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Inside Steven Alan

Q&A: Takara Jewelry

  • We recently opened a shop in Portland, Oregon in the alley at Union Way alley on SW 11th and Stark, and have been busy getting to know our neighbors, including local jewelry designer Jen Goff, whose line is new to our stores. Jen sat down to answer some questions about her travels, inspiration, and some of her favorite spots in our new town.

    An image from Takara’s Spring ’13 lookbook, shot by Chelsea Heffner

    What does Takara mean?
    Takara means “treasure” in Japanese. I chose the name because some of my work involves using ancient braiding techniques from Japan.

    You’ve traveled extensively. What was your most memorable trip?
    My most memorable travel excursion was when I was 26. I walked over 500 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago trail. Typically I walked for 8 hours a day and stopped along the way to rest and eat. I once encountered a wine fountain on the trail and that was a highlight. I met people from all over the world and experienced such a beautiful simplicity in this way of travel. When you walk everywhere you really see and take in your surroundings. So many people in the small villages were so kind and generous. One old woman invited me and some friends in for soup. She only had 3 chairs so she stood while we ate, which was very touching!

    Jen’s studio

    We hear you have a background in medicinal herbs and farming. How did you make the transition into jewelry design?
    I do have experience working with plants. Nature has been a huge source of inspiration. I love anything that is slightly imperfect and sculptural. I often saw this in the plant world. It seemed an easy transition to make into jewelry design. I  have also had an interest in natural dye techniques and working with plants inspired me to explore their various uses within my jewelry collection.


    Your current collection is inspired by traditional craft techniques such as Kumihomo, a form of Japanese braiding. How do you incorporate these techniques into your work?
    Yes, I am very inspired by old techniques of both weaving and braiding. Currently, for my new collection we have explored a particular kind of weaving that is rarely used anymore! Often these techniques are used in necklaces as the part that holds the pendant. I find that there is enough surface to really explore the beauty of the braid or weave.

    Takara Small Ornament Hoops, also available in blue/grey

    What are some of your favorite things to do in and around Portland?
    My favorite thing to do in Portland! I love long walks in Forest Park, a huge, beautiful forested area in the middle of the city. I also love to visit Sauvie Island and take walks there. Often I meet friends for dinner and drinks. One of my favorite places to go is Biwa Japanese restaurant! They have an amazing menu. I also love visits to the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

    Many thanks to Jen! You can find Takara jewelry at our new Portland shop, as well as our Tribeca, Venice, Hayes Valley, Boston, East Hampton, West Village stores, and in our web shop.

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 at 4:18 pm and is filed under In Stock, New Arrivals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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