This week we’re getting to know designer Natalie Frigo, a little better!
Frigo’s passion is creating unique, heirloom jewelry that treasures the extraordinary beauty in every client. Sculpting all of the designs by hand in her lower Manhattan studio, Natalie personally attends to each detail using the ancient practices of metalsmithing and ‘cire perdue’ (also known as lost-wax casting). The organic forms are then handcast and finished using only recycled metals and personally selected, ethically sourced gemstones.
Natalie’s inspiration ranges from early metallurgy and textile design to recent architectural developments, culminating in a collection that is contemporary, but by referencing venerable artifacts, also feels timeless.
Place of birth and current city – I was born in Suffern, NY. Currently, I live in the borough of Manhattan, New York City.
What three words would you use to describe your creative universe? – Sustainable, Ancient, Natural – at least, that is always my goal!
What is your educational background? Did you study fashion/jewelry? I have an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies. For my MFA final project, I created sculptures out of dead bugs, then photographed them as if they were real creatures. This turned out to be great training for making jewelry! I use all of the same tools I used for those sculptures, only now I use them for carving small pieces of jewelry.
What is your main source of inspiration? I am most influenced by the Etruscans. They didn’t try to hide the craftsperson’s hand in their jewelry and I carry that aesthetic into my work today. It’s very powerful to see that “a person made this”.
If you had to chose one color, which one would it be? Red, but don’t make me choose only one!
What is your favorite fabric/material and why? My two favorites are pearls and natural un-cut diamonds for the same reasons. They are formed to perfection naturally and each one is totally unique.
Where is your favorite place in the world and why? The mountains. There is a real peacefulness in being surrounded by gigantic rocks.
What is your favorite dish? Dark chocolate anything.
If you had only one piece in your closet, what would it be? For clothing, I have an H. Fredriksson dress that I have to stop myself from wearing every time I go out. I could wear it all the time and never tire of it. If I had to choose one of my pieces, it would be my Small Antler earrings – I wear them everyday.
What’s your take on fashion? Simple, lasting, and with a statement.
Do you have a favorite movie? I love movies and will watch them over and over. Right now my obsession is with “Night Moves”, by one of my favorite directors, Kelly Reichardt. It’s equally quiet and suspenseful.
How do you think by/Natalie Frigo is going to grow? Do you want to branch out? Is there anything new in the works? It seems I’m moving towards more detailed work. I’m not sure where it’s headed but it will be a modern interpretation of antique designs.