iCraft Spotlight: Christen Largent's Style Has A Silver Lining
Christen Largent may have deeper roots in silver than she realizes. The metal smith and proud owner of the iCraft Exhibit, icraftgifts.com/christen-largent has a perfect last name for a creator whose line predominately features silver. L'argent is the French for "silver"!
Although no longwinded tales of toiling silversmith ancestors began our interview, Christen did explain her personal route into design and artistry.
"I don't know if you could say I ever really 'started' (as an artist). I grew up in a house where creativity was always encouraged and expressed. My grandmother taught me the love of making things with my hands at a very early age and my parents were always very "hands on" as well!"
The early interest in creative pursuits gave Christen the open-mindedness for finding alternate ways to acquire interesting pieces of jewelry. Plus, being able to literally create the pieces she was working with was a huge point of interest, as she explains, "I began metalsmithing several years ago when I became disgruntled with putting jewelry together from the same findings as everyone else! I wanted my jewelry to be a piece of me and I just couldn't find that creative expression without being able to alter the metal itself."
"I do not 'sit' well…"
The autonomy that working with metal provided Christen allowed her to delve further into the business side of the arts. After starting a family, Christen realized that working from home would be a perfect situation for her as both a mother and a creator. "I have to be doing something at all times," she says, "I do not 'sit' well. So one thing led to another and my business was born… in amongst motherhood".
From home, Christen is able to find space to let things slow down and focus creative energies on her jewelry projects. "My favourite time is just having 'alone time' in my studio. I can put on the ol'iPod, tune out the world (which all mothers know is VERY difficult to do with kids running amok) and PLAYING! Don't get me wrong, I love making [custom] pieces for each customer...but to get some alone time to just play and see what happens....THE BEST!!!"
"Silver and stones come from the earth around us and I like to put a little bit of that earth back into my pieces"
For Christen, the results of playing around usually begin with a fascination with nature, which she cites as her primary influence and inspiration. With works that centre mainly on silver and stones, she has developed a style that is casual and neutral yet unique and special at once. She explains the connection between her work and her surroundings, saying, "Silver and stones come from the earth around us and I like to put a little bit of that earth back into my pieces. I live in the woods, I garden, I love nature and it comes out in my work...just as simple as that!"
While most of Christen's pieces clearly demonstrate this love of nature, she also found inspiration in a more surreal setting - her dreams! "I had a really cool dream one night...one of those kind of dreams where you don't know that you're dreaming. It was during one of those times where you could see Venus in the eastern sky and everyone was watching for it...so my dream was very celestial...and it resulted in my starscape ring - to this day, one of my favs and I wear the prototype ring EVERY day!"
"I really feel like jewelry should have a personality and bring out the personality of the wearer"
Another driving force behind Christen's creations is her enthusiasm for bringing not only her personality into her pieces, but helping others to express themselves as well. She believes each material she uses has a certain aspect or characteristic that can reveal more about the person who wears them. "There is just a whole world of stones out there...each with their own personality and I really feel like jewelry should HAVE a personality and bring out the personality of the wearer. It's a good expression of self!"
To view Christen's pieces, visit her iCraft Exhibit now! Also, as an active member of the arts in her community, you can look for her at the following events:
"Art in the Garden" in Sylvania, Ohio, put on by Robin Crego of Garden Delights, to benefit Relay For Life.
"Crosby Festival of the Arts" in Toledo, Ohio at the Toledo Botanical Gardens
"Art on the Mall" at the University of Toledo
"Harrison Rally Days" (Fine Arts Section) in Perrysburg, Ohio
LP: If you could provide accessories for any celebrity, who would it be (and why)?
CL: Jennifer Garner. She's a pretty recent mom (I do a lot of mom's jewelry) and her roots are in West Virginia, which is where one side of my family is from, and she seems pretty down-to-earth!
LP: What is your dream creation? (Any idea you are working on or toward achieving)
CL: I am literally drooling to get started making new, matching wedding bands for my husband and I. We have been married for 16 years this summer and both of our wedding sets are SO outdated and I have IDEAS and PLANS for new ones!!! I can't wait to make that dream a reality!
LP: Favourite indulgence:
CL: A large Starbucks Chai Latte as I'm running errands on a brisk (aka FREEZING COLD) winter morning!!!
LP: Best part of being a working mom:
CL: Being able to schedule all of the business necessities around my family necessities! I always strive to put my family first, while certainly keeping my business thriving and my customers happy, and working from home allows both for me. I am blessed!
LP: The accessory no one should ever leave home without:
CL: Your favourite piece of jewelry - no matter what that is! The piece that is YOU...you wear it and it makes you feel confident, sexy, special, powerful...All women need that piece of jewelry!!!
LP: What are you working on now?
CL: I often participate in several yearly charitable events in my local area by donating pieces for auctions, etc. So, right now I'm working on a special pendant to raise money for two children in Perrysburg that are suffering from cancer. The goal is to help with treatments and hospital bills during these tough economic times, and also show support for these families that are dealing with so much!
Footnotes: All photos for this article were provided by Christen Largent© 2009.