Zoe Comings’ ceramic jewelry line is inspired by the artist’s reflection on place and nature.
What you might notice first about Austin, Texas-based designer Zoe Comings’ jewelry is that it’s made of ceramic, an atypical medium for jewelry. We’re used to seeing ceramic tiles and housewares, but it’s rare to see it used to create wearable art.
“I started studying jewelry-making years ago, and I was studying clay as well. I used to work in each medium separately. I did tile work and housewares and had really separated these things in my mind creatively. At some point, I knew something was missing for me and I started to experiment. When I began making jewelry with ceramics, it was that eureka moment. A light switch went on and I knew this was absolutely it for me,” says Comings. She starts with simple shapes, often circles, teardrops and leaves. “I like shapes that have an organic, timeless feel,” she says. But those simple shapes are rooted in her past.
Comings is heavily influenced by a sense of place. Her designs reflect the Northern California landscape where she spent her childhood, New Mexico where she studied art, and North Carolina and Portland, Oregon, where she used to live. “A little inspiration seeps in from all of the places I have lived and traveled. I have always been inspired by river rocks, river beds and sedimentary layers. I have hiked a lot and seen a lot of the country’s natural beauty.”
If you look at her work today, you can also see Austin’s influence. “There’s more subtly to the nature in Austin. We don’t have the sharp, jagged mountains like Northern California or the Rockies or the red clay of New Mexico. I love the patterns and the weathered look of Austin’s limestone. I’m inspired by the leaf patterns and the trees in Austin. There’s something lush, rich and very beautiful about the foliage here.”
As Comings’ line has evolved, so has her color palette. “I started with white and light grey, and last year I added gold to get a more luxurious feel. It works really well and people are very responsive to the gold pieces. Right now I am working on the spring collection and using soft, subtle colors like mint green and nude in combination with rose gold.”
No matter what she is working on, however, Comings’ ultimate goal is to create beautiful, versatile designs that bring out an individual’s look and make women feel beautiful.
Being so connected to the natural world, it’s no surprise that Comings strives to source all of her raw materials locally and uses eco-friendly materials to pack and ship her products. The biggest way she is controlling her footprint is by using recycled packaging. “For wholesale orders, I have to ship everything in these little plastic bags. I used to work in retail and I know how much waste there is, so I only use recycled paper goods and I buy biodegradable bags. They are a little more expensive, but I don’t think twice about things like that.”
Each piece is handmade in her Austin studio, which is lovingly guarded by her two dogs, Baron and Mattie. Check out Zoe Comings’ ceramic jewelry collection here—or at a number of shops across the country.
Image: Nicole Mlaker Photography
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