Imagine being able to carry a reminder of your favorite place with you where ever you go. Now imagine getting to wear a piece of jewelry that is utterly unique, chic, and statement worthy. Christina Elleni’s accomplished work combines the best of both. Using both traditional and cutting-edge construction techniques, Christina offers up a stunning selection of bangles, pendants, and rings featuring some of the most recognizable architectural feats in the world. Pay homage to NYC by wearing her Chrysler Building ring/pendant on your travels or show your love for the west coast by wearing the Golden Gate Bridge via Christina’s knuckle duster ring. Currently located in San Francisco, where she continues to tempt us with piece after impressive piece, Christina shares her creative process, unique approach to fashion, and sources of inspiration.
When did your interest in creating jewelry start?
It started when I was about 19. I had gone to fashion school for a year as soon as I finished high school. I worked really hard and loved learning new construction skills but I found the culture was a bit rough. I had just come from an all-girls high school and it seemed too similar to really excite creativity. I took a year off, worked, saved and traveled for 6 months to about 5 countries. When I came home I had to decide if I was going to go back to fashion school or go to art school instead. I chose art school. By second semester in your first year you have to pick a major for the rest of your degree. At the time there were 2 classes I loved - Sculpture and Jewelry. It was really tough picking but I had always loved making things that people could wear and really cherish so jewelry won out.
…that was really long winded. Sorry!
Where do you find inspiration?
From objects and places I love and people I admire. I went through a kind of organic tea phase at Uni (college)…everything I made was organic looking and was modeled on either a teapot or a teacup or had tea leaves in it. I was slightly obsessed. I also had a fantastic group of friends in my workshop who would inspire me with their work. Then in my final year I got really excited about challenging myself to be as precise and as anti-organic as I could.
My Dad is an architect and my Mum used to be one too. Both of them work so meticulously. Even their handwriting looks like it’s been typed. I really envied that I suppose.
I had also just come back from travelling overseas again and wanted to make pieces that reminded me of all the wonderful places I’d seen. I started to consider buildings and how different architecture can really make a huge impact on the city it’s a part of…and how magical it can be I suppose. And that’s what continually inspires me.
What kind of materials do you most prefer to work with?
Silver. Definitely silver. I like perspex and wood too but silver is just more fun and permanent. Oh and I have just started working with gold which is really fun too.
Of all of the designs you’ve ever made, which is your favorite?
Hmm that’s tough. Probably my gold Taj Mahal ring necklace. I know it’s not the fanciest or most complex or the biggest piece, but it’s one I really enjoy wearing.
What is your go-to day to day outfit?
(My cool, when-I-leave-the-house answer) Right now my favorite outfit is an Angela Lansbury t-shirt that my sister lent me (JB Fletcher’s my girl, I love Murder She Wrote) and my blue AG jeans with white polka dots OR my floral Citizens of Humanity jeans, a pair of little dangly silver and pearl earrings I just made and flip flops.
(My real life, uncool answer) I am working from home right now, so my pajamas!
What were you wearing as an art student?
Ha ha, oh dear. Ummm well, always enclosed shoes and an apron…and probably leggings, a tank top and a hoodie. I used to ride my bike to Uni so definitely practical, very worn-in clothing and a backpack…not fashionable at all. My friends would be amazed when I wore anything that resembled an actual outfit.
Which recent purchase are you most excited about?
I just bought a new Foredom Flexible Shaft for polishing, carving, drilling etc. I get to pick it up tomorrow and I’m so pumped!
What is your favorite place in the world?
The beach! I’m from Sydney and grew up on the beach so that’s my happy place…specifically, probably Tamarama or Bronte on a beautiful summer’s day.
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