Artistic Innovation: An Interview with Todd Reed
There’s no doubt that a piece of jewelry by Todd Reed will win a place in your heart forever. Nobody else does what he does. With an artist’s soul and a deep appreciation of natural materials, it’s easy to see why Todd’s award winning designs are held in private collections worldwide. Our owner Jennifer paid a visit to his studio last year and was fascinated by his workspace and design process.
Todd looks for inspiration everywhere. His workspace is filled with inspiring objects, sketches by his daughter Flora, and always, always a little jade figurine of Ganesh. During Todd’s visit to New York City this month he will be making a special appearance at our shop and absorbing the architecture and the creative energy of this city where art meets community in such a special way. We had a few questions for him in preparation for his visit.
Todd, you’ve been doing this since the nineties. In all your time designing jewelry, do you have a favorite piece?
Todd: Peaceful Place is a special piece to me primarily because it deals with deep emotion. It’s beautiful and intriguing and also bears the story of personal growth, wisdom and the pain of needing a peaceful place. This piece articulates the beauty around closing down/ opening up, reveling your true self or working with polished outside. Art is simply making an emotion into some kind of deliverable thing, I use my jewelry design to communicate my story.
The award winning pendant, Peaceful Place, on display in Todd’s Venice, Ca showroom. This has a hidden locket that opens to a Moldavia Buddha.
You are something of a pioneer when it comes to designing with raw diamonds and recycled metals. What inspired you to create a sustainable jewelry collection?
Todd: I think ethical responsibility in this industry is difficult to ignore any more. When I started my company, I had certain principles that I had wanted to have at the core. It was not popular to be responsible about sourcing at the time. It was important to me though, so we did it.
This is the type of forward-thinking that delights your fans and keeps you ahead of trend. What inspired you to work with raw diamonds?
Todd: During geology class in high school, we studied rock crystals and I fell in love with their shapes, texture and sparkle. I liked how a diamond left just as it’s found in nature can dictate the architecture of a piece of jewelry.
In 1994, I met one of the top collectors of raw diamonds who also loved these gems for their unique qualities over any monetary value.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
Todd: Connecting with people and expressing my feelings through art.
That’s definitely something that comes through in your work! How often do you sketch or draw?
Todd: I am constantly sketching – I have hundreds of sketches on napkins, scrap paper and in notebooks. My sketch books provide a constant reservoir of designs that I pull from.
How much leeway to create do you give your artisans?
Todd: I am the only designer. However, we do create custom designs and often clients work on a piece with an account manager, but before being made, I approve the design.
I meet regularly with the shop master to discuss and work through fabrication details. Each jeweler will create the piece from start to finish, which is unique in the jewelry industry. Keeping each piece with one jeweler keeps the aesthetic and the energy of the piece in balance.
What factor about yourself, do you feel is the biggest contributor to your success?
Todd: I constantly stay true to my vision.
You certainly have an authentic voice – your tagline Raw Elegance really hits the nail on the head. Where do you hope to see your brand in 10 years?
Todd: Ten years I'll still be the founder, designer and CEO of TRI, and designing the most innovative and beautiful jewelry I can.
That sounds like a plan! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Todd Reed and his growing empire.
Art is simply making an emotion into some kind of deliverable thing,
I use my jewelry design to communicate my story.