Meet the Artist SPOTLIGHT: COLECTIVA
Since Pinch’s founding in 1979, we’ve been staunch supporters of independent artisans. We are constantly inspired by artists all over the country (and those close to home) who pursue their creative visions and help enhance the world with their work. Our shop is an homage to the beautiful and the odd, and we are endlessly grateful to curate a space so filled with charming, handcrafted goods.
To show our gratitude for the people who help us make that possible, we’ve launched a SPOTLIGHT series this year. We'll be taking you behind the scenes of our beloved artists' studios, interviewing them about their processes and snapping photos of their workspaces—bringing you right into the brilliant center of their creativity!
This month, we talked to our own Jena Sujat (known to many of you as the owner of Pinch), whose myriad talents include jewelry making! In 2016, she cofounded COLECTIVA with her dear friend Andrea Julian. Based in Austin, Texas, the duo uses raw (or rough-cut) stones to create elegantly minimal earrings. The RAW STUDS collection is available online and in the shop—no two pairs are the same, and the unique attributes of each stone are both visually and energetically appealing.
Pinch: Hi Jena! Thanks for inviting us into your workspace!
Jena Sujat: Welcome!
P: First, what inspired you to start making jewelry?
JS: I think Andrea’s been inspired a long time! For me, this started with our decision to get together weekly to make different things together, with different friends joining each week, and different people’s interests and talents as inspiration. Sometimes we made dreamcatchers, one time we potted plants, and then jewelry was a natural part of that.
P: What is your process like?
JS: It starts with a trip to Nature’s Treasures, a rock shop near my house in Austin. I pour out each type of stone and slowly go through looking for pairs that go together in some way, usually by color, shape, size, sheen, etc. After that there is preparing the backs and the stones, glueing them together, and putting them on cards or leather, and writing out the stone information on cards. Most of this happens at my kitchen table -- usually with coffee, cats, and sunlight.
P: Tell us why you decided to call this venture ‘Colectiva’:
JS: It was one night sitting at my table brainstorming with Andrea. She said she used to want to use the word “collective” in a business name, and later on in the night she used the word Colectiva – referring to her time spent in Guatamala – and I was like, That’s it! It refers to a group of people making things for the group, and also to Tejano, South & Latin American cultures, which we both love and are inspired by.
P: Why raw stones?
JS: I like how organic they are -- “misshapen” and not perfect. I’ve always preferred asymmetry to symmetry, and I’ve always liked stones with inclusions and “flaws.” When it comes to pottery, too, I like the unexpected effects that happen in a wood kiln. The unexpected or unplanned “mistakes” are usually what I like about pieces.
P: What’s your favorite stone and why?
JS: My favorite stone is turquoise, because it reminds me of my grandmother who loved Native American people and culture. She had a lot of turquoise with silver from the Southwest. I personally love it with gold, as a fresh & new combination.
P: What inspires you as an artist?
JS: Color and texture and composition. I’m drawn to certain colors and color combinations, and I like odd ones. I like assymetrical compositions and how color and texture and shape form composition.
P: Are you planning to branch into other types of jewelry, and if so, what can we expect to see next from Colectiva?
JS: I love the simplicity and ease of these earrings, and their affordable price point. I could see making simple matching necklaces with the same stones. Also, I know Andrea has ideas for new things to try – she is full of ideas and creativity!