Get to Know Our Artists: Hannah Blount Jewelry Q&A
Hannah Blount has been a staple at NEWTWIST for a few years now, but she continues to amaze us with her whimsical, out-of-the-box designs that simultaneously exhibit a raw yet refined elegance. Her one-of-a-kind work is handcrafted at her studio in Boston, MA.
1. Your incredible work has been such a welcome, artful addition to the NEWTWIST family. You continually set yourself apart and we love seeing what you come up with next. Can you tell us a little about what drew you to jewelry design and how you got your start? Ah that means so much to me! Thank you! Well, I started making jewelry when I was six years old- I was one of many kids in our old house, and we didn’t have TV to entertain us. Both of my parents worked liked crazy to feed all seven mouths. We were left to entertain ourselves, which I am grateful for- it gave me so much opportunity to be a maker. I started making jewelry when I was gifted a Klutz bead book, and I never stopped.
2. What about your childhood? How does that influence your work of today? It influences my understanding of beauty. I grew up in a big house on Nantucket Island. My dad is a commercial fisherman, and our yard was covered with barnacles and orange buoys, old seashells and moss and bright turquoise fishing nets. We didn’t have money, despite the name of our island- but we had so much beauty. The island’s combination of wealth and industry, tourism and fishing- the nostalgia of the ocean- that showed me what beauty is.
3. What drives your creative process? As a kid, you spend so much time trying to fit in- as I grow older, I realize it is the weirder and more bizarre of my jewelry that attracts my customers. It is the story the jewelry tells that touches people. This has allowed me to really explore different concepts with confidence- I am excited to see where it brings me!
4. Your cameo collection is what first intrigued and captured us. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to create this eye-catching collection and what it represents? Thank you! The Grey Ladies come from my love of Art Nouveau jewelry, and my great Aunt Ruth’s antique cameo ring. She was like my grandmother- and while I visited her as a kid, I would always play with her rings. I developed a love of faces and face motifs, which drew me to Art Nouveau jewelry. I connected with the way women were portrayed in jewelry from that era- so powerful and feminine at the same time. The Grey Ladies are my modern interpretation of a cameo. They are women: raw, strong, confident, calm. They are my armor.
5. What’s your favorite stone? What material(s) do you like to work with most? Turquoise, most definitely. I can’t get enough of it- and 18k gold! I also love taking materials like quahog shells and beetle wings and turning them into something unexpectedly precious. Value is a relative term.
6. How would you describe your personal style? Your day-to-day jewelry style? My personal style is quite boring- jeans, t-shirt, and scarf- regardless of the season! Mostly I love to wear simple but colorful clothing. When it comes to jewelry, I almost always wear turquoise studs and grey lady rings.
7. How did you and your dog, Beryl Blount, meet? Beryl was a stray in Texas before he was rescued and brought to the East Coast for adoption. I fell for that little fluffball the moment I saw him! I was going to wait a year before adopting a pup, but I reached out anyways- his foster mom read my application and said we were made for each other. What’s extra fun is that I met Jodi and Colleen the day before I got to pick him up- so when they met me, all I could do was show them pictures of the pooch- not the jewelry!
Since then, Beryl has taken on many roles in the studio- he is currently the head of HR but he fires people almost daily if they won’t share their lunch. It definitely keeps us on our toes.
8. What are your everyday essentials? Beryl, Turquoise, coffee, cookies, Beryl, mythological podcasts, Beryl, and Harry Potter!
9. Describe yourself in a hashtag. #dontlookatmelikethatberyl
10. Do you have a style icon? Beth Dacey, an artist in my building- even when she is covered in paint she looks so accidentally fabulous!
11. What is the most adventurous thing that you’ve done? Wow I am suddenly feeling very un-adventurous. Hmmm… I once brought Beryl into a Walgreens where he wasn’t allowed- but then he pooped so that didn’t really go so well.
12. What’s your favorite scent? Coffee, or cookies baking in the oven.
13. Favorite food? Cookie dough. I wish I had healthier eating habits?
15. What are you most excited about right now? I am excited to make jewelry! I have been having so much fun working at the bench- every morning I can’t wait to get to work, and I hate leaving at the end of the day.
Photos by Laura Barton