On a snowy Monday afternoon at a restaurant in Hudson, N.Y., Malu Byrne and Rick Van Streain Low, companions within the jewellery line En Studio, have been discussing how they work collectively. “If we aren’t 100 percent aligned on an idea or material, it’s a cue it’s not quite right and can get better,” stated Ms. Byrne, 32.
This is the way in which it has been since they met at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the place they studied jewellery design. “Our paths had probably crossed so many times,” stated Mr. Van Streain Low, 40, who has labored for jewellery traces like Me&Ro and had gone again to highschool to study metalsmithing. “We both had a stint living in L.A., in Echo Park, and we went out to lunch,” he stated.
(Ms. Byrne’s father is the musician David Byrne, and her mom is the artist, actress and costume designer Adelle Lutz, whose sister is the late mannequin Tina Chow.)
“We started bouncing ideas off each other and doing projects together,” stated Ms. Byrne. “We had more fun together, and we liked what we created outside of school. It felt like we were slowly chipping away at something that was true to how we felt, but it took a long time.”
They ended up leaving Pratt earlier than getting levels. “We are art school dropouts,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated with amusing.
They based En within the spring of 2019. The “en” is a nod to enso, the Japanese Zen Buddhist apply of round ink portray. Ms. Byrne is one-quarter Japanese, and her grandmother’s minimal aesthetic is a giant affect, as are Bernini and Brancusi.
“I am sure our many trips to the Met are visible in the collection,” Ms. Byrne stated, joking.
The line doesn’t fairly seem like the rest available on the market. “I like to think we are in our own lane a little bit,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated. “Our line is an exploration of material.” They use coloured gold and search out stones with seen inclusions.
“We like stones with character,” Ms. Byrne stated. “Typically the idea is the clearer, the better. But we are looking for the unusual stones that speak to us.”
Their items have a variety of daring shapes, reminiscent of their silver hairpins with rock quartz ($440) or their Papal earring ($3,200, in hand-carved inexperienced jade and 14-karat inexperienced gold), however there’s additionally a delicacy paying homage to the jewellery line Me&Ro, the place Mr. Van Streain Low labored at its Elizabeth Street retailer. (The retailer has since closed, and now the previous Me&Ro counter is in En Studio’s Catskill atelier.) The concept for ear cuffs in lapis ($750) or blue chalcedony ($1,040) got here from Ms. Byrne’s mom, who not needs to put on heavy earrings.
Diamonds are sometimes only a sprinkle, as of their constellation ring ($2,200), which has been bought greater than as soon as as an engagement ring, in line with the designers. There are stacking rings that are available in silver, 14-karat inexperienced gold, 14-karat rose gold, 18-karat Venetian brown gold and 22-karat yellow gold that seem like a extra downtown riff on Cartier.
Ms. Byrne was raised in Manhattan, in Greenwich Village, however moved upstate to Catskill, N.Y. six years in the past, the place she lives along with her companion, Will Squibb, an artist, and their son, Bo, 3.
“My parents would let me run loose on 12th Street putting on shows for people on the street,” she stated. “Now raising a kid, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t imagine picking up cigarette butts.’ Up here it was an adjustment, all the small talk, and everyone wanting to say hi.”
Ms. Byrne has change into a little bit of an evangelist for all times in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her Instagram account serves as commercial sufficient, with photographs of apple orchards, puffy shearling hats and milkweed pods. (“Anyone spin thread from milkweed out there…?” she posted lately.)
“It’s the Brooklyn of upstate,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated as they drove throughout the Hudson River. “Hudson these days is starting to feel like Bridgehampton.”
At their atelier in Catskill, the place every thing within the assortment is made, they identified work from Mr. Squibb, Ceramics by Julia Chiang and furnishings from Vonnegut/Kraft, with whom En has a future collaboration. Saks lately purchased 25 types from En to hold on-line.
“There is such a beautiful and open community up here,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated. “We have friends from so many different disciplines.”
Ms. Byrne nodded. “There is a lot of sharing of resources and collaboration, intimacy and togetherness,” she stated. “But we love to go out.”
“That part of the city hasn’t left us,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated. “A new restaurant opens, and we are there. We entertain a lot.”
Mr. Van Streain Low stayed in Catskill in the course of the pandemic, and Ms. Byrne satisfied him to maneuver up there completely final yr. Her mom additionally lives in Catskill, and her father is a frequent customer. They all celebrated Thanksgiving collectively together with Ms. Byrne’s companion and their son. Mr. Van Streain Low, who grew up in Kalamazoo, Mich., cooked.
There are present jewellery fads the 2 don’t relate to. “There is a fascination with the zodiac that’s going on now,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated. “I am into reading my horoscope, but I don’t need it on my body.”
Another factor they don’t love is an overreliance on mechanisms, reminiscent of hinges and hooks. “That’s a big jewelry school thing,” Ms. Byrne stated. “There is a natural synthesis between us. We have slightly different aesthetics, different weights we like to wear. We test things out. We want things to withstand the test of time.”
She knocked on wooden. “We think about, ‘Is it something we want to wear all day every day?’” she continued. “Is this staying on my finger or being yanked off my neck? A 3-year-old is a real wild card.”
They advocate taking off their jewellery to bathe. “But we don’t do it ourselves,” Mr. Van Streain Low stated. “We like the patina of life.”
There is a pleasure to working in jewellery, Ms. Byrne stated. “You know it’s going to someone who is already excited about it. There is a lot of emotional value there that is not always present in other accessories or clothing items.”
Mr. Van Streain Low stated that giving and receiving jewellery is “generally a happy thing unless you’re in the doghouse.”
Has anybody purchased jewellery from En as an apology of some type? “Not that I know of, but I’m sure it has happened,” he stated.