Creating jewelry from found objects is Laura Lobdell’s special art. As if by magic, this artist-silversmith transforms common found objects into unique jewelry with curious, quirky narratives. We had the opportunity to meet with Lobdell at her cozy shop off Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village. In her refined, soft-spoken and articulate manner, Lobdell guided us through her creations.
We first remarked on the bold and intriguing champagne cork ring that graced her finger, the initials LL elaborately engraved along the top. Lobdell then pointed us towards a weighty sabered cork necklace on display in her showcase. The creation was beautifully fashioned with meticulous attention paid to every detail. For those desiring specialty gifts, many of Lobdell’s pieces can easily be engraved in order to convey a personalized touch.
Lobdell’s charming designs are nostalgic yet free-spirited; they bring to mind memories of home and simple, sweet beginnings, while simultaneously portraying a feeling of liberation and playful adventurousness. Incidentally, her woman's collection "Free Bird," is inspired by the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd's song of the 1970s.
Although it is difficult to choose from the wonderful pieces in Lobdell’s shop, particular standouts include a “lit” cigarette tipped with a cluster of red sapphires; a precious tiny fly, eliciting wonder at the patience and skill required for such attention to detail; an enchanting vintage key to Lobdell’s Grandmother’s chocolate safe; a candy valentine sweetheart necklace; and the unforgettable "candy dots on paper" earrings, which evoke nostalgic sugar-dissolving-on-tongue memories of childhood.
Lobdell’s men's collection, “Five Easy Pieces,” is inspired by the gritty character-driven 1970s film of the same name. The collection includes a functional silver guitar pick, a crushed bottle cap, a silver bullet casing, a branch on indigo sculpted out of silver rather than coral, and a key that once fit her grandmother's antique piano, an instrument that Lobdell has always wished she could play. This particular collection is especially popular and has generated quite a demand among Lobdell’s customers.
A value for shared connections permeates much of Lobdell’s work and is inspired by her lengthy travels through Asia to places such as Cambodia, Nepal, India, and the TransSiberian Railroad. Lobdell’s special designing of a friendship bracelet named the “Armicitia” is one such example, stirred as she was by a desire to promote peace through protective jewelry. The name, which means “to bind by friendship” in Latin, arises from a search for a non-culturally-bound term, and reflects the aspiration for harmony throughout the globe.
Each Armicitia is hand-stitched in Nepal, made from recycled familiar blue jeans, and filled with sacred Native American Sagebrush, historically known for its spiritual and protective qualities. Accompanying the Armicitia peace bracelet is a lovely instruction manual printed on hand-crafted paper, depicting two white doves coming together, symbolic of a formal invitation to peace. As is Lobdell’s goal, every purchase of an Armicitia bracelet supports the efforts of indigenous Nepalese, empowers the women of the communities and ultimately promotes peace.
Lobdell’s gorgeous, wholly unique jewelry has been featured in a variety of top fashion magazines, including Bazaar, Lucky and Allure Magazine. She enjoys sharing the spotlight with her beloved Japanese Chin, Xiao, who was recently selected as cover dog for the newly-published book, Dog Palaces: Designer Beds for Pampered Pooches by Brian Coleman.