Born & Raised in Hawaii, this now New-Mexico based jewelry designer takes us on a dreamy visual tour of her hand built studio. With her love for the outdoors, her pups, folk lore & cultures from days gone by ~ Jessica Ilalaole of CobraCult Jewelry shows us what it’s like to truly live your life as a creative. If you fall in love with her as much as we did, make sure you follow Jess closely on her instagram for the shop announcements. Her jewelry drops usually sell out the same day she releases them… (you’ve been warned.)
Scroll down to read the full interview of our newest Creative Creature:
Jessica Ilalaole of CobraCult Jewelry
Jessica Hoku’au Pahakalani Ilalaole
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Libra through and through
Who is your inspiration?
Individuals that have grit. I’m reading a book right now titled, Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes. There are very inspiring women in this book who forged adventurous lives in the Southwest. I can also look to my peers for inspiration. Other jewelers or artists who are living on their own terms, putting the life they want to live first, and then running an artistic business that allows them to live that way. This really resonates with me and on days that I question my sanity and I can look to them and say to myself “yes this is doable and I’m making it happen.” My friends Chloe Marie Gaillard Burke who is an amazing painter and Jillian Lukiwski who makes jewelry under the title of The Noisy Plume are two examples.
What is your creative process like?
I’m very free form with my creative process. I like to start early with coffee and then write a list of what I would like to accomplish for the day, which I very rarely complete, but hey I’m an optimist. Once I’m sitting at my bench I just go for it, piecing together stone and metal however I see fit in that moment. I have sketchbooks that I draw new designs in regularly and keep a record of what I’d like to make in the future. Sometimes the stones speak to me or I see something in daily life that forms new ideas. My other creative endeavors bleed into my jewelry such as ceramics and embroidery. Each form of art feeding off the other. I definitely have themes in my art. I love birds, mountains and bodies of water and any stones that look like spotted animal hides or mimic plant formations.
Embroidery, fitness and herbal supplements. I know that’s kind of a weird combo, but living off grid in Northern New Mexico offers up time to try new hobbies and focus on health. I find embroidery to be the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done and I’m starting to put designs on my clothes which is so rewarding because you can wear your art. I’m also finally hitting my groove with fitness training and I make time to train everyday, always getting stronger. The stronger my body is, the easier my physical hobbies become, such as backpacking in the wilderness, hiking, snowboarding etc. Some friends of mine recently turned me on to some really great companies who are creating amazing natural herbal supplements to enhance mind and body. My partner and I are committed to our health. I think we both just want to get back to living the most natural lifestyle we are capable of.
I’m an excellent swimmer. I grew up in the ocean waves and I feel comfortable in almost any body of water. I also make a pretty amazing paleo crust pizza which is considered difficult by some.
Favorite Breakfast food
A breakfast salad. Basically its a green salad with eggs, bacon, cheese and potatoes on top. I want my greens in every meal but I love my bacon.
If you could travel anywhere (all expenses paid) where would it be?
New Zealand! I’ve been there before. I did some woofing (working on an organic farm) there with my mother many years ago. It’s the most incredible country. New Zealand has tropical beaches, mountain fiords, rolling hills, evergreen forests and the best rivers and lakes to swim in. I want all of natures experiences when I travel and NZ has them all in one place. The people of NZ are very friendly as well as rugged and its very easy to be a backpacker there. I might just go back soon!
We listen to a lot of classic rock, folk and country music in our household. I don’t think I could choose one band or album that I love the most, but three albums that I have in heavy rotation are:
Gene Clark, No Other
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Second Helping
Steve Young, Rock Salt and Nails
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I used to be a night owl. I liked to party when I was younger but I’ve converted to being a morning person. I go to bed looking forward to the next day and my first cup of coffee. I’m most motivated in the am, when my brain is fresh. Every new day is exciting, you ever know what will happen!
What would you name your boat if you had one?
The Silver Raven after my favorite Gene Clark song.