We first came upon Luiny on Instagram, as so often happens in this day and age, and we were completely in love with not only the beautiful aesthetic she was proposing, but the incredible architectural yet effortless and soulful pieces she was creating. It became an obsession of ours, and when the moment came to of thinking of someone to host a holiday pop up with, there was no doubt it had to be her!
Our admiration for Luiny became even more powerful when we found a deeply inspiring and down to earth artist that believes in what she does as strongly as we do--we fell in love immediately! You will meet her at our pop up parties in SF & LA, but here is a preview on Luiny, her beginnings, and her heart and soul.
MARTA: We can not even begin to tell you how excited we are about this! It has been in the books for so long that I can’t believe it is finally here! Let’s start from the beginning: when did you start Luiny, and how did it come to life?
LUINY: When I first started playing around with jewelry design, I was studying pedagogy and working at a fashion retail store which produced a lot of waste by means of broken accessories like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc... I started to take these loose pieces, which would otherwise end up in the garbage, home and turned them into new, original designs. People liked them, they were unique and colorful, and so soon I found myself selling at artisan markets in Puerto Rico. It was a very rewarding experience because not only was it eco-conscious to reuse waste material, but it also provided an outlet for my creativity that very badly needed to get out. At this point my jewelry went under the name "Fillilí" (means something beautiful)...And so within the artisan market scene, I soon found out about bigger markets in New York. I dove right in. Artist and Fleas in Williamsburg was my first experience outside of Puerto Rico. The line as it is right now, "Luiny", evolved from my experience here. I had to learn to read the market better, to study other techniques, to streamline, and in this way, design differently. Luiny was born out of a lot of autodidactic work and reflection and the need to create and be self sufficient.
M: I love that it all started so organically and from a sustainable point of view, there is so much “waste” in this world that I appreciate so much when artists want to give it a second life. It is that idea that what other people consider waste can be a treasure to other people--I find that so inspiring and interesting. Did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
L: Not always. I started exploring my artistic side during my late twenties but deep inside I always knew I had it. My mom is a very creative person, so I got that from her. Now I live and support myself by doing what I love. I’m very grateful for that.
M: Mums are such an incredible inspiration even if we don't realize at first. I think the older we get the more we realize it. I am always so into how artists’ brains and minds work, in your case what are the first steps when designing a new collection? Do you start by a color palette, or a textile, or a pattern? What is the first inspiration that sets it all in motion?
L: I like objects that have geometric shapes. That’s why artists like Alexander Calder, Matisse, Arthur George Smith and the Modern Art movement inspire me. My designs come from a mix of these masters and my current state of mind. The creative process is not easy. It is definitely fun, but very challenging. It can be stressful at the beginning, but once I make the first piece, the ideas start flowing and one gives you another….
M: You can certainly feel that influence, there is such a freedom in the shape and the way your pieces feel to the touch, so it makes complete sense. It is architectural and geometric but with so much soul in it. How would you describe your brand in a few words? What are the fundamentals of it?
L: My brand is a mix of contemporary and eclectic styles inspired by ornamental art around the world. I keep a balance of what really inspires me and what’s on trend to maintain uniqueness. I like a little bit of everything and that manifests in my designs. That’s why my pieces are so versatile and can fit any kind of woman.
M: I think that is the beauty of the global world we live in, you can get so much information and inspiration from so many sources, and it’s what makes art and design so rich nowadays. In your work the shapes of your pieces are very organic and elemental. Are you inspired by nature and natural movement?
L: Yes of course! Nature is the mother of all inspirations. Life is what move us. I grew up surrounded by the most beautiful trees and mountain and I attempted to recreate that environment in my home studio where I am surrounded with plants, trees and flowers of all shapes and sizes!
M: Love that mix of nature inspired shapes and sculpture in your design and aesthetic. You are so good at it and it shows it comes so natural to you. Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you?
L: Alexander Calder, I remember the first time I saw his work. My heart was beating fast, I fell in love.
M: He is so great, so much power and life in his work. Do you think the fact that you're from Puerto Rico, but now are based in New York influences you as well? How has your past influenced your design and your process?
L: In Puerto Rico I discovered my creative side and started my business. But it was New York City who influenced my brand the most as it is today. I had the opportunity to work with a jewelry company where I learned a few things about the industry and where I discovered my passion for wax carving. As a self-taught designer, I need to keep learning in order to continue moving my jewelry line forward. Now I'm thinking about next steps…. probably Mexico where I want to take silversmith classes to learn from the masters of silver jewelry.
M: We love Mexico, and if there is an expert in silversmithing, it is definitely Mexican artisans. I am always curious, why did you choose Voyager for a pop up and carrying your beautiful line?
L: I met Voyager via Instagram and it was love at first sight. I thought it was so well curated. We have the same passion for colors and oversized clothes.
M: That is so true! Oversized for life! Ok, now to finish the classic question of where do you see the line in 10 years? What would be your ideal situation?
L: I want to grow my line towards fine jewelry and I want to continue growing my business so that I can continue to support myself with my art and live a happy healthy life.
M: Happy and healthy is all we ask here too, nothing better than spending your life doing what you love surrounded by inspiring people that you love as well !
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and for sharing this with us, we are so excited to have you and we can not wait for our customers to meet you and fall as in love with you as we are!
All pictures courtesy of Luiny