Designer Interview: Artifacts by Casey

February 14, 2011

Designer Interview: Artifacts by Casey

Casey Perez, the creator behind Artifacts by Casey, likes to imagine that she falls somewhere between the definitions of jewelry designer and artist. In essence, she is a "creator of objects," letting her materials and inspiration—rather than strict plans and specs—drive creativity, which generates unique and beautiful results. Happily, Casey took some time to talk to DDO about her inspirations, experiences and processes.

Design, jewelry, artifacts

DDO: You say on your website that your line was borne from a jewelry class final and a desire to step away from the normal and expected. How did your teacher react to your project?

Casey: Right, the course was sort of a springboard for me to discover that I really enjoyed working with metals and to channel all of this pent up creativity that was bouncing around my head while I had to focus on academics in school.

For this particular final project we were assigned to create a piece that we carved out of wax and cast in metal. I decided to make an electrical plug ring. Everyone else had made things like bows and flowers-conventional stuff that, to me, wasn't very exciting. As for my teacher's reaction, I think it was more confused than anything else, as was that of the rest of the class. Everyone was kind of like, why'd you put a plug on a ring? And me, I was just kinda thinking well, why not!

DDO: Why do you think it's important to question the standard?

Casey: It's one of the ways that new ideas can be born. I think this is important for any field, design related or not.

Design, jewelry, artifacts
Design, jewelry, artifacts
Design, jewelry, artifacts

DDO: You use some unique materials in your work. Does this come from a desire to reuse and reinvent?

Casey: Yes, I work with a variety of materials - everything from mesh screens, scrap pieces of metal I find around my studio, discarded bits of steel, to broken glass. I find more inspiration in unconventional materials which is why I gravitate towards using them in my work, it's good brain food. It's more of a challenge to try and make something wearable using something that wasn't intended for such purposes but I also find a greater sense of freedom in that as well.

Design, jewelry, artifacts

DDO: What technical challenges do you face in using scrap and salvaged material?

Casey:There are some technical challenges that come up when using these kinds of materials. Pieces made with found scraps or other one of a kind components end up being just that—one of a kind. You can't really replicate these kinds of pieces but I don't really think they should be anyway, because part of what makes them special is that they are singular objects.

Other challenges that have come up have a lot to do with learning how to work with some of these materials to get the results that I want. There's no jewelry manual for that kind of stuff but it's all a very enlightening process. I do my research and experiment a lot until I find something that works.

Design, jewelry, artifacts

DDO: How do people react to your ingenuity?

Casey: I hope people are reacting positively, I think so thus far. I'm sure there are some people that still favor more traditional jewelry though, and my work can seem sort of outsider or other.

DDO: Do you have a favorite piece in your collection?

Casey: My current favorite piece is one that's up on my site, Chasm. I really love how the mesh detailing came out and the contours of the ring. I forged it by hand so there are all of these great folds and creases that just happened as the piece took shape.

Chasm: Design, jewelry, artifacts

DDO: What advice would you give to other designers just starting out in their careers?

Casey: No revelatory advice, just find that essence!

Design, jewelry, artifacts

Thanks Casey!


Some other posts you might enjoy on our design blog:

Designer Interview: Illustrator David Lanham
Young Artist Profile: Photography and Manipulation
Designer Interview: Eric Torres Part I

Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson

Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm a Designer and Writer at Drawbackwards and write for the Design Blog at I enjoy vintage things, letterpress, publication design, and long walks around the Cesar Chavez Park pond. You can follow me on twitter at @jessdoodled for lots of fun randomness.

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Senior UX Designer / Portland, OR, US

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