Tanya Gruenberg is a Miami native with an obsession with jewelry. Influenced by "backward design" Tanya creates unique, badass jewelry inspired by, as she put it, "literally everything."
Tell us about yourself! How did you get started?
My name is Tanya Gruenberg and I am a Miami, Florida native. It’s crazy, I’ve always had an obsession with jewelry - but I never really considered doing it. Art and design has always been in my blood. Ever since I was pretty much born, I’ve made things. Funny enough, as a child I use to collect glass coke bottle caps and glue in my gold earrings (sorry mom) into them so that I could wear them.
You said you have a background in industrial design. What does it mean to be an industrial designer and how has it influenced your current work?
I received a BFA in industrial design at Parsons School of Design. Usually an artist dreams of a design and then determines how to make it. I feel like with an industrial design background, I definitely design backwards. I begin with a material process that I find interesting and aesthetically pleasing. By taking advantage of what a material or process can already do, I am able to produce high quality objects with minimal waste. This has influenced Studio Grun by embracing sort of this ‘backward design’ idea. I feel that this process has really refined my jewelry as minimal, beautifully considered and expressive.
What was the transition from industrial design to creating jewelry like?
I find that once you’re an artist, whether it's an industrial designer or illustrator, they all sort of melt together. I draw pretty frequently, and my obsession with manufacturing has really made my jewelry design episodic, rather than continuous; each new phase has brought a new set of tools, materials, and processes. As an industrial designer, I was exposed to all types of things: 3D printing, CNC machines, welding and tigging. It all goes hand and hand. I have always loved metal.
What inspires you?
I definitely look for beauty in inclusions, natural formations and textures during my design process. I try to highlight those elements in the way I set our stones, fabricate settings, and merge the two elements. I get inspired from everything; typically traveling, eating out, paintings, and Egyptian history – literally, I take inspiration from everything.
Tell us about your “unique ‘degradation’ process.” What makes it so important?
For some reason it’s always been about the process for me - this ‘material investigation’ of figuring out the simplest, most efficient way to produce something and kind of doing my own mixed media. I design a lot of my pieces on the computer and play around with 3D printing. Then, I take the piece and burn it out in a kiln, which leads to my ‘degradation’ aesthetic.
Do you have a favorite piece?
The Crown Ring with Opals and Double open Claw Ring. Those are one of my first designs and they are still the strongest sellers.
What do you love about working in Miami?
I love the kind of ‘island time’ thing we have going on. Everyone is so relaxed.
If you could see one person wear your pieces, who would you geek out for?
I love Zoe Kravitz and Blake Lively. I would definitely geek out!
How does it feel knowing that you’ve added something special to someone’s day-to-day life?
It’s a really special feeling - at the end of the day, jewelry isn’t a requirement… it’s a choice! And when someone makes a choice to buy and wear your jewelry - it makes everything worth it.