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Five for Friday: Jewelry Designer + Metalsmith Olivia Shih

Five for Friday: Jewelry Designer + Metalsmith Olivia Shih
Five questions with jewelry designer and metalsmith Olivia Shih. Based in Oakland, Olivia hand-carves each of her pieces, creating textured, unique works of art. Olivia is dedicated to conscious making, and her work explores the juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability. Be sure to check out her inspiring work at A+T, both online and in-store! 

1. Where do you find style inspiration?
OS: My design inspiration comes from singular moments that I connect deeply with. That moment can be seeing the striking image of a flipped iceberg - a phenomenon that is happening more frequently due to climate change. Or it can be afternoon sunlight flowing across a white wall. 

 How would you describe your style?
OS: Minimal with an edge...and a dash of comfort. I spend most of my waking hours in the studio making jewelry and listening to "This American Life," so comfort is essential.

3. What is some professional advice that helped you navigate your career?
OS: Sometimes bad luck can upset the best of plans. I'm learning to coexist with unpredictability, and also to build financial and time buffers into my business. 

4. What advice would you give others looking to challenge social norms? 
OS: Educate yourself. Fact check the things you read. Question the hegemony. Build your own value system.

5. What is your personal motto?
OS: "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum." It's a made-up Latin phrase that loosely translates into, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." I came across this phrase in Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, when I was in middle school, and it changed the way I understood society. 

Many thanks to the brilliant and thoughtful Olivia for finding the time to chat with us! 

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