Up and Coming
Annie Lenon, Jewelry Designer

“I grew up going to pow-wows and stuff” isn’t the first thing you expect Annie Lenon to say as she’s puttering around the garden apartment and studio she shares with her boyfriend in a brownstone in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene. But then you recall that the 25-year-old jewelry-maker and Pratt grad hails from Bozeman, a city of 27,000 located in the southwestern corner of Montana — a state that with its prairies and badlands and Indian reservations seems downright exotic to most New Yorkers — and you realize she’s working from an entirely different reference point. In her day job, Lenon works in brand packaging for West Elm, and since last fall, she’s been a co-curator for shows by the American Design Club along with fellow New York designers Kiel Mead, Henry Julier, and Rich, Brilliant, Willing. But her most notable work has been as the author of two small but deft jewelry collections. The first offered knotted chains or single strands hung with cast silver python-rib charms; the second, called Ceremony, played with cascades of wildly colored hand-knotted German silk thread. “I was more interested in fringe,” Lenon says, “but they came out looking like Native American breastplates.”

Given her upbringing, it’s safe to assume the designer’s tribal inspiration isn’t just runway-inspired flummery. “It’s like when Sorel Boots became popular,” she muses. “They were the biggest clunkiest snowboots when I was a kid and I hated wearing them. And now they’re the biggest thing.”

Style movement you most identify with:
Bohemian.

What you keep around the house for inspiration:
Rocks, branches, books, fabric, photographs

Place you go to be inspired:
Montana

Album most played while you work:
I mostly listen to bluegrass.

First thing you ever made:
A fairy potion out of petals, grass, dirt, and water… and magic.

portrait

necklaces

carbonbulb

dreamcatcher

portrait

The designer in her garden

LEATHER 1

Favorite material to work with: Metal paired with something soft, like fabric or leather. I like the juxtaposition.

prouve light

Design hero: Jean Prouvé for his forms and his shapes. His objects have such beautiful lines.

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Art hero: Joan Mitchell. For a while, I was very tight with my work and I like how loose and emotional her work is. I’m also really attracted to artists who have a total inner child. And her use of color is amazing.

dreamcatcher

Item you wish you'd made: The first dreamcatcher

swissco

Favorite everyday object: I love the minimal shape of Swissco Toothbrushes. It’s all a toothbrush needs to be. I like that they are most commonly a neutral color palette — white or black with natural bristles — but then they’ll throw a jazzy pattern at you like checkers.

carbonbulb

Favorite design object: Carbon or tungsten-filament lightbulbs. Again just extremely beautiful simple objects. I love the different-shaped filaments — I have one that looks like a leaf. When they’re lit, they offer the most amazing soft light.

animal

Fictional character who would own your work: Animal the Muppet. It was my nickname in third grade.

vanessa

Name a celebrity and what you would make for them: Vanessa Paradis, a low-slung necklace.

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Favorite shop: Erie Basin. It’s a little shop way off the beaten path in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s full of tiny trinkets and antique jewelry — curated to perfection.

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Inspiration for your Saetta dishware: Maps and paths, geometry, space, and lightning

necklaces

Three specimens from Lenon's Ceremony collection. "When I was really young I used to make jewelry all the time, but at Pratt they don’t let you do a double major and I didn’t have an interest in studying it. Senior year I started making more and I realized it’s the easiest thing to do quickly out of my apartment."