Tini Bloom’s eccentric jewelry first caught my eye a few years ago at Bird, the Brooklyn clothing boutique. It’s stuck with me ever since. Her company moniker is Etten Eller, which means “either - or”, inspired by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s book Enten‒Eller. I read on a NBC blog that she intentionally changed the spelling. I especially adore that each piece is titled with a significant date and event, such as 08.27.1965: Le Corbusier dies while swimming in the Mediterranean off Cap Martin, or 02.18.1979: Snow falls in the Sahara desert. In this way, her jewelry becomes more than an object, it is a story or a memory. Visually her collections are delicate, yet strong and well crafted. Her exhaustive exploration in a scheme of metal discs, beads, and chains yields unending possibilities season after season.
I’m happy to kick off Rational Beauty’s Q&A series with Tini Bloom.
Job description: I design and produce a collection of jewelry.
Why do you do what you do? I think the motivation has changed and developed over time and continues to. My creative output however has always been a way for me to process the environment around me and the experiences I encounter. A visual diary of sorts. I ingest the world around me and digest it through my creative process and output. Its how I zero in on the details that interest me, the space in between, the moments that comprise my day and ultimately my life. I like to shed light upon the unexpectedly beautiful. To draw ones attention a little closer. Encourage one to slow down and move in a little closer to take notice and stock of the subtleties. With the jewelry I try to catch ones attention graphically and formally, intrigue one enough to make them stop and take notice and then once they come in a little closer they notice all these subtle details to the pieces.
How do you break through a creative block? Leaving the studio. Stimulating myself in the world and enjoying myself outside of the studio is probably the most helpful thing. Taking a break really. Doing something completely different. Feeding and informing myself in another way always proves to be the most beneficial to re-inspire me.
Education: I went to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. While I knew I was attending a highly conceptual art school, heavy on theory, I was interested myself in developing skills to apply towards design for fashion, at the time it was textiles. The school had no core curriculum which allowed me to dip between departments developing, for example, color in the painting department, line in the print department, traditional textile practices in the fiber department, etc. All the while I was surrounded by interesting dialogues about art, which informed the way I viewed everything around me and ultimately developed my designs. I found this more important than just learning a straight skill.
Mentors: I find a mentor in pretty much everyone I encounter. Everyone has something of value to share and teach. I enjoy most about this work the opportunity to collaborate with different craftsmen and engineers.
What did you learn the hard way? Everything feels hard when you are unfamiliar with it, but then you learn and absorb it into your wealth of knowledge and each time the difficulties get a little easier because you understand it is the natural rhythm of the unknown. Learning is hard, but completely rewarding.
Most useful tool: My own two thumbs.
Favorite space: A large body of water. I like to be fully submerged with a open horizon line and expansive sky
Favorite design object: I don’t know if I would say favorite, but I think Apple does the most beautiful job with all their packaging.
Guilty Pleasure: Internet TV
Underrated: Living without the internet, I read a hell of a lot more when I chose to live without it for a year.
Overrated: The internet, too much information if you ask me. I often don’t even know where to go when I sit before a computer online. I prefer the more old fashion forms of discovery.
Dream project: To spend a year traveling and absorbing the world around me in various different places.
Where’s home? I’m not sure at present. I suppose wherever I am.Share: Twitter Facebook
02.01.1884 - The day the Oxford Dictionary debuted.
01.12.1963 - The day Sam Cooke records Live at the Harlem Sq Night Club in Miami.
”My creative output however has always been a way for me to process the environment around me and the experiences I encounter. A visual diary of sorts.“
11.08.1895 - German scientist discovers X-rays.
02.18.1979 - Snow falls in the Sahara desert.
01.11.1813 - The first pineapple is planted in Hawaii.