My Style: Anna Sheffield's Punk-Chic Southwestern Abode On The Bowery

We'll be the first to admit that, yes, we've been a little more than obsessed with Anna Sheffield's architectural, oftentimes raw jewelry since the very beginning, with its perfect marriage of punk sensibilities and victorian elegance. And now, with the launch of Anna Sheffield's newborn bridal collection — boasting the same edgy essence as Bing Bang, Bespoke, and AS Fine Jewelry, but with a timeless, heirloom-appropriate twist — we can actually imagine a world where our own vows can be approached with the same playful nod to our rebellious teenage years, laced with old-world grace and a healthy dose of high-end glossing. So, what makes this astronomically accomplished, game-changing designer tick, aesthetically? Well, you needn't look further than her cozy, humble abode, nestled snugly in the heart of the once-dingy, notorious Bowery neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. With walls decked out in salvaged, weathered wood one might only find in an Albuquerque ranch home, the tattooed, one-time Marc Jacobs muse puts New York City's small spaces to shame, making good use of every square inch, in one of the most design-conscious ways we've seen in ages. Peppered with vignettes of sculptural trinkets from her travels, native sage, colorful pops of embroidery, and southwestern elements galore (like her oh-so lust-worthy incorporation of Sonoran Catholic art just about everywhere), Ms. Sheffield finds room for everything, including her friends' art and even a small balcony garden overlooking the East Village. Click through, but be prepared — you won't look at NYC small-apartment living the same.
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Photographed by Mindy Best
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What are you most excited about with your three lines right now?
"Well, between the three lines, there's never a dull moment! The Bridal line has definitely been the most exciting because it’s all so new to me. I love the idea of making the ring that someone is going to propose with — and the bands. They are both such an incredibly poignant symbol of love and union. I enjoy being a part of the process of discovery with my customers, whether it's selecting a ring from the line, or making a completely custom piece. Designing with that idea in mind is kind of magical in and of itself.
"I have to add that I am also really excited for the spring Bing Bang collection. The limited-edition capsule collection, which is set to launch this January, is based on these early Northeast-coast Indian designs influenced by Scottish metal work. There was lots of research and sketching involved, and making the originals for that group was amazing and so much fun for me."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Are there any designers, past or present, that you look up to?
"The list of artists that I look up to and draw inspiration from is varied and really too long to list. I am in awe of the Dadaists, the most punk art movement of all time. I love the works of Ed Ruscha, Darren Waterston, Alexander McQueen, Isabel Toledo, and Ted Meuhling, as well as Native artisans, past and present. Essentially, I admire innovators of all kinds; That’s what really encourages me to work to the best of my ability."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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One of two working fireplaces (!) now occupied with crystal balls, books, and her friends' art.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Tell us about your stunning new bridal line. What moved you to branch out into the bridal market?
"Bridal just seemed like the right direction to take the line in, and meeting my partner, Eli Kaufman, last year really cemented that. I had been making so many engagement rings and bands on commission, I felt I had already set a tone for what the collection would be like, stylistically. The concept for the line was also a motivating factor; Designing for people who want an exceptional piece of jewelry, not just more of the same. I think there is a great movement towards the alternative in Bridal, not just the jewelry, but the whole idea of marriage and the definition of commitment. I want to create rings for people who feel like their love should be expressed with something more unique and interesting. Also, that it’s made by a designer — an individual — but with the same value and quality you would get from a big brand."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Anna's dining-room table adorned with braided sage atop an antique candlestick, a painted gourd, trinkets from her travels, and a Native American woven bowl overflowing with some architectural metal pieces from her latest collection.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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What inspires or informs your designs the most?
"Honestly, I take inspiration from just about everything around me. I live in New York City, so that is very much a part of my design process, but I look to many things outside of my environment for inspiration as well. A random example: I think of rings like bridges, so I look at those a lot because they are both structural and graceful — as well as symbolic. I'm also an avid reader — usually four books at once — and I try to see lots of art and live music. And last but not least, I have a ridiculously talented bunch of friends — and a brother — who endlessly inspire and challenge me, which is the absolute best."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Feathers, southwestern Catholic art, stones, and books arranged together on a shelf. Notice the rad half-skull carved into the cover of that teal book? Yeah, we want that, too.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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What influences your personal style the most?
"I think that style is a distinctly individual expression. It falls somewhere between art and living — it's more of an intuitive process, overall. As for me, I think I've dressed pretty much the same since I was a child, wearing what matches my mood at the moment, or imagining a role and playing it. I do like to mix odd things together, like dainty dresses and boots, or bright colors with black. Also, being covered in tattoos makes getting dressed up really interesting."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Rosaries and beads hang over badass wooden deer heads from Bali, a carved-wood antique chair, and nautical-themed painted card table-turned-art piece.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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What has been your favorite collaboration thus far? Do you have any dream collaborations?
"All of my collaborations have been exceptional and informative, each in their own way. It’s really a gift to work with other people creatively, and no two collaborations ever turn out alike. In the future, I would love to do something in a gallery, or work in a medium that emulates jewelry but is larger or different somehow... More 'form over function.'"

