Interview with Lia Lowenthal of LL, LLC

Interview with Lia Lowenthal of LL, LLC

Lia knows that her customer is someone who finds the story or heart behind a piece of jewelry or artwork as being just as important as the beauty of it. Her collection consists of spiraled, wearable, everyday pieces and are thoughtfully designed and sustainably made in Taxco, Mexico. 

Born and raised in NYC, Lia resides in a Bronx apartment that is temporarily doubling as a work studio. While at home, Lia spoke to us about her jewelry line, her process and inspiration, and the home she shares with her husband and two cats. 


Tell us what inspired The Maydeto collection.

It's such a winding story! It began as an extension of my art practice (I also have a career as a fine artist), a project about mechanically-inspired "wearable objects." Years later, when I translated these pieces into being handmade, I was amazed how one of my original pieces— a sphere rolling through a spiral— was so elegantly translated into something handmade, with ease, precision, and held infinite possibilities.

Can you describe your process when designing your jewelry?

I don't have formal bench training, so I usually work backwards from a drawing, figuring out the construction as I go. I sketch constantly, probably about 10% of my drawings become samples. Once I sample them, I test them by wearing them for a little while. If I'm not really compelled to wear it, I won't put it into production. So about 5% of my designs become final pieces.

Describe the type of person who wears your jewelry.

Jewelry for people who don't normally wear jewelry! (At least it was for me— I only wore only one piece of jewelry until I started my line.) Someone who loves the stories behind objects; someone who enjoys objects as they are; someone who wants something bold but wearable. 

What piece of jewelry do you own and love, but did not create yourself?

That would be the only piece of jewelry I wore before I started LL, LLC— a sterling silver bracelet with a daisy and a hook clasp, made by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany. My mom bought it for me when I was 15 and I never take it off.  

Can you tell us how you got started producing your jewelry in Taxco, Mexico? What do you like most about Taxco?

My friend Travis Boyer, an artist and also jewelry fan, introduced me to Taller William Spratling in Taxco, when he found out about the art project I was working on. We talked for about 6 months before I made my first trip there in 2017. There are so many beautiful aspects about Taxco, but my favorite might be having a cocktail at one of the old Art Deco hotels— especially a poolside Bertha at Posada de la Mision. And eating at my favorite restaurant, S'Caffecito.   

What other designers or artists do you admire?

So many. I admire all of my friends. When I started my business, my old friend BZippy was a big inspiration, and I so admire how much she's done and integrates her art and design practices. Other inspirations as of late have been designer Maria Pergay, the Vienna Secession, and 1970s Italian cars.

When the travel ban is lifted and things seem a bit safer, where is the first place you’d like to travel?

Mexico! Then maybe Peru. 

Do you work in your home, or do you have a separate studio where you create?

Right now I'm working in the foyer of our apartment. Before quarantine, I worked in my studio in the South Bronx. It's large and light-filled (a NY privilege).

Do you share your home or studio with anyone? (artist, partner, roommates, pets)? 

I share my current home studio with my husband and our two cats, Sofia and Superbloom. I especially share it with Superbloom because he usually sits on top of everything.  

What is your morning routine like?

I wake up around 7:30 am. I shower and get dressed before coffee and try to be in front of the computer by 8:30 am, checking emails, orders, and anything else time-sensitive. Then I write down my schedule for the day in an hourly planner (or else I'll overcommit myself), usually starting with the thing I dread to do most. 

Do you spend more time at your home or studio?

I spend about an equal amount of time in my home studio, the living room, and the kitchen. The way our apartment is arranged, the living room is the center of the home, because we have a ton of books and records and nice light. I usually clock in a 10 hour workday between the foyer and the couch. Then the rest of the time is spent in the kitchen cooking.

How would you describe your home or studio decor?

Our current apartment is temporary and has limitations on what we could do with it, so we stocked up on lots of vintage Afghan rugs and Uzbek Suzanis, which I'm obsessed with. They are in every corner of the house. Even though my design sensibility is minimal and polished, I find the saturated color, tactility, and history of textiles very inspiring. 

How do you wind down in the evening?

Even though I'm getting a little sick of it now because I'm doing it so much, cooking dinner after a long day is the first way I unwind in the evening. Then my husband and I watch a little TV or a movie. And then depending on the time, I go back to work a little more, usually sketching or drawing of some kind. Then I crash into bed around midnight.