Meet Danielle Singer of Dolorous Jewelry
Posted: Jun 16 2015
Want to know more about the people behind the brands we carry? Our girl Alexandra Donaldson catches up with Danielle Singer of Dolorous Jewelry…#ShopTCC
Danielle Singer’s Dolorous Jewelry is the perfect combination of laid-back style and elegance. Her (mostly) brass pieces are simple, yet stunning and a must-have for anyone who appreciates jewelry with character (I myself have two of her pieces and LOVE them). Keep reading to check out my recent Q&A with the Toronto-based designer for The Chic Canuck!
The Chic Canuck: How did Dolorous Jewelry Start?
Danielle Singer: While I was getting a degree in Goldsmithing at George Brown I was very interested in jewellery history and found the study of it very inspiring. The program I was in is a very technical one and didn’t give a lot of creative freedom so I began making things outside of school to explore all these design ideas I was getting. It didn’t take long before I had a lot of jewellery and had spent quite a bit of money on supplies so the next natural step was to sell some pieces so I could buy more supplies and keep going, and so Dolorous was born. I opened up an Etsy shop and by the time I graduated my program things had snowballed. I had several stockists and quite a bit of online interest and decided to take the leap to work on my line full time.
TCC: Tell us a bit about your creative processes.
DS: My creative process is very organic. I tend to get inspired by materials I find and by the actual process of putting things together. Sometimes when I make a piece it ends up quite differently than I expected it to, and sometimes the process of trial and error will inspire other pieces as well.
TCC: Tell us, what does your day typically look like?
DS: My days can be pretty varied because when running a business, different things are required of me on different days, and some times of the year vary greatly from others—like Holiday season or when I launch a new collection (twice annually). That aside, I generally like to start my day with a coffee and getting organized, I keep a day planner that I rely on pretty heavily. Then emails and computer work, sending things out to the post office and dropping off new items to stores in the city. I tend do my creative work later in the day like designing or sourcing new materials, that way I don’t have the days obligations weighing me down and I can relax and think freely.
TCC: What are some personal highlights or milestones from your work history?
DS: I would say the biggest milestone is when I graduated from my Goldsmithing program and decided to pursue Dolorous full time! It was a pretty scary leap but I was amazing to see how quickly things grew once I was giving it my full attention.
TCC: What does a perfect Canadian day look like?
DS: That’s tricky because I think part of being Canadian is the drastic difference between our summer days and winter days. I personally love the variety of the change in seasons but it definitely causes a change in pace. I think in the summer a huge part of a perfect Canadian day would need to be being outside, probably by a lake, and hopefully with some marshmallows to roast, whereas in the winter it would definitely include cozying up on the couch with a warm drink and ideally a fireplace (possibly with some more marshmallows to roast—that’s an all-season activity).
TCC: What do you think makes Dolorous Jewelry quintessentially Canadian?
DS: I think what makes Dolorous quintessentially Canadian is the fact that my designs are quite laid back. By using brass as my primary material even the most adventurous designs have an easy accessibility to them, the feeling that each piece could be as easily worn with jeans and a t-shirt as with an evening gown.
TCC: What are some important values/ideas that you hope to convey with your brand?
DS: A huge part of the Dolorous brand is versatility. I design lots of my pieces with the ability to be worn in a variety of ways, particularly the body chains, many of which can be worn in at least four ways, including as a necklace. I love the idea of people being able to make each style their own. Another aspect of my brand’s versatility is how my designs often walk the line between everyday and formal, allowing the wearer to transform the mood of the piece depending on what they wear it with.
Sustainability and environmental consciousness is also very important to me and has been worked into the roots of the brand. I use lots of repurposed materials and buy vintage chains and components whenever possible. I also work hard to maintain sustainable work practices that make as little an environmental footprint as possible.
TCC: If you weren’t making unique jewelry you would be…?
DS: Starting a jewelry company felt like the perfect marriage of my artistic side and my more pragmatic and practical side. If I didn’t take this path I feel like one side or the other would have taken over and I’d either be a starving sculptor or a lawyer.
TCC: What are some other Canadian brands that you want us to know about?
DS: There are so many talented Canadian designers! Two I’m pretty obsessed with right now are Grace Lee, a porcelain artist who makes these totally magical creatures and St Lawrence Luggage, a leather goods line who made this convertible backpack/purse that I’ve hardly taken off since I bought it.