I resemble a butterfly; light, bright, fluttering my wings all over with an open heart.
My soul however is strong and fierce like that of a warrior or dragon.
The essence of my soul has been captured in this dragon pendant
created by the Alchemist of Jewelry, Janet Cadsawan of CADSAWAN
Jewelry designer, Janet Cadsawan of CADSAWAN knows that jewelry can hold magic!
As a child in Ohio, her mother’s jewelry box was filled with heirlooms from a faraway place where each piece held a different meaning and memory. This was her first lesson in design as well as storytelling. Meaningful, mythic jewelry continues to be her inspiration. During a career break to write a novel (with a jeweler protagonist), Janet discovered her innate design talent. She worked in a jewelry store and apprenticed with a Dutch jeweler while she wrote her book. As the CADSAWAN collection gained attention from galleries as well as boutiques, it became apparent to Janet that she was much better at jewelry design than writing. Janet successfully melded her passions for literature and jewelry by crafting pieces inspired by literature and myths. Her designs quickly found a cult following in fashionistas such as myself and fans alike, resulting in Janet’s custom work being in-demand by television and film stylists. Conscious of the community, CADSAWAN jewelry is made with reclaimed metal and packaged in recycled materials made in the USA. Janet has collaborated with True Blood’s Kristen Bauer Straten on “Care A Little More” and “Out for Africa” jewelry collections, benefitting the Center for Biological Diversity and African Elephants. Janet serves on the Education Committee of the Museum of Art & Design, advocating for arts education in NYC schools. She also found a way to combine S&M with fine jewels in collaboration with author EL James to bring you the Fifty Shades of Grey Fine Jewelry Collection.
I asked Janet a few questions which only served to pique my interest in this very complex, creative and interesting woman.
Share with us your background in writing and the transition to jewelry design?
Storytelling and reading have always been the center of my creativity. I read about 150 books a year and I think there is a point when serious readers crave an adventure that no one has yet written. Readers are hunters. They hunt for books they can re-read because that is, after all, the biggest a compliment a reader can give to an author. After raising money for my software idea, centered arounds books and libraries, the Dot Com Bubble burst and soon after, there was 9/11. It seemed like a very appropriate time to start writing a book. So, I began with the research, and I which began with jewelry because my heroine was a jewelry designer – and a jewelry thief! However, I needed more practical information about jewelry, stones, metal, design and business in general, so I worked at a jewelry store. And this is exactly how my life turned into a book, I realized that designing came to me easily, and that jewelry design was indeed my super power. I’m still very upset that I haven’t gone back to writing, but I love what I do now.
What is your design process?
I have two ways of working. One is very accidental. I can see a complete picture of the piece finished in my head. It comes suddenly. I have no control over it. Those don’t come often but they are perfect. The second type of process is similar to writing. It’s a combination of research, editing and prototyping. However, with technology and rapid prototyping, artists can now concentrate on the subtleties of the design, which is where I think the magic lies.
What have been some of your favorite jewelry pieces you’ve created and why?
One of my favorite pieces is the cross bone cuff. It’s a new piece in the Rock and Bones collection. It’s so simple and subtle. Sometimes people look at it thinking it’s bamboo, but they quickly realize they are bones. I like that kind of surprise. This piece and collection was inspired by many things but mainly: my visit to the Capela dos Ossos in Evora, Portugal; A vampire named Bones in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, and My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City by Alexandra David Néel.
This is very geeky, but my second pick is my dragon eggs. From Harry Potter to Game of Thrones, dragon eggs are magnificent. I think I make particularly beautiful ones with pearls and colored gems. I also make one with a claw holding the egg for the guys. The mythical dragon has mystified both east and west, but my dragons are lucky and benevolent, rather than ruthless and possessive.
What’s been the highlight of your career to-date?
Fifty Shades of Grey is by far my highlight because the entirety of the this event is historical – from how it was conceived, published and read. I savor the fact that this trilogy pays homage to women’s sexuality. I am happy to be a part of all. Many focus on the naughty bits of the book. Let’s just say that it’s a story about trust from the beginning to the end, and aren’t all relationships about trust?
What is your ultimate ambition? Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself as a trend setter of the “geek chic set” as well as a lifestyle brand. It wouldn’t be too far off to say that I want to be the Burberry of geek chic.
Still want more CADSAWAN??? Shop the looks on Cadsawan.com