Photographed by Pola Esther
"What inspires me? It can be any combination of sources that spark my creative flow."
I have an extensive collection of rare books ranging from: art, art history, architecture, interior design, illustration, nature, science, jewelry, gemology, and ancient mythology. I love spending my spare time taking in the beauty and knowledge their pages have to offer.
My heritage is Egyptian Dominican and since childhood, I have been fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture and art. I spent summers in Egypt and Dominican Republic and at the age of 5, I visited the ancient pyramids of Giza and it forever left an impression on me.
I grew up in the Big Apple and still reside here today. The energy gives me a high and everything this amazing city represents - the people, the music, the art, the food, the hustle - influences me in so many ways.
Exploring both domestic and international destinations heightens my creativity. I absolutely love to travel and pull inspiration from various cultures, architecture, and natural landscapes. I am especially drawn to the powerful energy of the ocean as it draws me in and allows my mind to open itself up.
I listen to all different types of music based on my mood. From hard core industrial to hip-hop, from psychedelic cosmic jazz to vintage Latin-Afro beats, the trance-like state music puts me in my creative flow and provokes all kinds of new ideas.
I surround myself with deliciously perfumed candles, incense, and Palo Santo, which help me get grounded and focused.
I collect many different things such as precious gemstones, diamonds, as well as non-precious stones. I also save rocks, pebbles, and seashells I find on the beach, plants, insects, crystals, and all kinds of curious objects and art from around the world. If I see something that speaks to me, I keep it around for inspiration.
I have been studying Reiki healing energy and incorporating that into my work and my pieces. All of my creations are blessed and charged with healing and empowering energy for my clients.
8 Ways To Ignite Creativity
1. Overcome The Fear of Imperfection
Remember when you were a child and enjoyed doodling, drawing, and making art- even "bad art"? To be creative, you must tap into your inner child and just give in to the moment. The outcome doesn't matter; you should just focus on enjoying the feeling and freedom of the process. Don't be afraid of making "bad art." Art is subjective. Art is a release of your energy using a medium like paper, paint, pens, markers, clay... whatever medium you choose - the point is to just start somewhere and just go for it.
Stop overthinking, stop trying to be perfect, and stop worrying about what other people think. Most of those people watching you and giving you their unwarranted criticism are usually the ones that are too afraid to even try, so they did nothing - their opinions do not matter.
Take some advice from these wise words of Ricky Gervais: " It's better to create something that others criticise than to create nothing and criticise others."
2. Don't Share Your Ideas & Goals (Until It's All Done)
Stop sharing your ideas and goals with unqualified people. I know it is very tempting to share your excitement about your new great idea with others, but do so wisely. When you prematurely share your thoughts, the reality is that most people cannot truly understand your vision because they can only speak from their own experiences and thoughts. If your idea is still in its seed form - its in YOUR head. So how can they really fully understand?
People will often not share the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm as you, they may even doubt you, or they may tell you how they think you should go about your project, or tell you how someone else did it too, or how you should look into doing so and so. You may end up just doubting yourself, your ideas, your goals, and that spark and sense of excitement that you initially had- that will end up fizzling out, and you may lose motivation and get stuck - or worse, give up.
Instead of telling everyone your goals and ideas, channel that positive energy executing your wondrous ideas, planning, and bringing your work to fruition. Then you'll really have something to talk about. You really do not need anyone else's approval to create.
3. Keep A Sketchbook
Try to keep a sketchbook or notepad with you at all times, so you will be ready to jot down ideas whenever the creative inspiration hits. I have sketchbooks in different sizes to keep one in each of my bags at all times. I keep a tiny sketchbook and pencil in my sports fanny pack when I go out for a run, so when I have a thought or an idea for a design, I can quickly sketch it out, so I don't forget.
I also love to doodle - doodling is just freestyle drawing with no purpose and with no care of perfection. Often, my best ideas come to me when I scribble or, as I call it, "chicken scratch." This is a great way to warm up and just get your creative juices flowing.
Sketchbooks are great because they are inexpensive, accessible, blank sheets of paper. If the thought of messing up that precious blank piece of paper gives you anxiety, I suggest going ahead and purposely ruin it, so it becomes less precious and no longer perfect. Go ahead, scribble on it, crumple it, spill coffee on it, test color paint on it. Then go back and sketch and doodle on that messed-up piece of paper. Since it's no longer perfect, crisp, and blank, you will be able to let go - I swear this works.
