Texas-born jeweler Jeri Warlick points to her top-wired light fixtures and calls it “organic.” A tough sell at first glance, but then the spiraling brass begins to look like webs. Now slung from an aged wooden ladder, the bead-ornamented lighting was fabricated solely by her hands. “I mean, this is why my hands look horrible,” she says while laughing.
It’s 40-hour feats like this that flex the indigenous-style craft techniques used to make lighting akin to her namesake jewelry line. Under Warlick Design Works–her company of almost two decades–the jeweler now brings her interior pieces to the Pacific Northwest. These inaugural designs started off small, due to the labor-intensive process, but her sketches have since materialized into large-scale lighting projects. Now, upscale hotels and Manhattan apartments are calling.
Warlick is a handcraft jewelry maker with an interior architecture degree from University of Central Arkansas. With a concentration in hospitality, she broke into the architectural world by designing for multi-million dollar remodels, hotels, condos and Argenta: her vibrant coffee shop full of southern hippies.
She developed a knack for creativity at an early age while rebuilding (and living in) her childhood home, formerly a 17,000 square foot church. “As a kid I loved Barbie, I loved outdoor trucks, but I especially loved scraps of wood and boxes,” she says. After dismantling a gifted African tribal necklace for a gallery show in college, her spark for jewelry making ignited. Warlick's accessories can be described as bohemian yet structural, simple but opulent, soft but rough. There’s an irrefutable toughness in her collections utilizing grade A and B gemstones, but her palette compliments the soft hues around her. “The sun-washed colors of the pacific northwest, they take my breath,” she says.
Likewise, she continued doing architectural work while her jewelry business found success on the west coast. And although the labor process differs, her creativity still perks up in times of ultra serenity. While meditating, and occasionally when sleeping in between shifts, Warlick will come-to with fleeting ideas in need of sketching.
There’s a spiritual sensibility in her work and she’s very aware of how she wants people to feel stationing her lights in their respective homes or hotels: They are focal and functional art. “I think it’s [for] people who are in touch with who they are on a soul level, as cliche as that sounds, and they want things in their home that they can feel that energy within.” She’s adroit in reading energy, she tells me while looking around the window-filled studio in the Inscape Building–the former immigration station and assay office. The dense space will be the permanent site for future pop-ups showcasing her tedious creations. “Everything is very tribal,” she says, “ I have to have an alignment to earthiness, free form art, and a little bit of fashion in there.” As of now, clients can contact her directly for custom light pieces.