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Spices galore perched above her porcelain-white stove and matching tea kettle. Anna's cookware is always at the ready to satisfy her other love — cooking.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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You struck out on your own with Bing Bang at a really young age. What's your best advice for young entrepreneurs looking to start their own lines and small businesses?
"I always give this same bit of advice: start now. I tell people that you never have to be afraid or uncertain. Once you start, your project, your idea — whatever it is — will always continue to evolve and grow, and sometimes, the path ends up being something totally different than the one you set out on. And that's fine, too. There are no wrong turns, it's just about being committed to making your way. All the rest falls into place, but you have to start to get to that point."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Plants, candles, and more sculptural knickknacks populate a sun-drenched corner window.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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How would you describe your space and your home's aesthetic? Where do you find inspiration for your home?
"I call my apartment 'the Chalet,' which is kind of a joke because it’s really nothing fancy, but aesthetically, that name sort of fits. It’s a tiny place — kind of quaint and rustic in the decor, but the kicker is that it's also perched right over one of New York's biggest — and most historically notorious — streets. That mix of dichotomies makes it all the more charming for me."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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You started out as a metalworker and sculptor. What inspired you to forge into jewelry design? Do you still make sculpture at all?
"I got my degree in Fine Art Sculpture, which was a wonderful beginning to my artistic endeavors. Learning to work in all of the various media — ceramic, bronze-casting, paper-making, jewelry — was an incredible treat. My favorite has always been working with metal, from welding and blacksmithing to the smaller scale and tiny tools. I honestly never intended to become a jewelry designer — that came out of sheer coincidence, serendipity, and a lot of luck, really.
"I think of jewelry as a kind of artistic expression, but I haven't made a purely sculptural object in quite a while. I've mostly been doing other creative side-projects, like writing and my secret love: cooking. When the time is right, I'm sure I will make art again, though."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Anna shows off some jeweled skull-and-crossbones stud earrings from her Bing Bang line.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Can you tell us about any possible collaborations in the works?
"At the moment, I am focusing on the Bridal & Commitment line, which is essentially a partnership and collaboration. Nothing co-branded since I did WeSC+BB and Holy Tee+BB this year, and launched Anna Sheffield Bridal with my first Fashion Week event ever. Though there are some great concepts set forth for the near future in both lines, I'm keeping them under wraps until we are a bit further along."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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Every inch of Anna's space is embellished with rustic, vintage finds.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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What do you love most about living, working, and designing in New York? Would you consider yourself a "lifer" to the city?
"I love being right in the thick of it — the swarm, as it were. I find the frenetic nature of NYC inspiring, although it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. I believe once you've taken this city into your heart, you change a little and nothing else will ever compare. That said, I don't think I'll live here forever. I will most certainly always spend time here, but my tendency is towards somewhere quieter, more remote. Ideally, I'd spend most of my time immersed in nature, and I love the desert."Photographed by Mindy Best
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Just one of the many examples of Anna's exemplary use of small spaces.

Photographed by Mindy Best
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What do you see on the horizon as the bigger picture for your line(s) in the next 10 years or so?
"Dangerous question! I have so many ideas and so much is possible — I can hardly believe all of what I've done over a decade in NYC.
"With Bing Bang, I'd love to be working with a partner or form an alliance with a larger company, so that it can really go to the next level. I think of the brand as a lifestyle, and would love to expand into other categories. I have a million ideas for it, literally.
"In the fine jewelry, or the whole brand under my name, that's a life-long endeavor, and I imagine it will be a continuous evolution. I do want to open stores, especially now with the Bridal line. The experience of creating a space for the collection to live in is such a grand ambition, and I look forward to doing that. I also see myself making work outside of jewelry in the long run. I started with sculpture, and I do miss working in other mediums...the scale and the mix of materials. I'd love to do something like table-top or furniture. It'd be dreamy to build a house and everything in it! Maybe I can make that happen in the next 10 years."

Photographed by Mindy Best
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