Sometimes you meet people that are just plain-out inspiring. They inspire you with their experiences, their travel, the people they know, their amazing work, and their overall attitude towards life. Lauren Ramirez is exactly that. Inspiring, dedicated and as real as it gets. Born in New England, she grew up in San Francisco studying jewelry fabrication at The North Bennett Street School, and Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. She presently owns and operates Quercus Studios on 201 S. Salisbury St. She opened this business in San Fransisco but has since moved the shop here to Raleigh where she showcases her nature-inspired jewelry alongside ten other designers. Let’s get to know her a little better…
Tell us about your style influences and inspiration when it comes to being an artist.
My mother had a wild style when I was growing up. She exposed me to the arts; museums, galleries, drag shows, and creepy antiques. My aesthetic is still very much in line with hers. She has influenced me greatly.
As far as personal style I’m attracted to clothes, and personal adornments that may last a life time. I wear resoled shoes I’ve had since high school, and well made coats my mother wore when she was my age. I’m not attracted to trends. I believe in passing things on. I like the idea of my designs being worn by many generations.
These days I find inspiration, like most, just by stepping away from my daily routine. Riding trains, finding patterns, and taking note of anything that stands out.
What drives you to make such great pieces?
I don’t believe all of my pieces are great. I can say my work has become more refined in recent years, but there’s always room for improvement. Years ago I focused solely on designing for my own survival. That produced some interesting things that, to my horror, still exist in the world. Now I’d say my drive to make anything stems from my desire to hone my craft.
Your shop, Quercus. Tell us about it.
Quercus, meaning Oak in Latin, is my jewelry studio and retail showroom. It’s a place to meet clients, and display my work to the public. I’ve handpicked just a few other makers from across the united states who make thoughtful, and well crafted products. Quality craftsmanship is key.
You strive to please the non traditional client. Correct?
My education was focused on traditional goldsmithing and stone setting, but I don’t believe there are rules when it comes to jewelry. My preferences definitely lean toward unisex, and unordinary designs. In order to support myself I create heirloom quality jewelry for clients who are traditional, non-traditional, and everyone in-between.
Whats the piece or collection you are most proud of?
Probably my Phoenix earrings. I made the first pair almost ten years ago. They were heavy, poorly fabricated, and lacked symmetry. I see some of the early versions on friends, and I’m reminded of how much time passed before I got it right. My diamond setting has improved, and the overall shape is more appealing. They’re one of my best selling items on my site and in the shop.
Tell us about the Bench. The famous Bench. And how it’s important for the existence of your shop/studio.
A nice looking bench sits on the front stoop of Quercus. During warmer months I spend my downtime sitting there drinking coffee and people watching. It was made by Whittaker Mill Works from a solid slab of oak. It overlooks the Raleigh Space Parklet, and has become a bit of a social hub on a street that hasn’t seen much traffic until recently.
I’ve started photographing friends, clients, and passerbys , and now total strangers request their photo to be taken too. It’s proven to be a fun social experiment.
Any new collections in the works? Would you like to share?
My newest collection is shaping up to be a small selection of lighter, and more intricately detailed versions of some of the first pieces I ever made. With added statement pieces made from 22k gold with diamond accents. I’ll finish up in the next month just in time for spring and wedding season.