Lucia Perluck is a bonafied badass. She's lived in Morocco, stalked Erykah Badu, and started her booming jewelry line a mere year ago. Her pieces are made from 100% raw materials - not just castings - and evoke a level of innovation rare for such a young brand.
Tell us. Tell the word! What is your name and where are you from?
Hello Bulletin and The World! I’m Lucia (pronounced loo-sha) Perluck, often referred to as Lucy or sometimes by my stage name, Lucia Pearl. Born in Providence RI, schooled in Philly, then came straight to Brooklyn.
So, how did you get started?
I kinda think I’ve been a designer my whole life. It’s in my blood. A lot of people in my family say that I remind them of my grandmother who used to import fabrics from Guatemala and make them into dresses and menswear that she sold in her shop (called “The Mayan Shop”) Her work was really unique for her day. She gave me a ring when I was a kid and I’ve worn it ever since. I always thought I would be a fashion designer. The road to becoming a jeweler started when I took my first metalsmithing class as a high schooler.
When did it become a serious thing?
I apprenticed with a local jeweler in my senior year, and then decided to study jewelry and metals in college. Learning how to make something three-dimensional, that people could actually use, that could stand the test of time, was really cool to me. After school I had a bunch of different jobs in the industry- as a designer for a major costume jewelry brand, a production manager, and a bench jeweler for a small, handmade jewelry company. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started to branch off on my own.
I like to keep my hands busy and let my mind wander. I make jewelry because it’s something that people connect to and identify with. Also, a lot of it will outlive me, which is pretty cool. I make the kind of jewelry that I make because it blends fashion with a bit of engineering. I feel especially drawn to the mechanics of the pieces I design, so my process always starts there. I think if I had picked up on this intuition before I started studying, I might’ve gone into product design or something- I’d be making furniture out of some alternative material that folds up to fit inside a tiny box that you can carry with you or something like that. I try to bring that kind of ingenuity to jewelry making, and of course I try to make it look good too.
What's your favorite piece?
I’d have to say it’s my Berber Ring (the female version). I wear this ring every single day and I love that it covers so much of my finger and almost feels like protective armor. It comes from a tiny drawing I did in my sketchbook while I was in Morocco for an artist residency. I kept seeing all of these old women with tattoos on their faces in the town where I was staying. I love tattoos, and to see them on Moroccan women, on their faces- and these were 80+ year old women- I was so intrigued. After asking around I found out that the tattooing was just something the elders in nomadic tribes used to do to the young ones (Amazigh refers to the nomadic or “free people” of Northern Africa.) No one could seem to explain why it happened, and apparently somehow the practice died out. The ring is my little homage to those badass ladies, but also, as I was learning the traditional method of Moroccan engraving, I found myself thinking… how am I going to incorporate this into my body of work?
What is the rocket science behind your products or designs? What materials do you use, what is the creation process like, and how long does it take you?
I try really hard to fabricate most of my work from raw materials, rather than using castings or findings or things like that. To me, this is the easiest way to stand out, because a lot of people are making jewelry, and it seems that casting is kind of the go-to for beginners. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (!) but I want my experience to show through my work. I have lots of tricks- a lot of things I picked up from people I’ve worked for in the past. I also really like the challenge of designing for production- I try to design pieces that are fun to make & that I can make easily. This keeps my prices down, and accessibility is something that’s really important to me, and something I want my brand to represent.
If anyone could wear or own a piece, who would you geek out for?
Omg. So, I got this text from my roommate the other night that she was in Fort Greene and walked by Erykah Badu sitting on her stoop. I asked her to write down the address, and I’m trying to figure out how to get a box to her without totally creeping her out. I probably shouldn’t even be mentioning this out loud. Anyway. She’s a legend and I’ve spent many a late night up in the 'stude listening to Mama’s Gun.
Why is handmade important?
Anyone who purchases a handmade product should feel good about their purchase for a bunch of reasons- first off, they know where it comes from, but really, where it actually comes from. Second, it’s guaranteed to be unique in some way, and third, you’re helping to support someone who is passionate about what they do, who is giving the world a fresh perspective. Also, the transactions that take place between actual people are way more special than someone signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime just to get their goods faster and then the goods arrive and they aren’t even right and then the customer has to send them all back and cancel their subscription before Amazon charges them. It’s a nightmare. And totally wasteful.
If I were visiting you in 24 hours what would you show me? Where would you take me?
We’d go to my favorite restaurant for sure… It’s this little Tibetan place in Ditmas Park that’s basically attached to the subway station (the walls rattle a bit when a train goes by.) It’s BYOB, so then you couldn’t complain if we go out for $12 cocktails later (I save that kind of extravagance for my most special guests.) Other ideas I’d float, especially if it was your first time, would be to go sit in Union Square on a hot summer night, or in Grand Central in the winter, just to people watch, and maybe freak you out a little bit.
What inspires you?
Just being surrounded by people who are alive and vibrant and constantly in motion. Hearing a drum circle from an upstairs apartment a few doors down from my studio, walking by a church at 10 o’clock on a Friday night when I’m on my way to meet friends at a bar and hearing a gospel choir singing… I end up record a lot of sounds. Oh and those fucking showtime kids on the subway. I don’t care what anyone says, how can you not be inspired by that hustle?! It never gets old, to me. Other than that, Female artists of all kinds, music that is brassy and/or bassy, and stories about expats in Paris.
I’m starting to feel like I’ve “made it” in New York.