Artist Spotlight: Cindy Zell, jewelry designer of WKNDLA
1. First, introduce yourself: what do you do, where are you from, and where you currently reside.
My name is Cindy and I started WKNDLA in 2014 on the weekends in Los Angeles (this inspired the name). I grew up in Southern California and work out of my backyard studio in North Hollywood. I want to create pieces that serve as storytellers and conversation starters while evoking a unique point of view. My hope is that they give the wearer the confidence to tell their story, encouragement to form new connections, and a reminder that we’re better together.
2. Was there a specific moment where you decided that you wanted to pursue a jewelry design career?
Less than a year ago I shifted the focus of my company to jewelry. I had trouble finding sustainably-made statement earrings that were lightweight and 14k gold-filled for sensitive ears. I was creating wire-shaped mobiles at the time so it was an easy transition into art-inspired jewelry filled with movement.
3. How did you go about making your first jewelry pieces?
I taught myself how to solder when I started making brass wall hangings several years ago. I really enjoyed the challenge of learning how to work with gold and silver for jewelry. It’s a similar process figuring out the balance, structure, and movement of a pair of earrings, I just made what I wanted to wear personally.
4. Where do you draw inspiration from for your collections?
My approach to jewelry comes from a background in sculpture and animation. Behind every seasonless collection is a love for art in all forms and inspiration that draws upon nature, movement, history, mythology, and everyday moments.
5. Do you have any jewelry designer role models you look up to?
Alexander Calder, who is known for his mobiles, made jewelry since he was young. He made everything by hand and with affection, and every piece felt like an extension of his style and sculpture work. I hope to instill a similar spirit of the handmade into my pieces as well!
6. What is your favorite piece you have designed and why?
The pair I reach for the most is the Coba Mobile Earrings, they are so lightweight for their size! They were one of the very first designs I launched and were a smaller version of a mobile I had recently completed. They are a reminder of my goal to create wearable art that is comfortable and makes the person wearing them feel great.
7. What is your denim of choice when you’re in the studio and why?
I am constantly moving around in the studio so I gravitate towards anything comfortable. The things I wear have to put up with a lot since working with metal is messy. Denim is a great uniform because it protects me while I’m working with wire and looks great when I go outside!