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On Reflection: Past, Present & Future

Friday, 6 September 2013

 Prior to my discovery of Bande Des Quatres, a boutique jewellery line based in picturesque Montreal, I thought I've seen enough to be inspired by the geometric concept in jewellery design. However with Bande Des Quatres' cutting edge methods and utterly original collections I doubt the journey will ever end. I realise there are an abundance of talented and original independent jewellery designers from across the globe that are just waiting for the opportune moment to be discovered here whether it is by the media, journalists, jewellery lovers and most importantly, the general public, such as myself.

 Therefore I introduce the lovely Erin Wahed, founder and designer of this unique and collaborative collections, which is already causing a stir in the US and Canada. I'd like to delve deeper into her defining memories, the person she is today and how it inspired her collections.


Childhood

Coming home from school everyday, running down to the basement where my mother's studio was and sitting there watching her work. My mother is my collaborator on Bande des Quatres. We design together and she makes all the pieces in our studio in Montreal whereas I manage everything else.

Expectations

I never thought I would get into jewelry. I always loved what my mother did, but never had the patience to sit down at the jewelry bench and create myself. I dabbled a few times trying to learn from her, but I always got frustrated. I had the ideas, but the execution was where I struggled. With my father being a businessman and my mother a jeweler, I was always intrigued by both worlds, but I knew that I never would choose either exclusively, rather I'd find something that included both equally. 


Life before

I was always interested in technology and art as a child, but was also really good at math. I taught myself Adobe Photoshop at 14 years old and I would create these digital collages using images I found on the internet. I picked up a digital camera and began trying to capture the world in the same look and feel as the digital collages I created. From there I found myself attending New York University Tisch School of the Arts in their Photography program.  Macro photography became my style, abstracting the everyday, trying to get closer and closer to the collages I used to create.  Ultimately, when it came time for me to develop my thesis in my 4th year, I had the epiphany that I could finally get back to the digital collages, but this time using my own images. All this to say, I have always had an obsession with geometrics, it is how I see the world. 


How it began

 My visual landscapes, as I called them, were large scale and I was given the lobby of the NYU building to exhibit them at the opening.  I had just seen the Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" and became obsessed with his gold sequin Balmain pants. I needed to have a stand out outfit for the event. I had similar sequin pants made and needed jewelry to go with the outfit that would make just as much of a statement as the pants. My mother and I were on a family vacation and sketched the the Van der Rohe and Moholy-Nagy ring for that very purpose.


 Motivation

The Van der Rohe ring really pushed me to develop the brand and debut the collection of Bande des Quatres. Working with my mother has truly been a gift. I’ve never had a knack for drawing. It’s always ideas for me, so she can read my mind in the sense that I’ll point to something and she’ll know exactly what I’m thinking and how to translate it.  That really works extremely well. It wouldn’t work like that with just anyone. I think you have to have that family bond to be able to do that.


Geometrics

I truly believe my obsession with geometrics is part of my DNA and the way in which I see the world.  Shapes and lines give me this sense of comfort.  When taking photographs I was very focused on composition and color - how shapes, lines and colors spoke to one another. I knew I got the correct composition when it would just "feel right". The same applies when designing pieces for Bande des Quatres - for me it is all about how the shapes and lines speak to one another and sit on the body.


 3 words 

Yes (I have trouble saying no)
Ultimately
Word

The wearer

Women and men of all ages, lovers of art, architecture, design and avant-garde fashion.

 Future

I have big plans to turn Bande des Quatres into a creative agency that connects creative people.  


Thoughts during making process

Is it wearable?
Is it marketable?
Will it catch people's attention?
Does it pay homage to the inspiration?


Randoms

I hated wearing jewelry up until I started Bande des Quatres. I found it very uncomfortable.
I'm a workout fanatic.
Bande des Quatres is my second full time job.
My favorite color is black.
I love kale and avocados.


Hobbies

I love discovering new music and because of that started a Bande des Quatres mix series called BDQ Precious Metals Mix Series. It is a monthly mix series that we release inspired by individual pieces from our jewelry collections. The idea is that every month we select a different musician to create a 45 minute mix. The artist picks a BDQ piece to be inspired by and creates a mix around it. The latest ones are by Atu inspired by our Ando ring and Cosmonaut Grechko and is inspired by our Jessica Earrings.  You can listen here: www.soundcloud.com/bandedesquatres


Struggles

Juggling a full time job and developing Bande des Quatres. 

Truimphs

Juggling a full time job and developing Bande des Quatres.  I am very proud of what I have been able to develop in only 3 years.

Personal style

Comfortable, black, drapey, leather, color accents.

I always design based on what I would personally wear. I mostly wear black clothes that outline my body in an architectural fashion so my body remains hidden and acts as a blank canvas.  This way the jewelry that adorns my ears, wrists and hands are what shines.


 Favourites

I love wearing them all but I have some favorites which I alternate on a daily basis: 
Van der Rohe ring
Artie ring
Aaron ring
Harold knuckle ring
James knuckle ring
Anna knuckle ring
Silvio knuckle ring
Carel ring
Eames bracelet
Eisenman bracelet
Kite bracelet


Inspirational quotes

"By far for me, the most important things' inspiration. As an artist, if you ain't inspired to work, then you start thinking; once you start thinking, you start forcing [art]. It's never good"  -Jay-Z
 

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then photographers are worth a million" -Tupac Shakur
 

the meaning of a word - to me - is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Color and shapes make a more definite statement than words. -Georgia O'Keeffe, 1976
 

From experiences of one kind or another, shapes and color come to me very clearly - Sometimes I start in very realistic fashion and as I go on from one painting after another of the same thing it becomes simplified till it can be nothing but abstract - but for me it is my reason for painting it I suppose.
-Georgia O'Keeffe, 1957

"Stare it is the way to educate your eye. Stare Listen Pry eavesdrop. Die Knowing Something You are not here long."
-Walker Evans


Visit her website bandedesquatres.com
All Images by www.hugoarturi.com
Erin's photography project erinwahed.com

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