Ann Chikahisa is a jewelry designer and runs Chikahisa Studio. Her jewelry has been featured in Refinery29 and BLOWE magazine. Her pieces are handcrafted and her materials are ethically sourced. Her designs celebrate the beauty of imperfection. You can follow her on Instagram at @chikahisastudio.
When did you first go into jewelry design?
I began as a fluke! I was working in the corporate world and was feeling uninspired and missing a creative outlet, so I began taking a metal smithing class at a local art center. Immediately I became hooked and spent all my free time there creating and making jewelry.
When did you open your studio?
I officially opened in January of 2010, but a very dear friend was the catalyst to start the business. She hosted a trunk show at her home, and I sold over 60 pieces! After that, I realized that I could make a business doing what I love.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always wanted to have my own business, but I wasn’t ever sure what to do. This trunk show gave me the confidence to take the leap.
Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
I find my inspiration from nature. I love organic shapes and textures. Most often, I find things like an interesting leaf or twig while on my walk. I never know what I’ll find or where I’ll see it. My iPhone is a great way for me to catalog ideas for the future.
What music do you listen to when you design your pieces?
I listen to all kinds – it just depends on my mood. It’s fun to explore new music and see how it inspires me. Spotify and KEXP, a local radio, are great for that!
Tell us more about your pieces / what materials do you use and what makes them special:
My jewelry is crafted by hand. I love to use wax to make the molds which are then cast in either silver, bronze or gold. I use different types of waxes for different reasons, i.e. a soft wax is great for forming and molding a piece, a hard wax for giving me lots of texture. My jewelry is about texture, shape and form. My goal is to create beautiful things that aren’t perfect because there is so much beauty in imperfection. A circle that isn’t perfectly round, the variation of the thickness of a pendant are a few examples. I also love to feel the weight of a piece of jewelry on. My jewelry is substantial but still elegant and simple at the same time.
Outside of designing jewelry, what do you like to do for fun?
I love hanging out with my kids and family. We have two dogs that are just so lovable, and we enjoy taking them for hikes and exploring the city. I also love to snowboard!
I noticed in one of your Instagram posts you wrote about OCD (Obsessive Coffee Disorder). What’s your favorite brand(s) of coffee?
How do you brew coffee (French Press, pour-over, etc)? Yes! I am OCD! But this became a problem, and I had to break up with coffee. Life isn’t quite the same ;-( Although if I did have a cup, 2 of my faves are Blue Bottle coffee and Intelligentsia coffee and my favorite way to drink in a coffee shop is a latte but at home I prefer to do a stovetop espresso. I think coffee and I will be reunited again. Soon. Very soon.
I love Red Wine – especially big ones like a Cabernet or Zinfandel. My current favorite is Chocolate Block.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
I really love exploring new places. A beautiful beach is my favorite vacation place.
If you could provide some advice to another aspiring jewelry designer or entrepreneur starting out, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and go for it! There never is a perfect time to start nor will you ever know everything. Life is an adventure, and you should get on and enjoy the ride!