ARC objects | seasonless ceramic jewellery made in NYC
This time we bring you the story of Daniela Jacobs – Parsons graduate who started up her own label – ARC objects. ARC is a collection of ceramic jewellery and objects combining responsibly sourced materials and bold seasonless design. The talented New Yorker, based in downtown Manhattan, tells us more about her work and herself…
WHO IS DANIELA JACOBS, HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
I was born in New York City, and raised here in NYC and in Mallorca, Spain. Both places have always been and continue to be enormous sources of aesthetic and cultural inspiration for me. I’ve been interested in design and creative exploration for as long as I can remember. As a kid, a good pencil and any surface I could draw on were my ultimate entertainment essentials. When I was about six, I took my first pottery class; and when I was around ten, I started learning to sew – these three ingredients combined probably laid the initial foundation for what I do now.
HOW DID ARC JEWELLERY START?
ARC is essentially the continuation of my senior thesis project at Parsons. Collecting inspiration images, drafting the designs, spending time in both the ceramic and metal workshops, and developing a studio practice throughout the course in my senior year all felt so exciting, fun and organic, that I realised it would be my dream to continue doing this in the future. I didn’t plan on starting my own business so soon after graduation, but after receiving a lot of positive feedback about my thesis and encouragement to “go for it,” I decided that this is what I would do! I had also interned a lot before and throughout college, and maintained friendships with people I met in my work adventures. Their help and advice definitely helped me feel more supported in this decision.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO NAME YOUR BRAND ARC?
I wanted a name for my work that is a bit abstract, that vaguely referenced geometry, and that was pronounceable in more than one language. The idea for the name ARC came to me while I was swimming in the sea in Mallorca. At first I dismissed it because it almost seemed too obvious – the shape of an arc happens to be one that reappears often in the pieces I make… but nothing else felt right — so in the end, that was it!
I decided to use ceramics for my products because I like that it’s a natural material that is thousands of years old, yet can feel modern and timeless all at once. It’s also a material I feel comfortable working with, and one whose behaviour I understand.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?
So many things inspire me! Especially shapes, colours, and textures found in nature… the sea, the way sunlight makes everything golden just before it sets, sand dunes, organic asymmetry-symmetry, unexpected pairings that just work together, the surreal, a good contrast. New ideas usually come to me at the most random, unexpected times! This is why I like to always have a sketchbook on me in case I want to scribble something down. It’s nearly impossible to force totally new ideas to happen, but I always welcome their arrival when they do.
HOW DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
I’d say my creative process never really starts or stops. It is more of an ongoing thing, with its intensity shifting circumstantially. It involves collecting images of inspiration and letting them marinate a bit. I like to go to the library and get lost among random shelves of obscure books and Xerox interesting visuals that, for whatever reason, stand out to me. Sometimes an accidental theme emerges, another time the only consistent thread is my own intrigue. There is also a lot of sketchbook scribbling involved, followed by prototyping and playing around with scale and proportion.
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR TECHNIQUE, HOW DO YOUR PIECES COME TO LIFE?
ARC jewellery pieces usually begin with a sketch, and a plan for the method of fabrication. Then I make a plaster mould, into which the porcelain slip gets poured. Once it gets out of the mould, the item is ready to be “cleaned up” before it is bisque-fired. Then it is glazed, high-fired, and ready to be assembled. I like using moulds in this way because it means I don’t have to start entirely from scratch to make each individual item. However, because they’re all finished by hand, no two pieces are ever exactly the same.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR CURRENT COLLECTION?
ARC objects is inspired by organic shapes, forms, and textures; ‘90s minimalism, and the idea of bold simplicity.
ANY PLANS FOR A FUTURE COLLECTION?
ARC is intentionally “seasonless” so there are no set dates for new collections. Rather, it is a body of work that evolves and morphs. Certain pieces, projects, needs, or inspirations inspire new ones, and this is how the collection grows.