Erin Tracy is a jewelry designer whose work is seriously gorgeous. Pictures don’t do her designs justice. Visit her studio to see her work in real life, which will certainly get you hooked like we did (we’ve been dropping mad hints to the husbands for our next birthday/holiday/whatever gift). A mom to two kids who are both under 6 years old, she’s managed to carve out a schedule that lets her pick them up by 3:30pm while keeping her 13-year old business in motion. “I like to be involved and I enjoy spending the extra time with them. It’s a lot of sacrifice and for now, it feels like the right thing to do. I know I’m very lucky that I have the option to be there for them.” Her commitment to her family means her creative process has changed but it’s still as fired up as it was B.K. (before kids).
Now that I’m a mom, creativity comes to me from different places. A lot of my inspiration used to come from travelling. I travelled a lot—some of my favourite places are Santorini and Mallorca. Whenever I get away, I never have much of a plan and I wing it. I’d rather disappear into an alley and see what I can find. When a trip is too planned out, I know I’ll miss out on some of the most amazing things. I get lost in what people are wearing like the intricate beaded dresses and skirts in Mallorca or in the shapes and textures of my surroundings.
With two young children, these trips are harder to come by. My level of creativity hasn’t changed, however the amount of time I have dedicated towards it has. I have to be far more efficient than before I had kids. If inspiration hits, I roll with it and explore the idea right away instead of waiting and ruminating over it so much like I used to. With a full schedule, I’ve also had to adjust how and where I get inspired and now I look more to everyday life, which is just as beautiful.
“With a full schedule, I’ve also had to adjust how and where I get inspired and now I look more to everyday life, which is just as beautiful.”
I still take in whatever I’m doing, like when I’m hanging out with the kids, for example. Children really do present the world in a whole new way; they’ve shown me things I used to overlook. My daughter has this dress with tassels that she’s obsessed with and it inspired a few pieces in my recent collection. Lately my son has been all about bugs. I’m thinking of a cool way to incorporate insects or even animals that’s actually different than what’s out there already. This idea is definitely percolating…it just haven’t come to fruition yet.
It’s also about finding my moments and they need to be quick and gratifying, even when I’m looking for inspiration. I’m obsessed with Pinterest. It’s easy to fit in when I’m making dinner or waiting for an appointment somewhere. I mostly follow architecture, home design and fashion. Some of my favourite boards are Style Me Always, Modern Houses and La Petite Magazine. I lean towards the angular shapes of extreme modern design and when it comes to vintage influences I like anything that’s mid-century modern.
I do hit a creative wall every so often and that happened before I became a mom. I’ve learned that it’s normal for me so I use this time to take breaks from being creative and put less pressure on myself. I’ll focus on other parts of my business, knowing that the creativity will always comes back. It’s my cycle, I’m used to it and I don’t let it stress me out when it happens.
For my creativity and my sanity, I do give myself some space. When I can, I take a whole day away from the office and go for a walk in the city to get inspired. I also give myself a half hour every morning to work out. It’s an important time for me; it grounds and balances me so I don’t feel as much resentment, which is easy to build up as a busy mom. I don’t have time to go to the gym so I drop the kids off with my workout gear on, go home and press play on my P90X3 video, get dressed and then go to work to have a good, normal day.
My house is small so I’ve created a make shift gym in the living room. I have weights tucked away in bins and a hook behind my daughter’s door that I use for pull-ups and chin-ups. I just make it work and that’s in all aspects of my life, whether it’s my schedule or my space or finding time for inspiration. I just make it work.
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Erin’s not afraid to mix up design influences in her jewelry and her home. Her dining room teams mid-century inspired dining chairs , a jewelled chandelier (naturally) and an Asian dining table for a touch of Zen.
Erin’s addicted to neutrals for her wardrobe and her home. “I’m always about grey, black and muted tones. They make me feel comfortable so I can get on with my day.”
She’s only just begun to branch out into look-at-me shades like this canary yellow. “This of all colours is one I can work with.”
More grey, natch. Her kids are all about bugs right now. So much so, that Erin’s thinking about turning their obsession into a collection.
Colour! A picture Camryn drew of toddler Jackson crying because he cries like all toddlers do. “My mom framed it and added the extra words to make it special for her.”
A perk of a being a jewelry designer? Creating your own heirloom designs. About her own wedding and engagement bands she says, “I wanted something super sparkling and didn’t want anything that would get caught on things because I work with my hands. I’ve had them for over 10 years and I still love them. They’ll be handed down to the kids one day.” Jackson’s ring is made with tourmaline, his October birthstone, and Camryn’s is made of her April birthstone, diamonds. “She was born on the last day of April at 10pm. I thought I have two hours left to get her out or she’ll get an emerald, May’s birthstone. Emerald’s are okay but let’s face it, it’s not a diamond.”
“My skin is dry and somewhat sensitive. I go to Pure & Simple for hydrating facials and I buy a lot of my skincare there too.” Erin swears by Marina Gerbhardt Shea Butter Cream. “It’s like grease. Not everyone can use it. I can wear it all year long and never get a zit.” Other favourites: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture SPF30, Holistic Vanity Camellia Oil, SkinCeuticals Serum 10, Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip Gloss in Erin (a total coincidence), Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium and Smashbox X-Rated Mascara Volumateur.
This is Camryn’s dream box filled with peaceful thoughts, like butterflies or kittens, that help her calm down. When she can’t sleep, she picks one to soothe her mind.
Her it-bag: A knapsack by Marc for Marc Jacobs. “I do a lot of running around and needed something that won’t hurt my back that I could wear to meet a supplier or go to zoo with. I’m a mom but I still want to be stylish.”
Fringe Festival: Erin has a thing for fringe (although she didn’t realize it until we had her pull out her favourite things) and has amassed a cool collection of tassled accessories. “I have a secret boho spirit. I should’ve gone to Woodstock.”
A gift from her husband is this work from artist Alison Hodson, a friend and mixed media artist who creates portraits by combining photography with fabrics such as felt, silk and wool . Erin’s husband chose a photo of her from their wedding day to celebrate their one-year anniversary.
A collection of necklaces she made for herself and Camryn.