An Interview with Jeweler Molly Debiak
Molly Debiak is a Seattle-based jeweler designing stunning pieces inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her. She is graduate of a jewelry trade school in New York City, where she was trained in the profoundly traditional ways of metal fabrication, lost wax casting, and diamond setting. With every piece she creates, she strives to achieve a balance between these precise methods and the imperfections of the organic world in which she finds her inspiration. We are thrilled to welcome Molly to the shop! Learn more about Molly's background below and shop the collection here.
What's your background? Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Colorado and Michigan. I moved to Alaska after high school to attend college to earn a degree in Outdoor Recreation, with a focus in Kayaking and Sailing, Guiding and Outdoor Education. It was an amazing experience, but thinking back, I must have gone in that direction for college because I was tired of traditional schooling and simply wanted to have fun. It definitely fit the bill, but the degree has proven impractical for me as I've never once used it in a professional setting - ha! It did, however, help shape my self and priorities, as my largest inspiration in craft comes from natural and organic shapes, and protecting the environment is one of my highest priorities. Anyway, after taking some time off after I graduated and a move to Seattle, I decided I just needed to go in the direction of making things with my hands. I began attending metalsmith classes wherever I could find them, finally attending a comprehensive jeweler's program in NYC, at the tiny trade school Studio Jewelers Ltd. It was the best experience - I loved every second of it and learned so much from very talented teachers.
How does your environment affect your work?
Enormously. I draw inspiration from everything around me - mostly organic material, but also from the color, shape, textile of just about anything. I need to be active in a space in order to cultivate ideas. I also need a very orderly workspace or I can't function!
In a few words, how would you describe your work?
Organic, trial and error.
What does your day to day look like?
I have a toddler and one on the way, so I have to be very present in my actions in order to accomplish everything that I need to. I wake up with Luca (my almost 3 year old) and get him set with breakfast and myself coffee. We then sit down together and I do my computer work - return emails, create invoices, and generally map out my day. If it's a busy one, I'll multitask (pack orders, etc.) while he plays near me, or head to the post office. If it's lower key, we'll head outside for a little urban adventure. At around 1 Luca goes down for a nap and I get to work on jewelry. He's up at 4ish and the rest of the day is a typical family evening routine. Unfortunately since I am only able to physically make jewelry in that short 3-hour period during the week days, my weekends are long days of metalsmithing while my husband takes on kid duty. This will change one day, when we have him and his sister-on-the-way in preschool, and we'll actually be able to have more family weekends together!
What's your favorite part about your job?
Creating - seeing my ideas become alive. Also, the relationships I've formed with other creatives and small business owners, and working for myself.
What's the best thing about running a small business?
Freedom to function anyway that fits you.
What are you reading/watching right now?
My husband and I are watching the Knick, and I'm reading Common Wealth by Ann Patchett.
Favorite artist(s) in any field, living or dead?
I'm hugely inspired by artists and designers of functional art such as jewelers, ceramicists, clothing designers. Some of my favorite jewelers are Polly Wales (her rings!) and Marie-Hélène de Taillac (her 22 karat gold necklaces!).
What's the first thing you ever remember making?
My dad is very artist and has always had a big interest in Native American cultures. I remember making tiny beaded necklaces with him when I was very small.