Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Endler.
Claudia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
PASSION: When I was a little girl you could not pull me away from the jewelry store windows. I loved how everything sparkled. And once I got my very first rhinestone ring from Newberry’s thrift store, with the adjustable bottom that you could squeeze together so it would fit, I was hooked. That ring eventually turned my finger green, but it didn’t matter. As I got older, jewelry became more personal and connected to stories. Receiving jewelry as a gift was powerful for me, and I can still remember when I received each piece and from whom.
What I really wanted to do was learn more about art and design, but I didn’t know what to do with it or how to make a living at it. I lacked the courage to explore it. After failing in Economics, I pursued Sociology with a minor in Business to try to understand people and culture and how everything is connected.
But I continued to always be pulled towards the arts because of how they made me feel – specifically how they were able to transmit so much through esthetics and beauty to enhance my experiences and sense of wellbeing.
So when I was offered a job through a family connection in the fashion industry as a clothing rep, I jumped at the chance. Acting as an agent between the designer and the retailer, I had the chance to build relationships and learn how to negotiate. Being shy pushed me way out of my comfort zone, but my enthusiasm for the clothing and the designers helped me overcome some of this. I was good at it. I made a lot of sales and a lot of money. But, the position was completely overwhelming and demanding, so I hit burnout and left the industry entirely. The lesson being, money doesn’t buy everything.
This burnout led me to do a 180 and I went to work for HIV/AIDS research study at my alma mater, UCLA, taking a much lesser position for much less compensation. It was a completely different, unglamorous environment, far from the world of fashion. But it was real. It was heartbreaking. It was raw humanity, and I was in awe every single day of the men who came through our door determined to keep living. Working for the study gave me back my humanity, and I learned there just is no measure for the human spirit. This experience was pivotal in getting me to check back in with what fed my soul and helped me gather the courage to explore my creativity and follow my true passion – jewelry.
In my 30s, going through what I call my midlife crisis, I learned to actually make jewelry through carving wax and metalsmithing. I started on my dining room table. I had no money so I worked on one piece at a time building my tools, skills, and a body of work. To gain more experience, I also worked for a woman who owned her own jewelry store. I embarked on this career transition even though I was really frightened. I had to look at myself from a whole new perspective, as a designer. That was over 20 years ago. Good thing I did not know at the time just how hard the life of an entrepreneur was going to be. How hard it was going to be to talk about and represent my own work.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
In many ways, my exploration into modern jewelry mirrored the journey I went on to find myself again in my 30s. By stripping bare and digging down to the true essence of my own happiness, creativity, and self-expression, I discovered that there is so much power in simplicity and so much strength in clarity. My work is a reflection of my personal aesthetic but has really evolved over time, especially working with clients who want custom designs or repurposing.
When I started out and was still teaching myself, I removed the stone out of my former engagement ring and created a pendant to wear. Doing so gave new meaning to that part of my life, and became a powerful symbol of my journey whenever I wore it.
I realized then that jewelry is the most potent (and portable) form of art because it carries with it our stories, our loves, losses, and our humanness.
Then I cast a set of three rings to keep me grounded in my creativity, personal growth, and connection to self. They are an everyday reminder of the choice I have to create a life that inspires me to keep going.
These personal experiences really shaped pursuing so much custom work because when we create with purpose, the result is so much more meaningful than just a pretty bauble.
Modern design has been such a natural companion on this journey because minimalism allows us to see each element without distraction. This clarity beautifully represents the personal triumph of embracing one’s purpose and truth.
I’m honored to work so closely with my clients to express their vision and commemorate their experiences. I get the unique chance to witness as they reveal more of their story, who they are, and what is important to them. This intimate process of helping people honor themselves and celebrate life on their own terms has completely transformed my world.
How can artists connect with other artists?
In Los Angeles, it is really acceptable to be an artist. But it’s still a hard road. While there are more outlets to show art either on the internet or through galleries, restaurants or pop up shows, the collector base is still small. Many people are intimidated about acquiring art. And many creatives do not have the skills or resources to promote their work.
I think education is an important issue – the public still needs to understand the importance of art to our humanity. Many schools have cut art programs. Perhaps a change in values early on in our education system will help the arts and artists thrive. There are so many reasons to support art as a community and as an individual. It not only serves as a function of beauty, an extension of our expression, a record of our cultural history, but it can also be used as a tool to heal, educate, and understand ourselves and the world around us.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can see my work through my website www.claudiaendler.com or by scheduling an appointment at my studio at the Brewery Artist Lofts.
Email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 323-225-5924. I also partner with www.artfulhome.com and offer an exclusive capsule collection there.
You can also find me on Instagram (@claudiaendler_designs), Facebook(@claudiaendlerdesigns) and Twitter (@CEDesigns).
If you like something please comment, share or reach out to talk about a project.
- Address: 676 S. Avenue 21, #33
Los Angeles, CA 90031
- Website: www.claudiaendler.com
- Phone: 323-225-5924
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @claudiaendler_designs
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaEndlerDesigns
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CEDesigns
All images by Claudia Endler Designs