Laura Estrada jewelry is a latinx-owned accessories brand founded in 2018 by designer Laura Estrada, and based in Los Angeles. Functioning as a multifaceted creative studio, she handcrafts sustainably made jewelry collections + creates custom, conceptually driven, sculptural adornment for the body. Combining ancient metalsmithing methods with an innovative design sensibility, she seeks to create meaningful and timeless wearable art heirlooms.
Tell us about yourself.
As far back as I can remember, I have been making little objects with my hands out of any material I could find. I would just find sticks and things and just like make little sculptures all the time. So I always knew that I was going to be doing something like building with my hands and creative. I come from a nomadic, eccentric, working class Guatemalan American family and making art always felt like a way to tell my story. The jewelry that I make is a reflection of my own personal experience and the way that I relate to and cope with the world we live in. My hope is that this sentiment can translate through the work and create a sense of empowerment and connection in each individual that wears my jewelry.
How did you come to be a jewelry artist?
I studied at the art school at the University of Georgia, and I was kind of all over the place. I actually studied performance art at first – you could catch me running around naked in the hallway. It was a whole thing. I took a jewelry course and found it to be the craziest, hardest, coolest thing I've ever done – I fell in love with working with metal. I fell in love with the medium. I gained a super technical background and I started crafting my own eyewear – I would fabricate every part down to the screw. It was crazy. That just got me really into metal in a really nerdy way. Then I spent the next few years studying under a master goldsmith and learned everything about goldsmithing and diamond work, while at the same time honing my craft and creating my own aesthetic
How does where you live influence your work?
I kind of have this very traditional metalsmithing background but then I live in LA and I'm really involved in the fashion world so I kind of straddle both sides in a really cool way. I think you can see in all my pieces there's this sort of craftsmanship and sort of learned feeling to it. They're all very precise and technical but I've also adapted to the fashion industry and I'm trying to create new cutting edge pieces that people are inspired by and can set trends.
What do you love about your craft?
Jewelry and the medium of metal is endlessly fascinating to me. Humans have been adorning themselves for thousands and thousands of years, and there is no end of that in sight. It's an expression of life, taste, ritual, of what it means to be human. I like the timelessness and longevity of jewelry -- it makes me feel like I can be a part of a story, that the work I make can have purpose and meaning that lasts far longer than myself. I've always been taught to question the nature of jewelry. How it's worn, where it's worn. Rather than just making an earring I'm interested in other parts of the body. If I can shake that up a little bit that's really exciting to me to disrupt things.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I look a lot at the history of art, adornment of different cultures, like headpieces and armor. Humans have been making wild and innovative things forever.. So rather than looking around me at what other people are doing, I look to the past and I also like to look towards the future. How technology and art intersect. I have a couple pieces that I've made into face filters which haven't released yet. Finding a way to preserve the handmade but at the same time embracing the fact that times are changing. I want to celebrate the advancement of technology but also keep the nature of hand made in my work.