Interview by Maxwell Alexander [ Executive Editor ] Hudson Valley Style Magazine
Max: Hi Elisa! Thank you for the opportunity to shine the light on your amazing talent and highlight your work of art in our magazine!
What do you do and how in your opinion it impacts the World around you?
Elisa: I’m a jewelry designer based in Red Hook, NY and the way I want my life and my business to impact the world around me is surely by being a responsible, attentive and resourceful person. It is not always easy and it comes with challenges and compromises, but it’s our commitment to trying that makes the difference. We are the decisions we make, the products we buy, the food we eat, the causes we believe in and fight for. All of this is a process, a learning process. In my business, too, it’s a matter of choices and constant improvement. I make my creations using recycled gold and silver (or fairmined gold). Pearls and stones are also recycled/vintage or ethically sourced. I try to limit the use of chemicals as much as possible by using non-toxic alternatives. The packaging as well is sustainable and made of kraft boxes from recycled cardboard and 100% recyclable. No glue, no bleach and no dyes are used and the pouches are made from organic cotton. Giving back is another important aspect of my perception of the world and, even though my dream is to one day make a bigger impact, I started by supporting a project of victims of sex trafficking with small donations from the online purchases. I am aware it is a small gesture but, at least, it is one. Who knows how I will be able to help in the future!
Max: How did you come to jewelry?
Elisa: Jewelry sort of simply happened. It showed itself as the synthesis of what expressed myself in the moment. I was probably ready to jump onto this new amazing adventure. I previously have learned a lot from various experiences I was lucky enough to have. Like in the architecture world where I was working on great design projects first in Milan, Italy, where it all started, then in London, UK with the well-known minimalist Claudio Silvestrin and finally in New York City. My passion for space, balance, clean aesthetics, elegance, shapes, was temporarily put aside. I needed to give room to social, non-profit, cooperation, simplicity and supporting people, which brought me to live in India and Nicaragua getting involved in social work. The jewelry idea happened later, when I was looking for a sustainable piece with contemporary design for myself. It was hard and I was never satisfied with the offer, so I decided to give it a try. I studied what I needed to learn and started playing with it. I simply loved making jewelry and people loved my pieces. Suddenly it was a design process I was accustomed to matching with ecological and social values I believe in on a small and very creative scale. I find the inspiration for my pieces in the beauty of nature and organic forms but also in my architectural past. I experiment with textures, balance, opposites and I also get inspiration from the Japanese culture and the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. It’s a philosophy based on finding beauty in the imperfect. Imperfection becomes a form of freedom and acceptance, a celebration of nature.
Max: How did you discover the Hudson Valley?
Elisa: For years, I have been dedicating myself to design and architecture. So it was while working for the New York City firm Lang Architecture that I had the chance to get to better know the Hudson Valley.
I was the interior designer for a beautiful housing development project in Kerhonkson called “Hudson Woods.” I slowly discovered a new world made of amazing craftspeople, authenticity, incredible nature and wildlife, little villages where time and space were still an option. A few months, later my daughter was born and, with her, the desire for a different life. She was one and a half when we made our move upstate. At first it was both a bit scary and liberating but we are very happy now after two years living here.
Max: What is the definition of Hudson Valley Style to you?
Elisa: My perception is that the Hudson Valley Style is the perfect mix of genuineness and simplicity with some of New York City’s more sophisticated and refined aspects. The Hudson Valley Style synthesizes what, in my opinion, is a good balanced style. There is history, there is nature, there is knowledge, there is art, there is respect, there is an abstraction, there is culture, there is spirituality, there is elegance…all in one. This style is somehow very personal and eclectic. It’s kind of difficult to describe it but, once you experience it, everything is clear.
Max: How do you see the future of Aglaia Jewelry in the Hudson Valley?
Elisa: I honestly don’t know what Aglaia Jewelry will become but I can tell you what I would love it to be. For sure, I want to work in a direction where the social help would go further than a donation and I would love for it to become a collaboration. But I need to grow and have more solid base. Aglaia Jewelry will surely try to be more and more conscious and to make clients proud of their choice. I also want to continue to grow in terms of my artistry. I feel the challenge but it’s a very exciting one!