I came across Christen Mitchell’s jewelry line, CAM, on instagram a few months ago and shared her Desert Collection on TAE. The world is quite the small place and it turned out that Christen was originally from Minnesota, so we were able to meet when she was in town for a trunk show this summer… Christen has that perfect desert/LA style that I dream about and her influences are obvious in her incredible collection. This week she is launching a fine jewelry collection so we took some time to discuss her influences, her background, and of course, her favorite American made brands. Read on for more and a preview of the new collection!
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
My background is in installation art and wardrobe styling. I’ve always loved how different art forms blend into each other.
WHAT LED YOU TO START YOUR COLLECTION?
When I was styling, a lot of the projects I was working on required inventive pieces that weren’t available in Boston where I lived. I spent almost more time crafting than I did pulling for shoots. People began asking where they could obtain certain items and eventually I made the natural transition to working more on jewelry than on photo shoots.
HOW DOES LIVING IN LA INFLUENCE YOUR AESTHETIC? DO YOUR MIDWEST ROOTS IMPACT IT AT ALL?
My Midwest roots influence everything I do in my business. There is a practicality and work-hard mentality about the region that I admire. However, California has always been a love of mine. I’ve always been designing as if I lived in LA and now that I do, I feel like my creative process flows more naturally. That feeling is partly due to the fact that the people where I work and live are all on a unique path. No two people are doing the same thing and thus you’ve got no one to compare yourself to. Instead you find yourself inspired by those around you.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
I have a crazy assortment of dresses. I layer then when it is brisk here and then I rock them solo during the summer. It’s an easy way to put an outfit together without spending forever picking every piece. My other obsession are converse and K.Jacque sandals. Flats are my life here and somehow I’ve mastered pairing Converse with everything I own.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AMERICAN MADE BRANDS?
Oh that is easy! I’d fall apart without Current/Elliott and Rag & Bone. Outside of my dress collection, those two brands furnish my whole wardrobe. As far as jewelry designers that I admire, Pamela Love is the at the top of my list.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR COLLECTION?
I really like my jewelry to be tactile. The basis of my new fine jewelry collection follows this idea that pieces have to be touched to be understood. I inverted all of the onyx in this collection to give my work literal edge that you want to touch.
WHERE DO YOU MAKE YOUR JEWELRY?
All my jewelry is made in house or locally in downtown Los Angeles. I love spending time running around to all the shops downtown. There is such a collection of amazing artisans that are more than willing to share their knowledge. It’s a really special feeling knowing that I can keep everything so local.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I find a lot of my inspiration outside of the jewelry world. Creative ideas are rarely completely original but when you are inspired by what someone is doing in a different medium (rather than in jewelry) it can produce something magical.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER MAKERS?
School, workshops, and intersnhips are great as a jumping off point but there is no substitute for getting out there and doing. You’ll fail often that but that’s when you’ll learn the most.
Photos by Ally Schmaling for CAM Jewelry. Follow along: