Shana Kroiz is a hometown girl. She attended high school right here at Baltimore School for the Arts before heading to Parsons School of Design in New York. Kroiz is not just content to design stand-out jewelry—and with her bold and one-of-a-kind designs, it does just that—but also started a nonprofit to provide space and education for upcoming artists called the Baltimore Jewelry Center.
We wanted to find out what inspires her work and how she’s changed during her journey as a designer. Be sure to check out her amazing designs in our upcoming April issue!
STYLE: What about Baltimore inspires you?
Shana Kroiz: I find it interesting to challenge the ideas of fashion here. I find that Baltimoreans get excited about fashion in a way that does not happen in New York. It’s a bit more unexpected to see high fashion here on a daily basis. I love treating Baltimore as if it were the center of fashion and art, inspiring people to step out and be bold.
STYLE: What has your journey as a designer been like?
SK: I started out in the fine art jewelry world and have been slowly transitioning into a more fashion-forward way of working. It has been a long journey. I also spent 22 years teaching jewelry at the MICA Jewelry Center and now at the Baltimore Jewelry Center, while developing and exploring my own creative process. I have tried and done most things in the jewelry world: art jewelry, designing for other jewelry companies, having my own jewelry business, designing and making wedding rings, and so much more. I have been doing the high-end crafts shows for the past 7 years, while teaching all along.
STYLE: Who are some of your favorite designers?
SK: I’m more interested in looking at aquatic life. There are so many artists I admire, but I try to focus on what inspires me and that is a combination of sea life and my personal vocabulary of forms and colors.
STYLE: What is your favorite piece you’ve designed?
SK: Usually the last big piece is the favorite until the next one is made! Though now I am intrigued with my new sculptural cuffs! They are bold and dynamic yet easy to wear. I love making them as the carving is much more immediate than my enamel pieces. Luckily, I usually get great pleasure in most of my pieces.
STYLE: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you be doing?
SK: I would love to help girls to embrace their beauty and feel good about themselves. I sometimes imagine having a talk show for women and young girls where I help them enjoy and love their femininity and learn to live a life that is full of beauty and self-confidence. I believe that everyone has the potential to feel and be beautiful and special. Mostly, it is a state of mind, and unfortunately, society doesn’t seem to teach that on a universal level.
STYLE: How would you describe your own personal style/how you dress on a day-to-day basis?
SK: I dress to enhance my jewelry as well as to accentuate my strong points. I don’t exactly follow fashion, I wear what looks good on me. I don’t follow trends as I always feel fashion-forward with my jewelry, attitude and clothes that fit and are well-designed. I believe good fashion should be timeless and you should dress to express who you are as an individual. So, when you see me, I will probably be in something monochromatic with strong lines and well-made. My jewelry will be the focal point, accentuating my beauty and personality.