Hilary Beane, a jewelry designer from Los Angeles, has called New Orleans home for the past two years. Specializing in handcrafted jewelry, the designer is particularly passionate for pearls—Tahitian, South Sea, and specialty Freshwaters—and can create pieces in an array of metals and stones.
She's self-taught and began her career in jewelry in the late 80s, "creating custom pieces for a roster of film and music industry celebs, and then going on to sell to major retail stores and boutiques." Many publications have featured her pieces in and on the covers, and her designs appear in several TV shows, films, and music videos.
While she says she's not a "morning kind of gal," she knows how to make the most of her time. "I just feel guilty sleeping past 7 a.m.," she says. "So, it takes some strategic planning to fool myself into fully waking up." To see how that happens, read on for her morning routine!
6 a.m. Alarm goes off, for the first time as I revel in the thought of having a full half hour and go back to sleep.
6:30 a.m. The second alarm goes off. This I know is the real thing and I manage to throw my legs over the side of the bed. Due to a life-long habit of writing down my dreams, if a dream lingers I try to capture it on paper before I’m totally awake. Especially if it involves any graphic images, such as the recurring chat I’ve had overtime with a very cheeky Octopus on top of a very wavy ocean, which resulted in the "Inky" the Octopus Ring!
If there’s nothing to write about, I stumble downstairs to grind my Community Espresso Coffee beans. Caffeine in hand, I wander out to the porch to greet any new flowers and birds I might have been lucky enough to lure with my spiffy new bird feeder created by my long time pal ceramicist Debbie Levin. Since coming to New Orleans two years ago, I’ve actually managed to keep from killing several flowering plants which I take great pleasure in photographing, it’s part of the waking process a la nature.
7:30 a.m. Back to the kitchen where I whip up my fave Jay Robb Protein smoothie. I throw everything in it, berries, kale, spinach, and coconut water. Then I tune into my morning news on Democracy Now with the cucumber cool Amy Goodman. Speaking of cukes, I should try throwing a few of those in.
8:30 a.m. Adequately fueled with protein and caffeine, I head back up to my workroom where I can now safely sit for meditation without falling back to sleep. Although I’ve been practicing meditation off and on for a couple of decades, I’m a slow learner and can still only sit for 10 to 15 minutes daily. However, I know I do better in a group and have occasionally sat in with the New Orleans Insight Meditation Group. I’m just so relieved they call it "a practice" because I just keep plodding along just in case I get good enough to levitate!
9:00 a.m. Pop into the bath to perform my ablutions (I so seldom find the opportunity for that word). And then I set to perking up my face & hair with a wide variety of beauty products I receive each month from the inscrutable Birch Box. I love the surprise and being able to try out all sorts of products without having to buy it full size. I then stand in front of my closet til some piece of clothing calls out and I follow it’s lead til I’m dressed.
10-11 a.m. Three days a week I can be found at the stylish French Quarter shop Alquimie. It’s owned by the highly accomplished textile designer Kate Beck. The slow fashion, natural fiber, one of a kind clothing she creates and shows there is a perfect home for my own unconventional design work. Over time, my jewelry has taken many forms starting with paper mache pieces that I set with precious stones and pearl. I then taught myself metalsmithing, cutting, shaping, and polishing bronze and silver. And now I design the casted pieces which employ my great obsession, pearls! At the shop, I have the chance to work with folks from all over the globe and it’s often helpful selling directly than wholesaling to stores as I did in the past. In addition to selling my jewelry, I discovered another creative outlet, window design. And to that end, now and again, I’ll pop over to our neighbor Fifi Mahony's Wigs. They’ve been so kind in making sure the mannequins, "Carmen & Esmeralda" always sport an elegant "do."
The days that I don’t go into the shop are spent swanning around my workroom, splitting my time between designing and developing new projects. Of course, I spend heaps of time with marketing and administrative, but much of my supply buying is done in New York and Los Angeles, so most of that business activity is afternoon.
12:30 p.m. When the business activity is local, I like to get it in before lunch. And today I’m really excited to be meeting with the fantastic local freelance photographer Rolf Clarke to discuss plans for the slideshow to accompany the pearl lecture I’m fine tuning. I love nattering on about the beauty of pearls but also the importance of the sustainable nature of the industry, which must have pristine waters to produce those marvels. Other biz I might see to during this part of my morning (still morning to me) are my new ventures like the current hunt for a leather business to help with one of my newest projects, the embellishment of my vintage hand bag collection, and my repurposed plastic bag jewelry. They’re still in the experimental stages but I’m really fired up about the possibilities of leaning, in a big way, towards recycled fashion.
1:30 p.m. I love being fired up about current and new projects but it occurs to me…it is afternoon! And I have a pearl of an idea…a round of oysters would really hit the spot right now!!