Jewellery attracts our eye and when it is taken into an unusual shape it makes us look twice. This is how the Brooklyn based jewellery designer Caitlin Mociun created her latest “Small Bites Collection”. The Rhode Island school of Design graduate switched from fashion design to jewellery and plays surprisingly with material and proportion to guide eye.
IRMA: The little finger food/veggie pieces are adorable. What was the inspiration for those?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: The concept for Fine Foods, I had been thinking about for years before I actually made the first collection of them in 2018. I love objects that are off size (really big or really small) and have always had an affinity to fake foods (as a child I was OBSESSED with the perfect models of Japanese dishes I would see if Japan town in San Francisco displayed in restaurant windows). I had the idea to create a show of tiny foods made of gemstones, diamonds, and precious metals called Fine Foods. As I am a jewellery designer and never seem to find time for some of my more sculptural ideas, a former employee threw out the idea that I turn this idea into a collection of charms. This really clicked for me.
IRMA: Why are we so fascinated by fine jewelry? And why are you?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: Humans have always had a desire to adorn themselves (so its seems from our history!). Humans use symbols like jewellery to identify things about other people. Jewellery has been used as a sign of wealth, social status, marital status, etc. I believe that humans are drawn to beautiful things which might be a large part of how jewellery served as something both functional and was made to be aesthetically pleasing.
Humans consider it something of value. Because it is been made from precious metals jewellery it is actually something that in the past could be used as money (when the gold standard still existed). For me it is a combination of my fascination with how things are made, beautiful, and unusual objects, and the hunt. I collect antique jewellery (as well as some vintage and modern) and I collect unusual and rare stones to put in my designs.
I used to design clothing before I started in jewellery. I did both for a few years. I started to see how people would connect and light up when they found a certain piece of jewellery that they connected with. It was so different than how people interacted with clothing and I felt like it was a better place for me to put my energy. It made me happier and I felt like I was bringing something special into the world.
IRMA: Where do you get your ideas from?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: I largely get my ideas from being out in the world. Traveling, going to galleries and art museums, even just walking around and shopping. So needless to say, it’s been a really hard year for me to get new ideas and be creative.
IRMA: What things could ruin your mood if you let them?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: Someone doing something mean or saying something hurtful (even if its to someone I know and care about and not me), I’m pretty sensitive.
IRMA: If you could change one thing about the human race, what would it be-and why?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: I wish all people would think more about how they affect others’ lives, the environment, and the world around them. I wish they would put themselves in other shoes more and be more open minded and kind to everyone and everything in the world.
This is very much at the top of my mind all the time right now living in the United States. I want people and the planet to feel good. It is very clear right now that that is really not happening for most people. Our environment is in a place that I have no words for. As someone who travels a lot and grew up in the rural Northern California it is really heart-breaking to see the environment destroyed in so many places I hold dear.
IRMA: What classic piece of jewelry you would love to have?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: I aspire to buy a piece of Art Deco Cartier jewelry someday. I also am on the hunt for a Jean Mahie chain.
IRMA: Is happiness a decision?
CAITLIN MOCIUN: Yes and no. I think that we can choose how we want to react to certain emotions and situations. But there are times that the right emotion is not happiness. Things happen in our lives that we should be angry about and that we should be sad about. All emotions deserve to be honored and felt, then let go of.