4. Get Physical
Whenever I'm experiencing a creative block, I force myself to get in a good dose of aerobic exercise. Exercising helps us unblock Qi energy (the Chinese word for life force energy), essential to creativity, productivity, and overall good health. When we exercise, we get our blood flowing. Our brains receive more oxygen, and the parts of our brain associated with creativity, memory, and concentration will receive a powerful boost of energy. You will also get a rush of endorphins (chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain), making you feel calmer and giving you a feeling of euphoria.
5. Get Off Your Phone
Too much social media and being on your phone are a huge distraction. We can literally spend hours, or for some people, entire days completely wasted just scrolling away watching people dancing horribly on TikTok or viewing highly curated photos of the lives of "influencers" on Instagram. Why waste your precious life away on being the passive audience when you can spend time creating something that brings you joy in real life? Give yourself a break and put your phone away for a few hours and be productive. You might even find that you really enjoy your own company.
6. Dream, Baby, Daydream
Most of us have become workaholics and are busy being busy all the time. For our minds to be creative, we must allow time for our brains to relax and do nothing. When we are bored, our minds begin to wander, and this is we begin to daydream—daydreaming sparks new ideas.
7. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Activate your creative muscles and get out of your comfort zone. I am a big proponent of trying new things, so I often take classes on different topics that interest me but have no prior knowledge of. You don't necessarily need to get a degree in twenty various topics or become an expert at everything, but exploring different things will stimulate your senses, challenge you in unexpected ways, and make you a better problem solver. If you are a painter, try taking a writing or cooking course. If you are a graphic designer, try taking a music or architecture course. Scientific research has shown that task switching maximizes creative performance.
8. Carve Out Time For Play
If you think playtime is just for children, you are wrong. Playtime for adults is essential. Playing uses imagination, relieves stress, releases endorphins, improves brain function, leading to a boost in creativity. One of my favorite things about being creative is giving myself the freedom to make time for play. I have no shame. I am a big kid and still enjoy playing dress-up and unleashing my alter ego. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. I love collaborating with my photographer and artist friends because together, we have a great time creating different worlds using costume, makeup, and photography as a medium.
Playing with children is also fun and therapeutic. I get a ton of great inspiration from playing with my son. Children are naturally creative and curious. One of the perks of being a mom to a young child is the endless play and the feeling of being a kid again. Tap into your creativity by playing make-believe, video games, sports, making art, and of course collecting toys. If you have children, stop being so serious and enjoy playing with them.
"Creativity - like human life itself - begins in darkness."
- Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way
I begin by reading and researching the theme, the symbolic meaning behind a piece, and how it will work architecturally. I also study materials and gemstones. The ideas themselves usually come to me in dreams or when I’m in a very relaxed meditative state. Creating is a very personal and spiritual experience for me. I will see the finished three dimensional piece in my mind and have to immediately put it on paper. I often wake up in the middle of the night and have to sketch it out while it’s fresh in my memory.
Motion also stimulates my thoughts so I am constantly on the move. When I go for a run I carry a pocket-sized sketchbook so I never miss an idea.
Bespoke pieces are created with my client’s unique energy and personality in mind. I learn about the wearer by asking personal questions, understanding distinctive preferences, and I even ask them for a photo of themselves so I can use all these elements to create a one-of-a-kind piece as individual as they are.
Sometimes visions for pieces come to me immediately and other times I have to wait until the design of the piece manifests in my mind.
THE ART of DRAWING
The medium I use is dependent on my mood. Sometimes I may do a quick loose sketch with pencils, watercolors, and markers on paper. Other times I’ll do more refined and fleshed out illustrated jewelry paintings using gouache paint and colored pencils.
Once the design is done I move into the technical aspects of the piece for measurement purposes. Depending on the complexity and aesthetic I want to achieve, I either collaborate with my CAD technical team to produce the final precise modeled rendering or I’ll carve and sculpt my models in jewelers wax the traditional way, by hand. Either way, a flat drawing must be translated to a three-dimensional piece that works aesthetically, architecturally and functionally once they come to life.
I work with a team of master jewelers who have devoted their lives to studying and developing their craft in the art of creating the finest jewelry. These craftsmen have developed a level of skill that very few people can achieve. Their precision is unique in themselves as each individual may specialize in a particular area of jewelry making.
ADDITIONAL STEPS INCLUDE:
- Diamond Procurement
- Gemstone Procurement
- Specialized Gemstone Cutting
- Model Making
- Soldering & Welding
- Sanding & Polishing
- Metal / Gold-Smithing
- Gemstone Setting
Then the finishing touches and fine details like hand-engraving, detailed polishing, enameling, and then yet another couple of rounds of polishing are done.
God is in the details.
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Jewelry designer and founder Angie Marei strives to bring together the worlds of fine jewelry and art. Be the first to find out about our latest work, press and exclusive events.