zoe cope and ashley lagasse of birds n bones
with 11 years of design education between them, ashley lagasse and zoe cope teamed up to create birds n bones, a unique jewelry line inspired by everything from nature to gothic novels and taxidermy. birds n bones jewelry uses cast bird feet, badger claws, mice skulls, lizard heads and python ribs just to name a few pieces. these unique creations crafted through techniques such as casting, forging, stone setting and etching can be described as the 'dark side of nature'. zoe and ashley have both won awards at the acadamy of art university for their work and no piece goes into their shop unless it is deemed something both zoe and ashley would wear. instagram // @birdsnbonesjewelry
local eclectic // in a sentence or two tell me who you are, what you do, where you live, etc. ;) birds and bones // we are the two women designers of birds n bones jewelry located in san francisco california. zoe is finishing her final semester at the academy of art university for jewelry and metal arts while ashley graduated last year and is currently working two jewelry focused jobs. we both live in the north beach area and are only a ten minute hill filled walk from each other.
LE // how did the two of you meet? BB // we both came to san francisco for school at AAU and currently we fabricate and produce all of our designs out of ashley’s home studio and zoe’s jewelry school facilities. we really became friends in our small metal casting class when we both realized we each had a box of specimens (including items such as animal bones, feathers, various animal skulls and claws) in our lockers and were always at the studios working at long, odd hours of the day.
LE // where do you go/look/read, etc for inspiration? BB // at the heart of our designs there is a love and appreciation for nature and life sciences. ashley originally studied biology and zoe has taken many geology and earth science courses. animals are a huge inspiration to us because we do castings using actual animal bones so we make sure to educate ourselves on the creatures whose bones we use. we also both love science fiction novels and movies so try to keep an element of mystery and fantasy to our work.
LE // how long have you been designing under this label? BB // we realized our design aesthetics were similar and congruent in fall 2012 but creating birds n bones jewelry happened a few months later when we decided to start combing our separate designs. we launched our website on halloween 2013 and we mark that as our official “birthday”.
LE // can you talk a little about your design process and how you manage working as a duo? BB // working with a partner is beneficial to us because it keeps both of us accountable for the success of the business. we make sure to meet up during the week to work together on orders and new designs, but also to have time where we hang out as friends; we make sure to balance not having every conversation be about the business. working together at the studio is fun for us because we honestly love metal smitthing and being around each other while creating.
LE // many of your products come in either matte or polished finish. what's the difference between the two and whats the best way to care for these items? BB // matte means the piece has a flat, satin surface that shows the beautiful details in our castings, while polish has a clean highly reflective finish. we darken with patina on our products first so the recesses are dark which pull the high lights up and either finish the piece in matte or polish. these pieces will change mildly over time as you wear them, which is its own magic. silver is a precious metal that will naturally tarnish over time. avoid washing your hands, showering, or exposing it to moisture; this will further preserve the finish on the piece. you can always visit a jewelry shop or silversmith to have your ring re-polished for a small fee.
LE // what are the plans and goals for the future of your line? BB // we will be doing mini collections once or twice a year that will have a strong theme and expand on our current collection. within the year, we will both be taking CAD courses and plan on expanding to a bridal line where women and men will have some edgier design options for their engagement and wedding rings. we have also kicked the idea around of doing a home goods line in a few years because we both are skilled in sculpture, large bronze casting, and are kind of obsessed with interior design.