Beach Yoga Jewelry Interview

Tracey Kelley
Jewelry Designer Allan LaBerteaux

If you'd like a piece of yoga jewelry to reflect your dedication to the practice, Beach Yoga Jewelry might have what you're looking for.

For more than 30 years, designer Allan LaBerteaux of Beach Yoga Jewelry has created art. His love of nature, yoga, friends, and finding harmony in his environment all add to his inspirational jewelry pieces. From stunning detailed asana pendants and earrings to rings and bracelets with precious stones, LaBerteaux captures fluid movement and reflective peace in his work.

LoveToKnow Yoga asked LaBerteaux to share his artistic process and how his yoga practice influences his art.

Beach Yoga Jewelry Interview

All art is a personal journey, but it seems as though when someone creates jewelry, he or she seeks a deeper connection with the recipient. Do you find this to be true as well?

Yes, art does reflect a very personal journey. An artist is trying to communicate inner thoughts and emotions to a visible form. Choosing a piece of jewelry to wear is an extremely personal experience.

When I create jewelry, I'm creating a form that not only reflects me but, hopefully, reflects an emotion in the wearer as well. It's really a collaboration of sorts. Just as perfume partly assumes the identity of its wearer, when I see my jewelry being worn well, it tends to reflect the light of the person wearing it and it looks different than it did on the work bench. It makes it a fun experience.

You've said the inspiration for your yoga jewelry is simple: yoga with friends and the bounty of nature. Why do these elements affect your art so greatly?

I think most artists are trying to reflect the environment around them, whether it's in the abstract or the literal sense. Interaction in the natural environment combined with a daily While yoga practice has been an important part of the creative process for me for many years, I began to recognize that my practice had become more than the tool for opening creative flow but had become the source of inspiration itself, so I try to reflect that in my work.

Model Destry in Lotus

Jewelry As Sculpture

Your jewelry pieces are miniature sculptures, and the path to a finished piece is quite detailed. Please describe your process.This is a great question! I've always felt strongly that a good piece of jewelry is, in fact, a small piece of sculpture that we carry around with us. Like any piece of sculpture, no matter how abstract, it should tell a story or evoke an emotion.

Of course, jewelry has to be much smaller than sculpture, so it cannot hold the details that a large piece can. It has to become much more stylized to be wearable.

In my pieces that reflect the female form, they start from an actual person. A good friend comes to my studio, and I photograph her in a variety of asanas. I then sit down at my drawing board and draw a fully detailed view of asanas that I think may translate well to jewelry.

The Lotus pendant

I leave the drawing out on the drawing board, go do other things, and come back to "rediscover" it. This might take several days. During this time, I stop to erase, redraw, adjust, until I'm left with the essence of the form.

I then take the drawing to the jewelry bench and carve the figure by hand in jewelry modeling wax. Of course, once the process of converting the two-dimensional forms into a three-dimensional figure starts, many free form changes take place. I then use a lost wax method to cast the form into metal, polish, set stones, etc.

In the photos, Destry and I were sitting in Lotus posture and we talked about our Pranayama practice. In the yoga jewelry piece, I try to reflect the flow of her breath.

Gold waterdrop with moonstone

What precious stones do you like to use and why? I like earthy stones most. I personally wear a jade. I find I use moonstone quite often, as well as onyx. Fresh water pearls are a nice renewable stone that can be suspended within a piece to ad movement.

Favorite Poses to Use for Yoga Jewelry

Is there one particular yoga asana that you love to form out of gold or silver?

Silver Tree Pose with fresh water pearl

The Tree Pose Pendant is one of the first pieces of the Beach Yoga Jewelry line, so it holds a certain warm spot in my mind.

As the jewelry line progresses, I'm moving more to the outdoors to reflect the natural flow. This season I set out to create a series reflecting wind, water, and fire. Since wind cannot be seen, it was a challenge. But I'm happy with the piece I created that depicts the circular motion of bamboo blowing in a whirlwind.

As your yoga practice continues to mature, how does it affect your art? Well, my yoga practice is certainly maturing because, let's face it, none of us are getting any younger. Just as my yoga practice is becoming slower moving and meditational, I find that my art work is flowing more from the moment.

A Look to the Future

Any new projects you'd like to share?

Times of severe recession like we are experiencing now can be tough on the arts and artists. Some good things can come out of this though. Maybe some of us can't go out to eat or travel so much, but it's a great time to reflect on things that are more important. Time is precious, and I'm savoring my creative environment and working ahead to new jewelry design, but also following my dreams of larger scale sculpture, all of which will be unveiled soon on BeachYogaJewelry.com.

Silver wind pendant

More about Beach Yoga Jewelry

Additional LoveToKnow Resources

For more tips on selecting jewelery for yourself or as a gift, please visit LoveToKnow Jewelry.

~Tracey L. Kelley

Beach Yoga Jewelry Interview