Interview with Chayle Cook: Designer of the Perfect Complement Earring Disks
Photo by Dante A. Penman
As the designer of Mejuri’s current top-selling piece, The Perfect Complement, we had the pleasure of interviewing Chayle Cook to learn more about her interests and hobbies, the inspiration behind her pieces, and how she got her start in the jewelry world.
What inspired your start in the jewelry world, and what types of jewelry have you worked on previously?
I really fell into the jewellery world after my first year of university where I had taken some blacksmithing and welding classes. I really loved the way that metal moved and worked, and just knew that I had to keep going. So I went into the jewellery department, where I found that I really loved the fine and delicate work of jewellery making. Its precision and seemingly endless potential for making beautiful and iconic things really captured my imagination. I started out in an artistic based environment, but since graduation I have found myself really interested in designing jewellery for people. Making everyday kinds of jewellery, but that still has some kind of artistic essence and soul.
Do you have a favourite piece of your own?
I really don’t wear a lot of jewellery myself, but I have a few favourite pieces that I wear daily and then a few pieces that I save for special occasions. I think that, in being such a young designer, the best is still yet to come.
How would you describe your personal style?
I truly love simple elegance, but I also love luscious colours. I find myself drawn to classic forms, but then I like to give them my own contemporary twist. You’ll find me in something like a dark blue cotton cardigan or cashmere sweater, natural white linen t-shirt, and slim dark jeans, but with something else colourful, like a patterned silk scarf, coral leather flats, or a red stone band ring.
Are there any jewelry design icons that you admire?
I am always thrilled by the magic within the Van Cleef and Arpels poetic time pieces. I admire how the fresh and whimsical are captured within these rich and beautiful pieces.
What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
I love to draw. I love the directness of drawing and it’s ability to look heavy or light― to slowly build up an image or to capture something immediately with a gesture. I think that I find jewellery ideas in my drawings.
As a Canadian designer, has the culture in Canada had any influence on the design of some of your pieces? Are there any other cultures that you have drawn inspiration from?
It’s hard for me to pin point what Canadian culture is, as I feel that there are so many different cultures and traditions living in the same country. I think though, that Canada has influenced me with it’s landscape. I love the sound of snow under my feet in the winter, snowy branches, and long trails or highways with just nature on either side of me. I love the freedom and entrepreneurship in Canada, and I think this openness is truly a great inspirator and motivator for my work. Maybe it is just the feeling of freedom, openness, and independent motivation that has shaped me and my work.
The Perfect Complement is a truly unique concept, what was the inspiration behind your best-selling piece?
I wanted to make something that I would be happy to wear everyday. I admire diamond studs for their classic beauty, and I wanted to find a way to make them look bigger and give them more styles. Sometimes, I can get caught up in designing and toss away some good options for a piece. In this piece I wanted to keep the options open and create something that would keep this freshness. I liked the idea of the piece being free and able to renew itself everyday.
The Perfect Complement is a very versatile earring and can be paired with a range of attire from casual to formal wear; do you often design jewelry that can be paired with a variety of different looks?
I have started to explore this idea of versatility mostly in my commercial pieces. It is an interesting challenge to work into a design. I like to keep the options open for certain pieces of jewellery because sometimes there is not only one perfect solution, but an array of combinations to be had. I also liked the idea of having a “favourite” piece of jewellery that you find yourself going back to again and again because it just works with everything.
How did you hear about Mejuri? What enticed you to participate in our design challenge?
Mejuri found me! I received an email through my website from them introducing me to their new concept for crowd sourced jewellery, and I was really interested. I thought it was a great opportunity, and I’m really glad that I took the chance to submit my ideas. It has been really nice to be part of a new circle of jewellers who share their opinions and give feedback. It’s also a great challenge to submit your ideas out to the public and watch how they do. It is such a different venue than one on one consultations or selling your work in person.
What advice would you give to designers submitting designs in the future?
I’d say that designers need to not only think about the creativity in their pieces, but also in some of the basic matters like cost and assemblage. Like with my earring set, there are no moving parts or custom stones to be cut, no places that are hard to polish or clean, the piece does not use lots of material, and there is really nothing to break or get worn out on it. It is also nice looking, which seems obvious, but how it looks on the body is really important. Is it the right size and proportions for the body and the face? Does it flow nicely with the body, or does it highlight something beautiful about where it is worn? I think of jewellery sometimes as becoming like a total work of art, like a sculpture, and the body is the architecture that holds it.