This is a re-post from Dirty Hands in NY. I am a big fan of Tammy and her jewelry. Definitely worth checking out.
If it involves metal then the answer would be obvious, but I know
nothing about being a metal smith. You can bet I was surprised when
Tammy Gia, creator of Gia Fragalli Creations, said I would be making jewelry at her studio in DUMBO.
Gia, 32, defines herself as a metal smith rather than a jeweler
because of the way she interacts with the metal she uses to create her
line. She heats up and ionizes copper, brass, and silver, changing the
atom structure so that she can mold the metal to her liking, using her
hands, banging it into shape with a hammer, or filing away the roughs
spots to make each piece smooth to perfection.
“I play with metal. I like taking a piece of metal and
turning it into something – a bracelet, a ring, an earring, or a
bookmark, or something that’s wearable or usable, in a sense.”
Here are a few photos from my afternoon there:
After the bracelets were finished, Gia, who came to live in New York
from Brazil last February, sat down and spoke with me about Gia
Fragalli and what she hopes for its future, and even spoke about Anna
Sheffield, a former contributor to The New York Times Magazine, with whom she has an internship with.
Q. When did this love for jewelry making begin?
I hated it all of my life. Both of my parents are goldsmiths, so I grew
up in a studio, I grew up polishing, filing, cutting; it was a chore.
It wasn’t for fun. And so I left it.
When my parents separated I always promised myself I’d have nothing
to do with jewelry, so I went on to college to do advertising and
marketing, and I actually went on to work in the film industry for 10
When I got back to Brazil I was stressed out because I couldn’t find
a job, and my mom convinced me to go into a jewelry class. And I took a
piece of metal, made a ring, and I never stopped.
Q. You pretty much make any type of jewelry. Can you explain the different styles you make?
A. We’re are actually in the process of finalizing our catalog with SQS Photography.
When I first starting doing this, I didn’t have a studio or a bench,
and we couldn’t hammer things in the apartment. So my mom and I went
out and bought pearls, and beads, and all these things, and we came up
with the Wire Me Madly collection and did our first show on July 1st of
last year. That’s what Audrey is going to be. It’s very delicate – thin
chains, stones, rocks – just very girlish, in a way, so there’s no
bench work on that, just wire. (Price range: $120 to $300)
Then we have Gia, which is the collection that I guess is what made
me do jewelry, because I’m not a very girlie-girl, and I can never see
myself wearing anything that’s very delicate. I love it, and could when
I go out to a party or something, but it’s not my everyday thing. It
was initially called Uno and now it embodies the whole Gia sense, which
is geometric figures, squares, and rectangles – bold pieces that can be
worn day or night.
So the whole idea of Gia is that she’s the modern girl
that goes out to work, then to dinner, then to a party, and then she
goes back to work the next day with the same clothes but feeling
awesome, not skipping two beats about it – she’s just great.
She’s the modern girl. Gia is the type of jewelry that you can fit into anywhere that you’re going and still look fabulous. (Price range: $80 to $150)
And then there is Ivy, the more affordable part of the jewelry based
on copper, like the bracelets. I mix copper, brass, and silver with
very funky stuff, but I think it’s more of a bohemian, relaxed feel,
the necklace you throw over the T-shirt; very casual, very easygoing,
and it’s the most affordable line that we have. (Price rang: $48 to $98)
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
guess I’m just inspired by life. I’m the kind of person who pays
attention to the sidewalk and can notice a little flower growing in
from the cracks. I’ve traveled all over the world, and that stays with
me. When I lived in London, I always felt like I’d walk into a part of
London that reminded me of Saõ Paulo, or that reminded me of New York.
And when I’m in New York, sometimes I walk by a place and think, “Oh my
God, this is so London,” or, “Oh my God, this is so Saõ Paulo.”
My inspiration comes from life in general, and things that I’ve been
around. I love architecture, so that’s why both Gia and Ivy are so
interesting to me, because it’s all about the shapes. The geometrical
pieces that just reminds me of architecture.
I love the rain, I love the sun, I love the snow, you know? It’s not
fun to walk around in the rain but it’s great to stay home and watch TV
and drink hot chocolate. So I guess that’s it.
I think I’m just inspired by breathing.
Can you talk a little bit about your internship with Anna Sheffield?
Oh yeah, I’m really excited about it. They just need somebody to help
keep everything organized, so whatever it is, I help out. They have all
the girls they need for production, but yesterday they were really busy
and just needed an extra hand, so I got to do all the oval buckle
bracelets, and I was really excited about that. And Anna is a
sweetheart, and all the girls there are just, it’s just fun to be
What do you hope for the future of your line?
I guess in five years, I want to be Anna Sheffield. I want to be at
that point where I have a studio, and people working for me, and where
my line is recognized, and stars are wearing it, and people are talking
about it. That’s what I want – I want a business.
And I want to be able to do what she [Sheffield] is doing with me,
and with all these other girls that are working for her, interns coming
in for school credit. This is totally something I’d like to do, have
interns come in and see all the facets of the business: see the
stocking parts, the e-mail, dealing with clients, accounting, and
actually making stuff, and have them come in and see the business as a
whole, and work enough to understand how hard it is. But I want them to
be there and understand it, and I want it to be as rewarding as Anna
You can find the Gia Fragalli Collection on Etsy.com.
Gia is also offering creative workshops, whether you want to join the jewelry-making business or just get your hands dirty – which they will!