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Courtesy of Grace Lee.
Courtesy of Phillips.
Courtesy of Grace Lee.
Left to right: Madalena Horta e Costa, Alexander Payne, Marcus McDonald, Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein, courtesy of Phillips.
Courtesy of Grace Lee.
Courtesy of Phillips.
Courtesy of Phillips.
Portrait of Cory Imig; courtesy of SCAD.
Lifestyle

By Encouraging Others, Designer Grace Lee Finds Inspiration

By Eliza Jordan

June 29, 2020

The jewelry designer Grace Lee’s creations are meticulously made in Los Angeles. Over the past few months, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lee has dedicated a portion of her sales to No Kid Hungry.

From California a few weeks ago, Lee spoke with Whitewall about staying inspired, what homeschooling two daughters is like, and how she’s designing digitally.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Grace Lee.

WHITEWALL: How are you doing?

GRACE LEE: In general, I am doing well. I am a homebody, so I enjoy being home with my family. I think the whole world learned together through COVID-19 not to take anything for granted. A simple pleasure of going to the grocery store and taking your time picking the perfect avocado or walking your dog around the block without having to cover half of your face.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Phillips.

I do miss going into our studio, meeting with clients in-person, and enjoying meals with friends and family at local restaurants. We are very lucky as our two daughters’ school quickly came up with a Zoom curriculum and they are in Zoom school from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. each day. I am enjoying the forced slowed pace. It seems most evident in the morning when we are not rushed to get out of the house.

By 8:30 a.m., we are all checked into our own devices. But by early afternoon we are able to enjoy a family bike ride in our neighborhood to break from our screens. I am thankful for the slow pace and am trying to savor this special time with our children.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Grace Lee.

WW: What are you listening to, reading, watching, or listening to?

GL: I typically don’t watch much television, but we have been sharing our favorite movies with our girls. Some of our top picks have been Rudy, Remember the Titans, Little Women, and Togo. I recently watched “The Last Dance” about basketball legend Michael Jordan. Personally, I am not athletic in any way, shape, or form, but I enjoyed it very much. While there were many amazing shots and dunks, my favorite scene was when he won his first championship after his father had passed.

Open Gallery

Left to right: Madalena Horta e Costa, Alexander Payne, Marcus McDonald, Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein, courtesy of Phillips.

The final game happened to fall on Father’s Day and after he won Michael Jordan showed a very different side of him as he sobbed on the floor missing his late father. His words after winning, “This is for daddy. I am very happy for him.” This scene shows a softer side of MJ but also reminded me of my late mother.

One of my favorite books is Shoe Dog—the story of Nike. It tells the story of how Nike became the company and brand we know today. It was not always uphill, but it is a story of perseverance and persistence. In general, the theme seems to be inspirational reads and shows in our house.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Grace Lee.

WW: How are you staying connected?

GL: I try to check in on friends and family daily via calls, texts, and Zoom. As a family, we are making care packages for friends that we know are struggling. They will consist of necessities like face masks, fun elements like toys and candy, but most importantly letters and jokes that our girls draw and create. I am also doing Zoom custom engagement ring consultations. It is so great to be able to speak to a face even if through a screen.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Phillips.

WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?

GL: I am always designing and sketching new designs. While we currently cannot produce, I am getting ready so that we can hit the ground running when we are able to produce again.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Phillips.

WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?

GL: I am inspired by all of the people around me that are pressing forward and making it work. I don’t think you need to look far for inspiration. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle right now. Be kind. Say thank you. Say hello from behind your masks. I think when you encourage others, you find hope and inspiration for yourself.

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