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Today we talk with Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin that actress Jennifer Lawrence wears in the movie The Hunger Games. As you know if you’ve read the books or seen the movie, this pin (worn by main character Katniss Everdeen) is an especially important part of the story—a symbol of rebellion in a post-apocalyptic world.
When I found out I was going to interview Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin for The Hunger Games movie, I was excited. But I was also not sure what to expect from a woman who has made jewelry for more than 50 films and television shows (including Planet of the Apes, The Matrix sequels, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), designed what Cher has described as “her favorite ring,” and is friends with Marilyn Manson.
Within moments on the phone, I realized I was talking to one of the most engaged, confident, and also humble and generous artists I’ve ever met. She loves what she does and at the same time is very clear about just how hard her work is.
She is equally passionate discussing the magic of movie making, heavy metal music, women with charm bracelets jangling beside her at the symphony, and her own work in her studio and her Etsy jewelry shop.
Can you tell me a little about how you got started designing jewelry?
I learned basic jewelry-making skills as a child from my father, who was an engineer: how to cast, how to solder, how to use a pair of pliers. I’ve always just naturally been a craftsperson. I’ve also always been a movie fan.
When I attended the Rhode Island School of Design, I planned to focus on animation, but in my freshman year I decided to do sculpture instead—foundry work with heavy forged steel, cast bronze, and aluminum. Then when I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to have a career as a fine artist.
I felt art was about communicating, and I knew that I was young and didn’t have a lot to say yet.
I got a job in the repair department at Tiffany & Co. in New York City. But I didn’t actually repair the jewelry—I did public relations for the repair department. And I learned how people use and abuse their jewelry, how they don’t want to think about chains breaking and pearls needing to be restrung—especially on pieces from Tiffany.
I realized that when people buy something, they want it to last, and I could understand that. I started my own jewelry business as soon as I left Tiffany, and I’ve been making jewelry ever since.
So how did you start designing jewelry for movies?Continue reading...