by the ocean in this new collection but it’s actually the mountains that I’ve been really drawn to. Particularly Mt. Diablo - which is really close to my workshop, I spend a lot of time hiking there. This new collection has a lot natural elements to it.  It’s still very geometric but the geometric forms have a certain fluidity that comes out of the natural elements.” Her latest Spring/Summer ‘14 line is entitled “Wild Coast”, which pays homage to the rugged California coastline and its rolling hills, peaking summits, and sky-high redwoods. “This collection in particular has a lot of color and gemstones. There are mostly earth tones and neutrals but I think that makes it easier for people to wear and layer with more statement pieces.” For those familiar with the glory of the Golden State, you will recognize pieces named after places that are near and dear to Melody: Cayucos, Siskiyou, Orinda, Capitola. Each place is deeply rooted in her personal journey and she is sure to add more as her explorations of California continue.

Melody’s “Wild Coast” Spring/Summer ‘14 Collection is available at isobelldesigns.com.

Originally published in Hearth Magazine, Volume 4