I just spoke with one of our Rio Grande Winter Workshop Series participants, Dana Schneider. And it’s safe to say, in the jewelry industry, she should be a household name. Her name is on the minds of every costume designer in the L.A. film scene and beyond. After all, she’s the jewelry designer who created:
- Jennifer Lawrence’s mockingjay pin and Peeta’s locket in Catching Fire
- Hugh Jackman’s belt buckle in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past
- Jewelry for Halle Berry’s upcoming made for television series (still under wraps)
- Pieces appearing in Robocop, in theaters next month
- Jewelry in Mortal Instruments
- Pieces for Mila Kounis in the upcoming Jupiter Ascending
- The feather-and-bullet necklace and other adornments in Terminator Salvation
- Jewelry in Transformers 2, 3, 5, Wolverine, The Wolverine, to name a few of that series
- and much, much more. In fact, about 50 more.
She first knew she wanted to be a jewelry designer for the movies when she was 9 years old. She saw Ringo Starr’s ring in HELP and couldn’t stop thinking about it. She asked her father to make it with her; at that pivotal moment, she decided, I want to be a jeweler for the movies. Years later, Dana sat in a movie theater and saw the trailer for The Matrix. She said to herself, I want to do this, even if it means just making the cuff links for The Matrix sequel. Little did she know that she would make the cuff links for Agent Smith and then some for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolution.
How did she do it? Dana moved to Los Angeles in 1999 and in a matter of months, got her portfolio in front of the eyes of various costume designers. The rest, as they say, is history. It feeds her passion: “You can make dragons and armor and articulated rings. There’s always a new technique to learn and new materials to work with too.” Take a look at her website, Dana Schneider Jewelry, to see the Hollywood designs she’s created for many films, not to mention musicians Pink and Marilyn Manson as well.
Dana is a self-taught jeweler. She’s worked at her wooden kitchen table for years and told us that she purchases all of her materials and tools from Rio Grande. Her favorite tool is her flex shaft, which is also the first tool she ever bought from Rio Grande. When I asked her which items she would be purchasing during Winter Workshop, she listed a jeweler’s bench (no more kitchen table) and a Foredom Quick Change Handpiece. Her main technique is carving, and she told me, “All I use is my flex shaft.”
Her advice? “Learn your equipment and tools. Make mistakes.” And, with a knowing smile, “You have to put your time in.”
You never know who you’re going to meet at our Winter Workshop! Check back in here at The Studio for our next update on Wednesday, and don’t forget to leave your comments here for all to read.