A+T Studio: Reopened + Refreshed
While others were learning to make bread and dancing their hearts out on TikTok, studio owner Viviana refreshed our gorgeous Milwaukee Avenue jewel box. Read our latest interview on what inspires her and how she cultivated her creativity in quarantine.
Q: It's been three months since the store closed. What were you up to in those early weeks? How were you feeling?
In the early weeks of COVID I went into emergency solutions mode. I knew immediately that we would need to secure the store and transition everything online as soon as possible to ensure we would be able to weather the closure.
My overall mindset those first several weeks was positive. I viewed the pandemic as a large pressure test for the business. I could now see if the automations we designed into our systems had worked. It would also produce creative ways to quickly pivot. From the onset of the pandemic, I wanted our messaging to be positive and proactive.
I will say as an extrovert, I began to feel the collective stress of the quarantine about 2 weeks or so in. The social isolation was the worst.
Personal NoteBook: Tiger Lilly Sketch
Q: Where did you find the most inspiration during Stay at Home?
Did that inspiration change as time went on?
I am a huge Pinterest fan. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one still left on there, lol. I was archiving a lot of visuals from fine artists I follow, like Azuma Makoto. I love collecting black and white historical photos of lovers as well as poetry.
In the early months, I needed to focus on our marketing and I was creating more graphic design and social media content. Quickly producing an Instagram TV series called Adornment and Theory at Home, just a week and a half after Stay-in-Place was ordered.
By April/ May I had more time and began to draw and paint more.
The quarantine created time I had been wanting to catch up on a very long reading list, journaling, a large backlog of podcast, and to create just for fun.
Q: Do you have any daily routines you use to keep you focused?
I am big on personal discipline. So I chose to keep my pre-COVID daily routine during quarantine for some daily structure and "normalcy."
Every day I do a devotional/journal, work out, cook breakfast, and begin work. It was nice to have a change in pace and not work 50 hour weeks. I would end my workdays around 4/5pm and make dinner every night with my husband. We both run such hectic lives it was nice to slow down and have a more balanced time schedule.
Q: Do you ever suffer from creative blocks? If so, how do you shake that off?
When I do hit a block, I typically change mediums. If I need a break from jewelry, I will do graphic design, sketch, write, build out an event, or even plan an elaborate meal I'm excited about. I think it's important for me to continue to output creatively so that I keep that muscle strong. If I hit a point where I don't want to produce anything, I typically listen to business podcasts or interviews of high output performers. It inspires me and gives me the motivation I need to keep going.
Q: The mural on the store wall looks so great!
Was this initially a design for the wall, or did it start as a sketch?
It began as just a series of sketches and watercolors in my notebook. I had no intention of doing anything with them. Then when we were brainstorming redesigning our wall we went through several design options, such as wallpaper and paint. Bianca suggested one of my sketches and I began to imagine the mural from there.
1st Proposed Design
2nd Proposed Design
Q: Any favorite designers, websites, books, or Instagram accounts you seek out for inspiration?
Anything by Kehinde Wiley, archival Cartier, and Marco & Co sketches,
and North African jewelry.
current obsessions // Instagram accounts