Introducing : Faris
November 18 2015
Faris du Graf’s eponymous line of jewelry distills the complexity of nature and movement into modernist pieces that feel almost sculptural. Her work has already earned nods from Sight Unseen and The New York times, and is a favorite of the in-the-know costal-creative class from New York to her home town of Seattle. We spoke with du Graf to get a sense of her process and inspirations.
Can you walk us through your background?
I’m from Seattle, born and raised. I just moved back here a couple of years ago. Before that, I was in the Bay for seven years.
Before starting FARIS, I had different day jobs, but always knew I needed to be creative. It took me a while to figure out what that would look like.
A big breakthrough came when I started working with Rob Forbes (the founder of Design Within Reach) in the early stages of developing PUBLIC Bikes. Rob was uncompromising, and challenged me to become a better designer and businesswoman. He introduced me to Martha Davis, a phenomenal industrial and shoe designer. She was so kind and genuine, and helped me build the confidence to take creative risks.
I took design courses whenever I could – night, weekends, and vacations. Eventually, I saved up and spent a summer in London, where I took courses at Central Saint Martins. I studied jewelry design under Hannah Martin, who made a huge impact on me.
I grew up around my parents’ furniture business, which gave me a love for beautiful objects and a strong desire to be my own boss. Music is also a huge part of our family. Someone was always singing. It is definitely a part of Filipino culture that I grew up in. Both of my sisters are phenomenal singers, and my younger sister just released a new song a few weeks ago.
You have a beautiful name, does it have a particular meaning?
Thank you, my parents did good. No meaning, it was made up and I’m grateful for it. It has always set me a little apart.
How did you come to jewelry making?
I think my desire to make things and my obsession with accessories eventually found each other. I took my first metal smithing course about nine years ago. Once I bought the tools, it evolved from there. I love the idea of turning a small amount of material into something that is beautiful and meant to last forever.
Your pieces seem innately sculptural, what is your process of inspiration and creation like?
I do think of each of my pieces as sculpture, or little bits of architecture. I can’t say that my process is formulaic or routine. It is more a sequence of epiphanies. Certain forms capture my attention, and it really can be anywhere — painting over graffiti, a dried up sunflower heart, or some dew. I try and always have a sketch book with me for notes and doodles. Those lines then find tangents and stories. When I develop a collection, I reference my sketchbooks heavily — sometimes, the first thought is the best.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for the Nug and cloud necklaces?
Ooo yes, the ONDA series. Clouds, puddles, rain, flow, it is very much about the form of liquid. When you melt wax and let it solidify in motion — that was the form I wanted to capture.
Who is inspiring you lately?
I’m pretty fortunate to have some phenomenal women around me, and they are my constant inspiration — each of them an artists in their own right. Jessa Carter is so generous with her ideas and visions. She helps mold the art direction for my lookbooks and photographs a lot of it too. Then there is Laura Cassidy, who just oozes wisdom and steeze. Crazy eloquent with words, she wrote a beautiful poem for my latest lookbook, not to mention styled it so so perfectly. Last but not least, my older sister Lauren Du Graf. She has that same gift with words, which haunted me a bit growing up but I couldn’t be more grateful for it now. When I feel something and don’t know how to vocalize it, she helps me pinpoint and explore.
All three of them push me to be more thoughtful and genuine, that’s love.
What’s next for Faris?
I’m really excited about my next collection. It is inspired by my grandmother Marcelina, who passed away a few years ago at 100. She was the best. I’ve also been working a capsule object collection — some fun table top stuff. I’m hyped on it.