1. How did Shamila start?
Started purely as a hobby, it became my creative anchor between moving to Seattle, starting a new life here and within a year losing my job after 9/11. Designing kept me flowing through these milestones in my life. When externally major changes were occurring, internally I was honing my skills as a designer.
8 years later, I am running a solo atelier based out of my work/live loft in Fremont. I studied cultural anthropology and had a career in project management at various non-profits and therefore am completely self-taught but have a keen and a magpie trained eye for exquisite stones. A couple years ago after having journeyed internally I decided to leave my job and focus on designing beautiful jewels full-time. My decision coincided with the Great Depression of 2008 but that was not going to make me change my mind and the rest is history.
2. What type of things do you make?
I design a bespoke collection of jewels incorporating rare and sometimes never-before-seen gemstones in their most stunning qualities set in very thoughtful and inspirational settings with a distinct dash of global flair. In designing very limited edition jewels, I allot a lot of personality to making them very simple, elegant and timeless pieces of adornment. My collection is known for the usage of very high and gem grade quality of semi-precious and precious stones, with Labradorite (the stone of new beginnings – being the signature stone of my collection.
Lately I have been designing Cocktail Engagement Rings – these are rings with lots of heft and a bounty of elegance all rolled into one smashing piece of jewelry. The band is inspired by the infinity symbol (men love this part!) and the stones are anywhere from 15 to 40 carats of either London Blue Topaz, Aquamarine or Color Changing Bolivian Ametrine. These bold rings are for a very special and a unique kind of a bride; one who does not want a diamond for her big day but rather a colored gem that is indicative of her vivacious or strong personality, someone who is very confident in her own skin or just wanting something fun and uniquely elegant.
For the Seattle Square Market, I am going to present a petite collection of jewels that will incorporate all my fabulous stones in a marche luxe collection. These pieces will be available for under $50 and in a variety of styles and gemstones. This will be a great opportunity for people to add pieces to their collections. The collection was received fabulously by market patrons on the inaugural day of the Square!
3. What is your inspiration?
Inspiration is a strong emotive experience for me. Exotic travel is a very big mover and shaker of ideas within me. Lately I have been inspired by Turkey. So much so that not only designed a significant collection of jewels there but had many stones custom cut to feature architectural delights quintessential to Istanbul. In all my years of wandering the globe; it is Istanbul that has managed to completely behold my heart like no other city can. Much of my collection is a tribute to this magnificent city that is rich in every possible way. As a city it is a walking, breathing museum of beauty both in people and in architecture.
The Harem Stacking Rings Collection and the Minaret Stacking Rings Collection are superb examples of how I translate my inspiration into something beautiful and wearable. The Green Onyx pieces that reminiscent of stunning Emeralds which are also new for the Summer 2010 collection is a tribute to our fair city of Seattle. Seattle is where I built my business and it is where I have my most amazing community of supporters, designers and friends.
4. Where can we find your stuff (other than at our market)?
Essenza in Fremont, Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Corktown Gallery in Toronto, The Art Gallery of Calgary and at Atelier Shamila in Fremont
5. What else should people know about you?
I enjoy educating my clients about gemstones and I pride myself in providing a quality and thoughtful product. I encourage my clients to ask questions and to show interest in wanting to learn about what they are buying. I am thankful for the support they provide to independent artisan like myself.