Photo Samantha Casolari
Jessica Barensfeld, 31, designs and produces jewelry in her loft in Williamsburg. Much of it is inspired by nature, especially the sea: her seaweed wrap bracelets, her mermaid and beach collections. (The latter incorporates seashells and crab claws.) “If not an artist, I’d probably be a biologist,” she tells us. “I derive most of my inspiration from organics and nature, which fascinate me.”
She majored in jewelry and metalsmithing at RISD, and moved to Brooklyn in 2000, first as a subletter. “I spent most of my time in the city, with the exception of visiting Tops and Kokie’s,” she tells us. “Now I head to the city only when I have to—for errands and dinners, I guess.”
So, why jewelry? “I love that jewelry can be so transient,” she tells us. “It’s small sculpture. It has its toes in fashion without being fully submerged. It’s special little objects that travel around on people. It can be fun or carry meaning, history and attachment. We can get very attached to our jewelry.”
Samantha Casolari shoots the jewelry designer in her Williamsburg loft.