One of my favorite things to do is photograph makers and learn more about their work and what inspires them. One of the very best parts of owning a retail store focused on carrying the work of emerging makers is getting to know them, helping them refine their goods and brand and for me as a photographer too, in capturing them and the essence of their process. Last week, Annie Gray Gibbs, whose goods I carry at the shop and in Gather’s online store came in and I photographed her for this feature. This coming First Friday I’m hosting a trunk show with Annie Gray starting at 6pm. I’ll have drinks and snacks and you can meet Annie Gray and learn more about her process. Hope to see you there!
Who are you?
My name is Annie Gray Gibbs. I am the owner and designer of a jewelry and small-scale accessories business, Annie Gray Handmade. I am also currently an undergraduate student-designer at North Carolina State University.
What is your background?
My hometown is Summerfield, North Carolina where I learned early on how to paint. My parents encouraged every opportunity to foster my creativity. My passions have since transitioned from fine arts into fashion design.
My educational background from NCSU is in fashion and traditional fiber techniques. I value all that is hand made. I appreciate the imperfection of hand stitching and the patience of weaving and leather working. These experiences inspired an independent exploration of jewelry design and metal work.
Describe your process?
I love the prototyping process. I am inspired by natural tones and textures, and I typically create several versions of a piece of jewelry – and wear them – before I settle on one. Understanding the materials you work with always leads to a successful final piece, but experimentation is half of the fun. I am constantly learning about wearability and functionality of jewelry since it is still relatively new to me.
What do you value about Gather?
Gather is consistent in aesthetic. Gather includes all styles and mediums of work, but carefully curates each product. The space is small but no products compete with one another. Gather offers something for everyone. It’s a treasure chest.
What materials do you use?
The materials I use include semi precious stones, gold-filled chain, fine leathers, and hand crafted metals. These are perfect for every day wear as they are affordable but sophisticated.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on an accessories collection for a runway show. Art2wear (a2w) is celebrating its 15th year and presents fashion, costume and wearable sculpture created by the students of the College of Design at North Carolina State University. I am collaborating with Angele Gray on her senior collection, Vert. We are working closely to refine eight runway looks based on this year’s theme, obsession. I am designing a collection of handbags and jewelry to compliment each look. Materials include hand-formed brass, laser cut and hand stitched suede and leather, and dark gemstones such as tourmaline, onyx, and agate.
Who are your favorite makers? (Doesn’t have to be local)
What types of goods do you buy and can’t resist?
I love a super-soft slouchy tee shirt.