I first met Alicia at a tradeshow called Capsule in Los Angeles. I fell in love with her jewelry right away and we got to talking. We ended up trading pieces, staying in touch, and meeting up at tradeshows over the years. Check out our interview with Alicia for her self-care tips and be sure to check out her amazing jewelry designs. - Amy Voloshin

Your pieces are beautiful! How did you get into jewelry making?

I've always liked adornment and took a jewelry class while at summer camp. After I learned basic wire wrapping skills, I began making earrings to sell to people when I returned to school. I had to be around eleven or so by then. I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer and the option of making a living from creating jewelry wasn't even presented to me, otherwise I wouldn't have taken the short detour into fashion like I did. It wasn't until college that I got back into jewelry and my love of metals.

What inspires your creations?

I'm inspired by nature mostly. I'll find some beautiful thing on the ground or while I'm out walking and really want to somehow make it into something I can wear. I also look to MesoAmerican ceremonial adornment for their amazing bold designs that were worn every day. I just love the shapes of so many of their pieces.

I also am inspired by the jewelry of the Victorian era, as there were so many things made during that time, jewelry wise, that tricked the eye. Mourning jewelry was at its height during this time, so many people would incorporate their loved one's hair into their everyday adornment. There is something about that sentimentality that I just love so much.

What’s your morning routine like?

My morning routine starts with me going to sleep. Ha, really! I'm a night owl and usually head to bed around 5 or 6 a.m. If I do head to bed earlier, I'll wake up about 4-5 hours later and just sit in my bed for a while. After I shower and brush my teeth, I'll either have tea or just jump straight into work, reading and answering company emails until around noon or so.

What’s your favorite spot in your house?

Omggg my favorite spot is hands down the living room. Since my jewelry studio is in my home, it's right off of the living room. When I get stressed, I work on the couch under my heated blanket. It's also where I usually eat my lunch or snacks and watch whatever is streaming these days. I'm super fortunate to have such a situation.

Coffee or Tea?

Tea all day! I'm super sensitive to caffeine, so when I do think I need it (I try not to consume it a lot, it makes me very jumpy!) I'll have it in the form of a black tea. My favorite black tea is Bigelow's black tea with toasted coconut almond bark. You have to try it!
Breakfast or skip it?

I'm so bad about this! I've never been a breakfast person, so I usually won't eat until afternoon or so, unless my stomach is really trying to tell me something. In that case I'll eat a bowl of grits with a bunch of different seasonings and butter.
Favorite recent read?

Oh how I miss reading! I have purchased so many books to read and have yet to get to them. Can I tell you what's on my list? "Wow, No Thank You" by Samantha Irby and "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" by Issa Rae, who I've been a fan of since her YouTube series of the same name. Other than that, I just read random blogs and listen to podcasts, as I tend to work more than relax these days.
Favorite way to exercise?

Well before all of this staying inside happened, I was working out daily at the Y. Now I try to do a walk on the lake, since I'm not far from it. I def need to get better about getting out.

Alicia wears the Bagheera Short Sleep Set in Indigo

Meal prep or just figure it out mid-day?

I would love to plan, but I usually just buy ingredients at the beginning of each week and figure out what I'll cook for dinner that evening. A favorite is Thai Red Curry Catfish. It's so easy to make (if you have the 15 ingredients!) and is even better the next day.
Full set pajamas or mix and match your bottoms with something else?

When I travel, a full set is fun to wear—it completes the "away" look. At home, I usually just wear a top and no pants because I get so hot at night!
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?

One guilty pleasure is watching a bunch of TikTok videos. I just love them and so many make me laugh, which is much needed these days. I also like looking up my horoscope and reading aloud to my plants, haa!
What do you do for self care?

I recently bought eucalyptus for my shower, does that count as self care? I don't go out to dinner or anything anymore, but do try to get a (very masked) mani pedi every month or so. Soon I hope to take a little break and hang out in downtown Chicago, away from the studio.
Favorite beauty product?

Hmmm, I love using my quartz gua sha tool to give myself face massages and to just loosen up all the tense muscles around my jawline. You should try it if you haven't!
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

One of my favorite things about myself is that although I'm a serious person, I try not to take things too seriously or too personal. This trait def helps on an interpersonal level, especially since I interact with so many different people about my work. Not every mean jab or comment is about you. Lots of people like to project and I always have to remember that.

Alicia wears the Bagheera Short Sleep Set in Indigo. Painting by Natalie Osborne

Do you have a nighttime beauty ritual?

Since I still go to my dentist in NYC and have no clue when I'll travel again, brushing my teeth is about it. I know, so sad! I do try to brush on some eyebrow serum from M.S. Beauty if I remember.
Slippers or barefoot?

Depending on how much I've been standing in the studio, I'll usually wear inside shoes (because no outside shoes indoors!) to help with my posture and back and overall health. If it's super late at night, I'll work barefoot.
Netflix / Amazon / Hulu? What are you watching and how?

I watch it all! I tend to not be able to stomach a lot of shows, so I fall back on Hulu and one of my favorite sitcoms ever, Living Single. If you have never seen it, you're missing out.
How much do you sleep?

I sleep about 4-5 hours every night, but lately I've been getting burned out and my body has been telling me to chill, so I'v been pushing for at least 6-7 hours of sleep when I can.
What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?

I used to stare into space for a long while before I would turn off my light, but now I check my phone (so bad!!) and once my head hits the pillow, I'm out. Club Dream here I come.

What can we expect next from Lingua Nigra?
Gah, I have so many ideas and so little time! I was supposed to expand a bit into more home goods. I currently sell small containers but wanted to finally make wall hangings and the like. I def need to carve out time to get into that for sure. I'll also have a few more pops of color in the form of crushed stones, so I'm pretty excited about where that will go as well.

I also have wanted to make a few greeting cards and tested out a few designs. I only do what I love and I love to draw bugs! So I made a cute series of cards with beetles and bugs like centipedes on them. I have a good friend who is an illustrator giving me tips on which paper to select, etc, so expect to see that hopefully next month! I would love to have Lingua Nigra be an almost one-stop shop for gifts and the like. I just need to find the time to do it all!
Did you enjoy this interview? You may also like our profile on Dora Cuenca or our Meet the Team:Summer Lovin' feature.

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