Erin Considine, textile and jewelry designer

Photos by Brian W. Ferry

Midway through our visit to Erin Considine’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment earlier this summer, we began talking about her parents, who — no surprise here — are interior designers. She told us a story about her father being on a job site in Connecticut in the 1980s, where a company was giving away all of its Knoll furniture. A set of Mies van der Rohe Brno chairs here, a Saarinen Tulip table there — these are sorts the things the Brooklyn jewelry designer grew up with. When my jaw dropped, she shrugged. “It’s just being in the right place at the right time,” she says.

Considine should know. Her home is filled with the spoils of an expert thrifter — major pieces of fiber art, a paint by numbers horse, light fixtures picked up at stoop sales for less than a tenner — and since 2009, she’s been making jewelry that often takes as its starting point metal forms or pieces that were found, either in deadstock warehouses or on the street. After college, she says, “I started doing out doing experiments and casting. I was making these little washer rings — metal washers I found on the street that I would set in rings or pins. That still creeps into the collection every once in a while.”

But Considine’s jewelry practice doesn’t rely entirely on luck. The other side of the equation is discipline and healthy dose of self-education. Considine is known for her natural dyeing capabilities — she even teaches a class at New York’s Textile Arts Center about it — but it’s a skill she learned only recently. “At first it was mainly a kitchen experiment — dying with turmeric and onion skin and avocado skin and hibiscus,” Considine says. “Those dye stuffs are awesome for everyday casual dyeing. But if you’re going to make a product it’s really important to dye with something more substantive —things like indigo and woad and madder root. I took a class in Philly last fall from this man who’s been studying the chemistry of natural dyes for the last 30 years, and he explains everything in a very scientific way. There are so many old wives tales surrounding natural dyeing, and he breaks it down and explains. There are factors like pH, the temperature of the water, the alkalinity in the water — it was so interesting.”

Each collection is inspired by a different place and time in Considine’s life; last year, a girls’ vacation to the Southwest inspired both her weaving techniques and the palette. To see more of her inspirations, read through the slideshow at right, and to view the entire collection, visit Considine’s online shop or stop by the New York Capsule show, where Considine will be parked through the end of the day tomorrow!