I am very excited to introduce our first interview, with the highly talented artist and awesome human Iveth Morales from The Angry Weather! She makes delicate, sweet jewelry in her studio in Montreal, in an instantly recognizable style, which I just love. I’m pleased to say I’m the owner of one of her brooches, and even more pleased to be able to share with you the chat we had while relatively 6,000 km away from each other. By the way, Iveth also has a blog (Mademoiselle Cranky Pants) where she shares bits of her life and work.
Kittenhood: How did you become a jeweler?
Iveth: It’s weird because I was never the kind of person that liked to use jewelry that much, but I think my love for it came, in a way, from my love of collecting rocks and minerals. It all started when I discovered this really cool bead shop full of beautiful mineral beads, turquoise, carnelian, fluorite, lapis lazuli, amethysts. I wanted to buy them all but then, what to do with them, right? So I signed up for this bead and wire class right there and then, as the only way to put to use all these beautiful rocks was making jewelry.
At the beginning, it was just a hobby. It was a time where I had this really stressful job in fashion retail, and learning bead and wire was a way to relax and put my mind into something creative. Then my coworkers started noticing my designs and started asking to buy them. It was really fun and truly where it all started. Things have evolved so much since then, the medium, my techniques, my aesthetics, everything! Once I learned to work with metals, a huge door opened up in front of me with a world of possibilities. It was no longer a thing of using rocks to construct something beautiful, working with metals became a form of expression and a reflection of the person I am.
K: How did you know you were ready to start selling your stuff?
I: Since I started learning metal construction, I knew I wanted to eventually use it to sell my designs, as I had done previously with bead and wire. But definitely, it didn’t happen right away. I think it took me a couple of years of metal construction classes to feel I was ready, and even then, I had so many doubts! I think what made me realize I could do it was when I started feeling comfortable with what I was doing and I started designing my first collection. It felt like I had something there and that it could work, so I said, alright, let’s do this and see how it goes!
K: What’s the story behind naming “The Angry Weather”?
I: My first ever collection was the Weather collection, all about clouds and rain and lightning. It came to be as a mix of my fixation with drawing clouds and my admiration and respect for the forces of nature. I think I also saw it as a way to express the feelings I was experiencing at the moment (and that i still do!). So I kind of reflected on being safe inside this feeling, but aware of the storm raging outside, and the chances you take when you step out: it could be a soft summer rain that fills you with joy or a cold autumn storm that scares you a bit and makes you run, but either way, life is about experiencing it all.
“The Angry Weather may sound scary or aggressive but it’s truly about looking at things with another perspective and thinking that all storms are bound to pass and that life, with all its challenges, is a beautiful thing.”
K: What’s your favorite material or tool to work with?
I: Even though I love the look of silver more than anything, since I learned to work with gold it’s been quite a love story! And I’m talking from a jeweler’s perspective. Gold just goes with it and lets you do what you will with it, so noble.
K: What inspires your work? Can you take us through your creative process?
I: It could be almost anything, to be honest: from nature and its endless possibilities to my family, my home and memories or experiences. For a time, I was trying to push myself to release a collection each year and, in a way, it was fun because it pushes you to be creative even when you think you are too busy to experiment. But for the other part, I started feeling this pressure that I did not enjoy. Like I needed to keep up all the time and sometimes that’s not good, especially if you are like me and prefer to go with the flow. So now I’m not pushing myself that way and I just let things to come as they will. For me, it’s easier to just enjoy what I’m doing at the moment and have time to look around me.
“Inspiration always comes when I allow myself the time to enjoy my surroundings and the things I love.”
I’m always creating, always making new things and experimenting with shapes and techniques. But of course, most of that experimenting stays that way and only the things that really speak to me and that inspire me to go ahead and keep working with that shape, with that material or whatever, are the pieces that transform to entire collections.
K: And what happens when you feel uninspired?
I: It’s one of the worst feelings, to be honest, but it’s a reality when you do creative work. As I said earlier, I try not to push myself in a way that feels like I HAVE to release a collection, that I HAVE to come up with something new all the time. When I do that, most often than not I get blocked or I tend to do things that don’t satisfy me 100%. What I like to do when inspiration is lacking is to just breathe deep, drink a cup of tea, go for a walk or take a day off, and the next day I just try to get all distraction out of my creative space (sometimes cleaning the studio does wonders when I’m blocked!), put on some music that I love, and try to start from zero. So, in the end, giving myself a break and working on an inspiring space tend to do the trick for me.
K: Do you have an all-time favorite piece from your shop? Is it different from what customers order the most?
I: Yeah, I have my faves of course! One of my all time faves is the Refuge necklace, it just means so much to me and I think is one of my most recognizable designs, it sort of defines my style. The same could be said of my Lightning Bolts or the Little Bronze House necklace, and the funny thing is that even when some of those designs are 5 years old or even more, people still buy and love them a lot. Most recently, the Tulip brooch became a huge fave, I’m just in love with it and although the other pieces kind of defined me to start with, the Tulip brooch (and the Foliage collection in general) speak so much of where I stand as a creative person right now. Very often, how I feel towards a particular piece translates on what people like from my shop, I guess customers can feel where the enthusiasm resides and is contagious but of course, sometimes I came up with a piece that I adore and then it doesn’t sell as much and it’s puzzling! I think that, as a creative person that depends on their customers to make a living, it’s important to listen to what they like from what you do and try to develop things based on those likes. But I also think that it’s super important to keep your creative values and truly stand with what your mind/heart tells you to do, as this is what makes what you do truly special.
K: You’re rather big on Instagram! How much of a role does social media play in the marketing of your brand?
I: With IG was mutual love from the start, I’m a huge fan of the app and I’m happy people like what they see on my feed! I definitely think I’m better at communicating ideas on a visual plane, than in any other way. Instagram has been the perfect tool for me as it has helped me not only to promote my jewelry but to tell a more complete story of how the things I do come to be. At the end of the day, that’s the best way to show the real meaning of what I create.
Social media is a basic tool when it comes to promoting The Angry Weather. I simply cannot depend on search engines for people to find my work, I need to put it out there, and find my market. And it’s amazing what a difference it can make! For example, when I spend too much time on the bench and totally disconnect from social media, things tend to be slow. Of course, spending time on the bench is awesome because I make so much stuff and become so productive! But then I get stuck there with a bunch of stock that is simply not moving, so in the end, it’s hard for business to just focus on one thing. It’s best to always give time to social media and promotion, to connect with others and also to support other in the same situation than you!
K: If you started your business today, what would you do differently?
I: If I had that chance, maybe I’d work more on my branding since the very beginning. I always feel like I’m jumping from here to there all the time, changing stuff – although, maybe that’s just part of the journey!
K: Finally, can we talk a little about your cat?
I: Aww yeah! His name is Ronbon, he’s been with us for a little less than a year and we are totally in love with him. We adopted him from a rescue center when he was a baby after they rescued him from the street. And we didn’t know much about cats before, he’s basically our first cat (I had one when i was very young but he practically lived in the street and was pretty much a feral cat, biting and scratching every time I wanted to pet him, so…) and we didn’t really know what to expect when he came here. But everything has been awesome, he loves to hang out close to us all the time and follow us around. So our days are a lot more fun, but also full of distractions.