Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Courtney and my company is named after my dog, who goes by Lolita (because she is a bit of a flirt). I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to New York for college. I lived in NYC long enough to miss it on a daily basis. I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago (for love), where I now live with my husband and Lolita. My favorite color is navy blue, I love the shape of stars and I am oddly terrified of buttons.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love to go to museums, the theater, movies, concerts and art exhibitions. I enjoy being a fly on the wall.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
I was going to go with The Notebook, but I think Nicholas Sparks beat me to it.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Life in general. I do miss being in NYC, sitting on the subway each day and all of the inspiration that comes from it. In California, I would say I am inspired by all of the nature that surrounds me. I am also completely inspired and motivated by music. Every one of my designs has a soundtrack. I am currently obsessed with Damien Rice, Flo Rida and Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
I would say my mother and grandmother, who have the best taste and style of any women I have ever known. I also was lucky to have had amazing art teachers who always made me feel it was okay that I wasn’t good at math and still pushed me to excel in other ways. Most importantly, I would say my husband Ryan, whose support makes me want to quote cheesy Bette Midler songs and who (as a math man) is continuously amazed by what I do for a living. Seeing his reaction to my designs keeps me going.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
At age 4 or 5, when I was in kindergarten. My classmates and I were asked to draw what we thought the tooth fairy looked like. My mother actually framed the drawing and it still hangs to this day. It’s actually pretty impressive (given I was still learning how to hold a marker, let alone use one). It’s always been easy for me to be able to translate what I see in my head into my hands; it was on that day that I realized I was unique in that way. I went on to be a professional figure skater, painter, actor, and performer in the years that followed — all because I have always had the intense need to express myself in an artistic way.
How would you describe your creative process?
I try to take care of the non-creative things like emails in the morning and evening; I leave the meatiest part of the day for the bulk of my design work. I do my best when I can tune out the rest of the world and just focus all of my attention on the piece I have on my table. It reminds me of when I was a competitive figure skater. When you are in the “flow,” you never remember a thing until after it’s over. The music starts, your body takes over and propels you along almost unconsciously. I would say that my creative process is very similar.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Vincent Van Gogh; Ralph Lauren; Banksy; Chuck Close; The Rolling Stones.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have made thousands of pieces over the past two years — some of which I’ve been more attached to then others — but I started doing cuffs because, when I got married, I was looking for something that I could not find anywhere. I did not want to distract from my dress, but I also wanted a unique piece of jewelry that was completely reflective of who I was that would also look stylish to my grandchildren, 50 years from now. So I started to experiment with designing cuffs in a new way. I worked in all of the details that were important to me — symbols, colors and even family heirlooms — and made the piece so it was completely molded to my wrist size. It’s my most cherished handmade possession.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
The hardest part about my job is that it requires creativity on demand. Being artistic when you feel like it is fun, but doing it day in, day out is intense in a way I have never experienced in any other job. When I think about the trust my clients place in me to create something special for them, I am not only honored, but I also rely on that trust to get myself back on track if I’m stuck.
To make a short story longer: I no longer see ruts as a bad thing. Instead, I use them as a sign that I need to take a moment to stop, breathe and reevaluate.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
10 years ago I was graduating from NYU as a theater major and dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 in NYC. My life has taken many twist and turns since then, all of which have been instrumental in leading to where I am today. That being said, I have no idea where I will be in 10 years, but I would be delighted if I were in a position that anyone would care enough to ask.