Laurel Burch Glimmers of Success
“By the early 70s, my little children were older now and my creativity could not be contained. More local stores began stocking my earrings and necklaces, and Shashi Singapuri, a San Francisco Indian businessman who would become my partner, took samples to China."
"The Chinese were intrigued enough to give me the honor of being the first American designer to be invited to work in China (at that time, The People’s Republic of China). There I discovered cloisonné, a kind of enamel work with sectioned-off brightly colored areas of enamel that form a larger pattern. Though this was not an art form I knew myself, I was ecstatic about the possibility of having my paintings handcrafted into colorful little pieces of art that could be worn and enjoyed by all my new collectors and friends.”
“On a return trip, I brought a dozen paintings and had the Chinese cloisonné artisans I met on my first visit turn my designs into earrings. I will never forget the day when the first 12 pairs of earrings were unveiled. Never before had I envisioned something in my mind, drawn it on paper, and seen it come to life in the hands of another craftsperson. Of course, this made it possible to share my designs in more forms and with more friends. The most incredible door opened to my life’s work when I realized that through my art, I could communicate with cultures all over the world, and that within the images I could express shared values and a love for life that could link us all together, at the heart!”
“My first company Laurel Inc. was an early partnership between Shashi and myself. He put up some money and manufacturing began. Our Laurel Inc. pieces represent my transformation from street artist to manufacturer. This brightly colorful jewelry was the beginning of my signature cloisonné patterns, which I would go on to reproduce in many other media including cast metals and wood, paper, porcelain and fabric. I pointedly ignored fashion trends, because my goal was a look that appealed to shy people as well as bold, eccentric ones.”
“From my first necklace and earring designs hammered out on a frying pan to the creations I am dreaming up continually, I have always loved the challenge of putting an enormous amount of magic and meaning into the tiny little space of a piece of jewelry. I love that it becomes a part of you when you wear it, reflecting a bit of your spirit. Most of all, I love that in some special way this connects you and me to each other.”