I am in love with LOVE+KEEP’s knitted jewelry lines. Textile & graphic designer and jewelry maker, Van Kim Le, is the creator of the gorgeous jewelry goodies and was interviewed for today’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx interview.
What’s the significance of the name Love and Keep, what do you create and sell and how did you get your start?
I love browsing and shopping. There always comes a point when you have to get rid of things to make room for the new. Sometimes it’s a struggle to decide whether to let it go or keep it. Love+Keep is part of my design philosophy. I want to create a piece that is special enough to love and keep.
Please share some of your artistic, culinary, and musical inspirations.
Photography has always been one my biggest loves and inspiration. I’m also a textile designer so patterns can spark any kind of creative desires. A lot of times, one idea leads to to another and sometimes the outcome is a complete surprise. That in itself is an inspiration.
I’m far from a cook, but watching cooking competition shows is a major favorite for me…. Top Chef, Kitchen Nightmare, Hell’s Kitchen, pretty much anything Ramsey. There is always so much heart and passion behind their determination to succeed. Plus it’s extremely entertaining.
Music is definitely always on in the background when I’m brainstorming or creating. I can’t get enough of Little Dragon, The XX, Mayer Hawthorne. I love Motown and vocal jazz even though I can’t name many artist. Radiohead, Bjork, The Cure, Quantic, Grizzly Bear, MF Doom, Portishead. I’m sure I’ve left some out. It also depends on my mood, time of day, phase of my life, current work.
Who are 3 of your favorite artists of all time?
Kay Nielsen, Andre Kertesz, Sam Flores.
Do you have a mentor? If not, who would your dream mentor be?
Not technically, but I do consider my dad a mentor. He’s my biggest inspiration in life. If I could choose a mentor, it would be DANNIJO. I’m so impressed by their work and business.
What is the draw to chainlink as an artistic medium?
Taking my jewelry line into the direction of knitted chains was a happy accident. I taught myself how to knit. One day while making jewelry, I picked up a suede cord and started looping it into slipknots out of a knitting habit. Then I combined it with a chain. The idea was so interesting that I played with using the technique. The way it falls, drapes and feels is so lovely. I’m also drawn to how unique it is as jewelry.
Describe the most challenging and easiest steps of your creative process.
Most challenging… starting a new design because I never know how it will behave once it’s off the needle. There have been many hour spent on designs that just don’t work. It is also challenging to finish the end of a piece because if one loop slips, it will start to unravel and I lose the whole thing.
The easiest step is just being in the groove to a straight forward design. I’ve become better with practice and sometimes it’s meditative and relaxing to do something tedious.
Silver or gold? Smile or laugh? Glitz or pizzaz?
Gold, laugh, glitz.
If you could knit one thing forever what would it be?
It would be one of my swatch necklaces. 1) because it’s one of those pieces that is stress-free to make and I enjoy making it, 2) it’s one my my most popular pieces and 3) I’m a bit sentimental…. it’s one my first designs.
What are the best and the worst things about being an independent maker/creator?
Best: seeing the sun, having my dog around while I work, freedom of vision and execution, the joy of other being excited about my work, no dress code, I can make jewelry at 2 in the morning in pjs while watching a movie, I can talk to my sister more.
Worst: being my own manager and organizing, doing everything myself and keeping it straight in my head, being my own toughest critic, not seeing as many people as I did at previous jobs, being my own toughest critic.