Art and design have always been an integral part of my life. As a native of New Orleans, I had many opportunities to explore and indulge in the decadence and diversity of the art, architecture, and culture of my city. I began transforming these influences into a reality after the city experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I then found myself living in another city, in a small apartment with my family. Similar to the origins of lace in the Victorian era when women were confined to the indoors without other avenues of expression, I began to take apart, reconstruct, and ultimately create new pieces of jewelry. My passion for manipulating materials, as well as the notion that nothing is static, became the driving forces behind Construct Jewelry.
In the years following Katrina, I pursued my passion to help others, and obtained my Masters in Social Work from Tulane. While I worked as a therapist, providing grief and trauma counseling to children in New Orleans, I continued to create and regenerate pieces of jewelry from the past, which might otherwise have been left unappreciated, unworn, and forgotten. In many ways, I embraced the similarities of both my creative processes in jewelry designing and building relationships with my clients, realizing that both focus on recognizing, celebrating, and cultivating vitality in those people or things that seem to have no opportunity to change. Each of my pieces is original and made with vintage parts, demonstrating the striking transformation from what was to what can be.
If you are interested in collaborating in a custom design, please don't hesitate to contact me. Services I offer include custom heirloom designs, using a personal piece from you own collection and custom bridal designs.
Lauren Schonekas is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Uptown neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
One-of-a-kind, Statement, Timeless.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
New Orleans is a richly diverse culture from the food to the music, architecture and arts. This encourages my work to constantly evolve; reminding me nothing is permanent and to always embrace in the present. I am inspired by the textures and decadent architecture of homes and churches in my neighborhood. The attention to detail found in these structures mirrors the fine craft involved in my vintage jewelry.
Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
In my studio, I have layers upon layers of vintage jewelry that I have collected over the years, so often I find myself rearranging my inventory so I can be reminded of what is available to use. This constant reorganization means when it comes time to produce, I can experience a creative stream of consciousness.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from all things in flux; nature, people, history, fashion, art.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Miriam Haskell is my jewelry idol. Her business is known for its epic designs in the 1920’s, which put costume jewelry on the map.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Jazz, because there are so many different types. It is a spontaneous fusion of different instruments. It is timeless, sporadic, unpredictable, and it is New Orleans.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
With my beautiful baby girl…wherever she takes me!
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Dusk. Sunday. October is when fall really shows itself.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
Haute Woman's Boutique, New Orleans
Wedding Belles, New Orleans
Vintage 329, New Orleans
Ogden Museum of Southern Art Store, New Orleans