Chance is a gold mine for summer essentials – striped tops, espadrilles, beach blankets, totes. Everything you need to enjoy your days on the lake, by the beach, or in the hills and valleys. Their Summer 2012 collection boast a couple stand-out collaborations. Artist Elliott Puckette hand-drew stripes on a long sleeve tee. The placement of the lines makes each tee a one-of-a-kind. Also notable, is friend and designer Kate Jones’ second collaboration with Chance titled Cali. The collection consists of five pieces that embody the state of California’s desert, sky, and sea. Swing over to the Chance online shop to get your essentials for summer – whether you’ll be comfortable at home or on your way to new adventures and places.
Tag Archives: Ursa Major
I’m so excited to see a piece from friend and jeweler Kate Jones up on Of a Kind today. Every collection from her brand Ursa Major is absolutely exquisite and I’ve been slowly but surely collecting pieces over the years. I really love the simplicity of the Omega Cuff she designed for Of a Kind. Made of recycled brass with silver plated tips in the shape of the Greek letter, it’s understated yet elegant. Be sure to also check out a few bonus features up on Of a Kind about Kate’s first journey into jewelry design, the evolution of her aesthetics, and the sailing trips of her youth.
For our fifth feature in the series I got to spend time with my good friend Kate Jones of Ursa Major in her studio in TriBeCa this past weekend. Her mum, who is also an amazing jewelry designer, was in town for Kate’s birthday so we spent the afternoon chatting and geeking out about jewelry. I took the opportunity to take some shots of Kate working on the necklace my boyfriend got for me for Christmas and chatted with her about what she’s been up to and what she has planned for Ursa Major this coming year. Also click here if you want to read my Q&A with Kate from earlier this year!
Q. This fall you’ve started creating pieces for men. Are there different challenges that you face making men’s jewelry compared to women’s?
A. The cufflinks are pretty straight forward- but there is a real issue of functionality. I love the look of cufflinks that use chain in between, but all men tell me they’re impossible to use. I don’t like the look of hinged backs- so it was about finding a balance of aesthetics and function, which I love. Rings are a different thing- the scale is completely different to the women’s I’m used to. Sounds obvious, but it’s harder to be as minimal as I like and still make sure it’s gonna work for a guy- are the walls too heavy? Too thin? Too dainty? I’m always open to feedback. Fortunately I’ve got a lot of design opinionated guy friends As for the rest, it’s really just a challenge to make pieces that men want to live in, but one I’m happy to take on.
Q. Do you find that more men are comfortable wearing jewelry these days? Is there a piece that is commonly commissioned from you?
A. It seems that way. Men seem to be paying more attention to accessories and details. I think they realize it’s a way to make an otherwise very simple daily “uniform” personal. And most guys come to me after a piece which is ultimately very simple yet unique, and something they can live in. I do a lot of wedding rings.
Q. You’re cuff links look amazing and I’m sure will be a huge hit. Can you elaborate on the process of making them? Including your inspiration behind the patterns they feature
A. Well I was hanging around Scott Schuman and we were talking about how few good, simple cufflinks are out there that aren’t novelty. Vintage ones were the closest we could find and both agreed it was time for an update. Plus Freeman’s had been asking me to make some. Some of the patterns come from etched plates I made, others from existing patterned metal, and one, the Squash Blossom, is a design I came up with and had engraved- an amalgamation of the iconic American Indian motif and old coins (like the buffalo nickel, commonly turned into jewelry).
Q. And finally, what we’ve been asking all our vendors involved in the Pop-Up shop, what do you see for yourself and Ursa Major in 2012?
A. Big things! Finally the men’s line will come to fruition. I’ll begin selling Ursa overseas and the work’s been published in a couple of books coming out in the fall. Plus a new line I’ve created with a couple of great guys, Derek Brahney and Edge Trullinger, called Hyde. It’ll focus on men’s accessories- namely belts, but some fun bits and pieces too- like the “Spin to Pay” bottle opener you guys have got at the pop-up and available online at Partners and Spade http://store.partnersandspade.com/2011/12/05/spin-to-see-who-pays-bottle-opener/
If you’re from Vermont, you’ve already won half the battle with me. For Ursa Major of Vermont, it didn’t take much to win the other half. Founders Emily and Oliver started their men’s skincare line as an alternative to the “bland, toxin-laden products that pervade today’s market.” The results are evident in the beautiful packaged bottles and tubes. A mix of nature’s most effective ingredients, the Ursa Major goods are “super natural”, as Oliver and Emily like to call them. And my boyfriend and I would have to agree. As evidenced by the photos above (apologies for my poor photography skills), we received a delightful care package with the Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash, Stellar Shave Cream, and Essential Face Toner. We’ve both been using the products for over a week now and won’t be switching to anything else anytime soon. Our skin feels fresher, cleaner, and smoother. Three cheers for this Vermont brand and I look forward to seeing what other products they introduce to their already amazing lineup.
I’m really into William Yan’s video series with We Are Not Pilgrims. It’s always a pleasure to listen to talented individuals like Kate Jones of Ursa Major and Greg Chapman of Perfecto Brand by Schott NYC elaborate on their craft and creative process. I look forward to seeing more from this collaboration and can’t wait to see the artisans they feature next.
