In Conversation with Stephanie Schneider
The refined jewellery of Stephanie Schneider perfectly suited the elegance of Persephone – the Paris founder-director who inspired our latest curation. Chic and graceful in its nature, each bracelet, necklace and earring Stephanie crafts is threaded by hand. Here Stephanie tells us of a childhood spent in the German Alps decorating silhouette drawings with the finest of details.
How and when did you decide to become a designer? I can’t really remember, I knitted myself through my teenage years. I grew up in a small town in the German Alps, and there it was very difficult to find shops that sold the kind of stuff that I liked, so I just started to make it myself. When I finished high school, textile and fashion design (with a little detour into Art History) was just a natural path.
What was the first piece you ever created and does it correlate with your vision today? This is going a long way back, all the way to the eighties. I made so many things… but I remember a hand knitted fluorescent pink mohair pullover with a deep V at the back and bat wing sleeves…. As a child I spent my days decorating the dresses of the figurines I used to draw. Theses dresses were gigantic – I didn’t even think about proportions – I filled them up with enormous decorations and crazy colours. What I kept from this time is my love for handcraft and for detailing, but I have definitely shaped and purified my taste.
Do your childhood and past experiences inform your designs? How? I think someone’s past always informs what you make. It is part of a person’s resource, and so it is mine. My childhood and past experiences are responsible for how I see the world, how I develop my taste, the questions and interests I have, and what my goals are. If we talk specifically about my work you can see it very clearly – my jewellery would not be what it is if I had studied to be a goldsmith instead of studying fashion and textile design.
Do you have any rituals when you design? Not really.
When you design a piece, what is important to you? I need to use my hands to create something. I need to feel a material to explore it, and then make something out of it.
What is your favourite environment when you design? It has to feel cozy, light, warm and safe and I like to have all the materials I need handy.
What would be your dream material to work with? Why? I am more and more dreaming of bigger dimensions. I would love to not think about prices… to be able to just go as big as possible, and to use the most precious metals and stones.
What is your greatest source of inspiration? I am very much inspired by fine art and textile art. I love the work of Bauhaus artists Josef and Anni Albers. But I am also very inspired by people around me. Lots of my friends are artists. We share and discuss a lot of ideas.
If you could choose a muse, who would it be? This is my secret, since he hasn’t kissed me yet…
Who is your favourite designer across all disciplines? There is not only one favourite. So many people whom I have met and worked with have inspired me. I am lucky to have the chance to exchange my ideas and visions with artists and designers I respect so much, and who’s work resonates strongly with me.
Tell us your favourite experience of encountering someone you didn’t know wearing your design. Who was it and what was the piece? Where was it? How did you feel? It was when German actress Nina Hoss was wearing the Josef Albers bracelet for the Berlinale in 2012… an elegant surprise!