La Corza defines elegance as the balance point between art and nature. Each design in the collection reflects a profound reverence for the natural world, elevated by the finest elements found on earth. Harmonious, luminous, and timeless – that is the spirit of La Corza.
La Corza spent some time with us here at House of Coco to tell us more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
La Corza began the day I decided to train myself as a jeweller and started taking classes from the very best teachers I could find. I didn’t know then where it was headed, but eventually I saw that there was a place in the world for a fine jewelry line steeped in tradition and inspired by the natural world. Since that moment I haven’t stopped designing, refining my skills, and seeing new ideas take shape when I step outside and take in all the beauty around me. Behind every piece is a reverence for nature and a desire to work to the finest, time-honored standards.
Whats your background?
When I say I was raised in the woods, I was literally raised in the woods. My family lived in a remote region of the Alaskan wilderness and I had time to explore on my own every day. I quickly found an awe and respect for the world around me. We later moved to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and I eventually settled in Seattle, so I’m never far from what inspires me. Starting out with a strong independent streak, I’ve always preferred to find my own path, figure out my own way of making myself happy. My design life has grown from that determination to stay true to my own vision.
How many people are involved in the label and what’s the process behind launching a new piece?
La Corza’s team is small but mighty! Our studio runs with the work of four people, plus help from independent designers who sometimes help me complete a collection. We work closely, both in terms of our actual studio space and in how we collaborate. There is also a team of casters we work closely with to make sure my idea is clearly presented in the final piece. It takes a village, especially when it is time to launch a new collection.
When I begin a new design I fill pages in my sketchbook then begin the process of translating that into a three-dimensional wax to make sure the piece has the right weight, fit and overall harmony that I’m looking for. When I’m finally satisfied, I can begin to consider gemsetting, metal finishes and textures, but not until I really love the piece I’m holding in my hands. Every new piece seems to inspire countless variations, particularly when I’m talking with collectors and helping them design a custom piece based on one of my designs. I love the days in my Seattle store when clients come in and we work out something special just for them.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would definitely start with a winning lottery ticket! Honestly, running a business on your own, particularly a creative business, is a joy but also a constant demand on all your time, attention and resources. If I did anything differently the second time around, I’d probably have to say I’d go out on a limb even sooner, trust my instincts and push my vision to the limits, because what we’re doing now is so incredibly fulfilling. I’m a risk-taker and I think there is a great reward in simply going for it when you know you’re on to something amazing.
If we were to buy just ONE product from you for Christmas, which one would it be?
I would definitely steer you to a statement ring because I know you like to make a statement! I would suggest my signature Blue lagoon two finger cocktail ring rose gold. If it’s going to be the one, make it big, bold, and beautiful.
What do you tend to do for Christmas?
Once we’ve sent the last orders out there is a brief calm that settles over the studio. It’s a lot like Santa’s workshop until right before Christmas, and I need to allow myself and everyone else to sit back and rest before we begin again for the spring/summer season. With the land around my studio there is always something calling me outside, even in winter, and that is how I recharge myself for the coming year.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
My secret calling is a – duck whisperer. On my property I have a sanctuary for wayward ducks, and each one has such a personality! Sometimes I have to interrupt my studio days to referee a duck dispute.
2015 is just around the corner, where do you plan on taking the brand?
La Corza is definitely on the move, and in early 2015 we’re heading back to Europe for fashion week events and shows. In Seattle, we’ll have a grand opening celebration for our flagship boutique in Ballard before New York fashion week kicks off. I have a great design collaboration in mind, and you can look forward to hearing more about that next year, too. I have sketchbooks full of new ideas, so it’s going to be a busy year in the studio.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Seeing our collections received so well in London and Milan was a huge thrill for me. Being written up in Italian Vogue was definitely a highlight! Personally, I’m so happy that I could share that excitement with my mom, who has been watching and supporting my growth as a designer and business owner from the beginning. Knowing where we are now, I am confident the best is yet to come, but I am so excited to be at this stage both as a brand and as a designer.
What inspires each collection?
Every collection begins with me discovering something new or surprising out in nature. I don’t go looking for it, but when it hits me, I can’t stop until I’ve really investigated what it is that appeals to me. I’ve had inspiration hit during a long walk on the beach, a hike through the high desert, or a visit to an stunning, remote ecosystem, like the lava fields of Iceland. I also love the work of luminaries like Andy Goldsworthy and Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s about revisioning, finding the essence of a material and refining it as far as you can take it. You see the direct connection to the earth in their work, and that is what inspires me in my own designs.
Where can people find out more?