Many of you probably already know of the fabulous Kate Jones and her jewelry line Ursa Major. Not only does Kate make the most beautiful jewelry, she’s one of the chicest and kindest women in the North East. Though a current resident of NYC, Kate hails from Boothbay, Maine where she grew up sailing and enjoying the coast of Maine with her family. And it just so happens that her family and my boyfriend’s family grew up together. Yes, small world indeed! Kate was kind enough to do a Q&A with me and answer some questions about Ursa Major, what inspires her, and her new F/W 2011 collection. The photos here are some samples of the Ursa Major F/W 2011 lookbook which you can download here.
Q. So, first things first, where did the name Ursa Major come from?
A. Ursa Major, aside from being the Big Dipper, was the name of our sailboat we lived on as a kid.
Q. How did you go about becoming a jewelry designer and creating Ursa Major?
A. Well, I guess I should tell you that I was always making jewelry as a kid . . . yes, I was the one making little brooches out of clay, and actually selling them at some local shops. I think I had a business number when I was 12 or 13. I remember trying to fill my first order of 20 brooches for this shop in Falmouth, Maine, and hitting the wall at about 8. That was my first shot at production. Years later I went to Rhode Island School of Design. I studied jewelry for one incredible year, before giving into my frustrations and changing my major to Textiles (I had plans to become an apparel designer), but every summer I’d go home to Boothbay Harbor and work in a little jewelry store called The Silver Lining. I did repair work, ring sizing, and custom projects. The owner, Tony Heyl, taught me a lot, in terms of working efficiently, tricks of the trade, and production. After RISD, I moved to Melbourne, Australia- studied fashion for a year and a half . . . it wasn’t until I studied fashion, an industry that’s much generally much more commercial that it began to make sense for me to do my own jewelry line. The idea of working in collections really appealed to me. I returned to live in Portland for a couple years, where I picked up work as a jeweler again. This time in a beautiful high end shop called Folia. I learned about working with clients on custom designs, casters, gem dealers, and…gold. Then somehow in there I started to create a jewelry line with Jay Carroll (now of Levis) for Rogues Gallery . . . call it proximity, or that I’d already known Alex Carlton for several years. That was really the beginning. After a couple years, I left Rogues and began work on Ursa Major, which was launched last February.
Q. Your sailing adventures throughout the Caribbean and Central America were the inspiration for your S/S ’10 collection, what inspired this one?
A. Yeah, I think the incarnations of my inspiration for the previous one were much more subtle. A few literal pieces like the Monkey’s Fist necklace and Milagros pieces, but in general it was probably from years of watching the horizon line at sea and looking at shells, stones, and such which had eroded and tumbled at sea and washed up on shore. Thanks to the photos in this F/W ‘11 lookbook, the inspiration is pretty clear. My mom always had a house full of amazing American Indian pieces. The standouts were this Haida mask, hopi bracelet (which I now wear everyday), and collection of Edward Curtis photogravures. But the jewelry itself, I wanted to be subtle, in part because a huge chunk of the market has been driven by this theme in the past couple of years. There’s also a little bit of Central America left in there. I thought it a natural progression to go up through Guatemala and Mexico to the American Southwest.
Q. It must be nice to be able to make your own jewelry and wear it! Are there other jewelry designers whose designs you wear and/or love?
A. Ha! It’s great. Have you seen me? I’m a walking showroom. But if I could have a collection of jewelry from anyone else it would be Ted Muehling or Alexander Calder.
Q. You’re from the coast of Maine and currently reside in New York City. What are your favorite spots in both locations to help you get your creative juices flowing?
A. Fortunately my parents home in East, Boothbay is right on the ocean, and a studio included, so I don’t have to go far. But if I wanted to take a trip I’d probably go to Monhegan Island or the Farnsworth Museum to see the collection of Wyeths. You can really put my anywhere on the water there and I’ll be happy. In the city I run around Central Park and on the West Side and that helps a lot. But in NYC all I have to do is look up at all of the variations of architecture to be inspired.
Q. Are there some design elements and jewelry techniques that you hope to try your hand at in the future?
A. I’d like to do more with enamel. In the process of trying to buy a kiln and finding more time. And right now I’d trying to come up with ways to make jewelry look eroded . . . like a sandstone sculpture.
Q. When and where will people be able to purchase pieces from your amazing new collection?
A. The new jewelry will be available this summer. Right now, to mention a few, you can find previous pieces at Castor and Pollux (NYC), Bazar (Venice, CA), Levis (Malibu and Boston), Gravel and Gold (San Fran), and me if you aren’t in proximity or can’t find the pieces you want. Working on a bunch of others at the moment. It’s always about finding the right fit. I’ll try and keep an updated stockist list for the new collection on the site, or at least my blog.
Q. You’ve been praised as one of the most stylish women in NYC (for good reason!). Where are your favorite places to shop?
A. Oh boy. I try to stay sharp with help from Zero Maria Cornejo (conveniently around the corner from my apartment), A Detacher, Assembly, and Project No. 8. But my friends in the business keep me pretty well supplied with goods for which I am always grateful, particularly the men’s stuff.
Thanks again to Kate! She has a lot of exciting projects in the works for this coming year. One of which is a small capsule collection for Julia Leach and her line Chance (which I just posted about yesterday). Kate will also be appearing in their short film series. And for all the gentlemen reading, Kate is working with a couple talented guys on on a side collection of men’s travel accessories (belts, cufflinks, and the like), and down the road she hopes to add a full men’s collection to Ursa Major. Kate also curates a blog of stunning artwork, photography, and designs that inspire her, so be sure to bookmark it along with the Ursa Major homepage.