How Jewelry Designer Hannah Jewett Embraced A Pivot To Candles

Equal parts menace and finesse, Hannah Jewett‘s jewelry designs have been embraced by many a celebrity stylist, appearing on post-pop star Charli XCX, the comedian Julio Torres, and rendered influencer Lil Miquela. While not exactly tactile, her work begs to be touched — if only because you half expect to be zapped on contact. A pre-pandemic campaign with the 3-D artist Carol Civre did well to contextualize Jewett’s pieces in sleek rooms awash with neon, punctuated by chrome furnishings and windows framed up on pastel cloudscapes. It feels right for a year when time is only as much of this world as one of Dali’s melted clocks; when the solidity of the materials that define and refine us, and our surroundings, have done nothing but shift, blur, and blend.

With factories closed and her Dumbo studio inaccessible during lockdown, 2020 prompted something of a return to form for Jewett. Leaning into the “ambiguous energy” of her designs, she decided to try her hand at candles. The process, though initially modified per the limitations of quarantine, was not dissimilar to her modern spin on smithing. Shapes began in the 3D modeler Rhino, and files were then sent to Shapeways in Long Island City to be printed. Jewett built a box in which to submerge each model in silicone at home, creating the negative molds into which the candle wax was then poured. Jewett doesn’t do any major hand-carving or -shaping, relying on the process to deliver the fantastical, vaguely sinister forms that have come to define her oeuvre, then tweaking here and there to allow for proper wick placement and a better burn.

Newly living in the financial district with her partner and pet gecko, Jewett’s latest collection, available at SSENSE and in limited-edition colorways at Coming Soon, mines unexpected sources of inspiration: a coiled hose laying out on the street, light hitting a puddle in a particularly striking way. “I find myself focusing on things I maybe didn’t notice before,” she says. “It’s been a new tool set that I’ve been trying to develop.” And don’t worry, the candles won’t zap you — at least not this time around.

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