Creative Spotlight: Yugen Design

As I mentioned in the launch of this journal, one of my goals here is to find more of my people and expand on my little community of like-minded souls brought together, if not by cake, then by a similar mindset, style or passion for creating. I'm fortunate to have a slew of such folks in my life and excited to share them here so y'all can mix and mingle and feel further inspired. Enjoy, make friends and eat more cake;)

Over the summer, my friend Christina Cavallaro, the endlessly talented and creative writer, photographer, singer and newly-established jewelry maker behind Yugen Design, introduced her Ugly/Pretty collection, a modern line of mixed metals and leather, handcrafted in her SF Studio. 

Using her #100DaysofSharingStuff project on instagram, she revealed the the source of her inspiration for these new pieces:

"There's something so magical about the mysterious juxtapositions in nature. How effortlessly ugly-pretty some things can be. A geode, so cruddy on the outside, other-worldly and luminous on the inside, yet you might kick it out of your path if you came across it in its natural state as a plain old rock. And what about roses? What could be more alluring than an intoxicating scent, petals velvety to touch, colors rich in hue, and thorns that will cut you to goddamn ribbons if you get too distracted by all that outward glamour and beauty."

Like many of the wise words and ideas that come from Christina, this study in contrasts and her discoveries in nature, felt akin to my own style and motivations as a baker. Much like the fine balance and thoughtful design she achieves in setting her sharp "ugly" thorns in glimmering gold, I've found myself similarly inclined to striking juxtapositions of the bakerly in the ever-popular naked cakes.

I could (and probably will) elaborate on my love/hate relationship with these seemingly simple, yet utterly vulnerable, complex and often undervalued confections, but for now, I'll just say that, to me, naked cakes are, figuratively speaking, the very essence of ugly/pretty. Which is to say, that they, like Yugen Design's jewelry, are an intentional celebration of beauty/flavor within and a reminder that things are rarely what they seem, and oftentimes, if cake or precious stones are involved, so much more.

To toast our "Ugly/Pretties," we pooled our works together for a styled shoot with Yugen behind the lens featuring a few of my favorite pieces from her collection, including a Sterling Silver Pendant with Gold Dipped Thorn, a Sterling Silver Rose Thorn Ring and a custom Black Pearl Ring called "Pearl Diver's Bounty, in honor of badass mermaids everywhere."

For more, be sure to check out Yugen Design's new Etsy store, follower her on instagram or drop her a line to design your own one-of-a-kind piece.

Did I mention she does engagement rings, too?