Julia: You grew up in a self-described hippie household, in what you described as, “almost a commune.” Was nutritional yeast a staple in your home? Did you like eating like a hippie, or were you like most kids who resent their parents for making them eat health food at a young age?
Caitlin: Nutritional yeast was in every where I grew up. On the spectrum of crunchy-eating in that Nor-Cal environment, we were not unique. But, I grew up eating a lot of classic hippie food: tofu, rice crackers, nutritional yeast. Some of it, I never did care for, like carob and veggie dogs/burgers. It grossed me out so much, it actually brought me to tears on more than one occasion.
Julia: What is the story behind this salad dressing?
Caitlin: This is my version of a salad dressing that my neighbor used to bring over for dinner when I was growing up. Our families would dine together often, and I remember dipping my fingers in the dressing and licking them over and over again. I would have drank the whole jar, had they let me. When I was in college I did some experimenting in an effort to replicate it. I think this is a pretty good rendition, but I really should find out the real recipe for comparison.
Julia: You were not trained as a jewelry designer, you studied textiles. Was there a steep learning curve when you decided to transition from apparel to jewelry?
Caitlin: Not really, since I don’t actually make the jewelry, I just design it. I am lucky to have great mentors. The jeweler that I work with taught me how to price things and how to identify stones. He told me about the Gemological Institute of America gemology courses, and introduced me to other people in the jewelry district. It felt like a pretty easy transition for me; maybe it is just what I was meant to do.
Julia: What would you say are your main design influences?
Caitlin: I kind of just treat life like a sponge and take influence from everywhere I go. I really love Victorian jewelry; when I started out, I looked at that a lot. I also love vintage Cartier jewelry, though I don’t reference it much. I love looking at antique lighting and furniture too. Mostly, I look at tons of fine art and design. When I travel, I always go to galleries and museums for inspiration.
Julia: Doing custom jewelry design commissions, you must get to know your clients pretty well. Jewelry is such a personal thing, everything I wear has a story. Do you get involved in the personal details of these gifts/commissions?
Caitlin: It really depends on who I am working with. I have a few clients that I have gotten to know well. In the design process, I try to understand who they are, and who the person is that they are proposing to, or giving this special gift. I do feel like I can tell a little bit about the dynamic of a couple’s relationship by the way they talk about their vision for the ring.
Julia: Everything in your home is beautiful – your furniture, dish-ware, your jewelry, your cat. Are you an impossible or an easy person for whom to buy a gift?
Caitlin: I have been told that I am the HARDEST person to buy a gift for because I have everything I want. But I think good gift giving is often about finding something that is particular and uniquely suited for someone, no matter the price. I have some friends who have given me gifts that I have loved, like plants that were selected specifically for my home and taste, but I have other friends who are so intimidated to give me gifts that they don’t even try. For the record, I love getting presents, so I would always encourage people to try! I could go on about gift giving forever…