Explore Annie Costello Brown’s Corner of L.A., Mt. Washington

You ready to soak up the sun?

One Los Angeles ‘hood that should most definitely be on your radar: Mt. Washington. “In the early 1900s, it was a getaway for people living in Downtown L.A. and Echo Park—two of the original neighborhoods in the city,” says Annie Costello Brown, the crazy-talented jewelry whiz who’s all about her increasingly hip (but still serene!) part of town. Just check out its charms. —alisha prakash

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“My son Dion and I are in the garden at the Self Realization Fellowship, which was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. We’re on the top of Mt. Washington. It has beautiful places to sit and meditate or just enjoy the view. We do a lot of walking here, especially on the trails. We often start or end here because we live nearby.”

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“Here I am soaking up the sun at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which was opened by Charles Fletcher Lummis in 1907. Lummis walked from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in 1884 and collected surveys, tales, and artifacts of the Native Americans—many of which still reside in the museum’s research library. It’s a place to come and hang out and get a great sense of the older ways. There’s an amazing access tunnel from below that generations of Angelenos have taken up into the museum. Right down the hill is the Gold Line Metro, which speeds you to pretty much any part of Los Angeles. We like to ride to South Pasadena Farmers’ Market, North Hollywood Arts District, MOCA, and Exposition Park. No, you don’t need a car to get around this town.”

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“This is me looking out at downtown L.A. from atop Radio Tower Hill in Lincoln Heights. The view here lets you see all the way to Long Beach and the Santa Monica Bay, with the city spread before you in thousands of shapes. There’s a bunch of funky vernacular architecture up here.

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“At the bottom of Mt. Washington is La Tropicana Market on Monte Vista. Inside, there is a sandwich counter called Monte 52, which is one of my favorite spots to grab some food, like the yummiest $5 fried chicken sandwiches with homemade pickles. Just around the corner on Avenue 56 is Good Girl Dinette, which is Vietnamese food that falls within the farm-to-table sphere. My friends run Avalon Vintage next door to Good Girl Dinette, and there’s always something cool to find. Last time I was there, I nabbed a pair of Romeo Gigli linen trousers.”

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“Mt. Washington and Northeast L.A.’s colors inspire. Here’s a burnt orange house with a gigantic fuchsia bougainvillea up against it and a mustard yellow wall with sculptural cacti all around—it’s total sun-bleached California post-modernism.”

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“We stopped by this wall of yellow flowers in Montecito Heights. Across from where I am standing, a couple of old hippies were blocking the road with their old VW bug and were trying to figure out what to do with a downed phone line.”

Annie made some studs perfect for a day hangin’ in her hood—see ‘em now.

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Notes

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Get the Deets on Annie Costello Brown’s Inspiration Boards

There’s a ton of thought that goes into these puppies—and flows from them.

“I have a set of about four or five rotating boards that have different grouped themes on them,” says Annie Costello Brown, an L.A.-based jewelry designer who’s the queen of understated. “They’re just a way to get the ball rolling and get inspired. It’s less about being literal and more about getting the essence of something—about stealing an emotional quality.” Here, three themes that are really speaking to Annie right now. —alisha prakash

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“One of my favorite artists since childhood is Hans Arp. These are from a book—a monograph of his work called Arp from Rizzoli. He’s using negative space in a really genius way. It makes me think about what I’m making—how am I using the negative space? What is the proportion? How is the proportion affecting how this works as a design? Those are things every designer should be thinking about, and I think he does it really well.”

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“The sandals are Indonesian and from a book called Trading Style. The packaging is Japanese and from a book called How to Wrap Five Eggs. The hat is from a craft book I found at the library. They’re all things that were made with materials that were at-hand at the time and part of the natural surroundings of the people who made them. I like the idea that even if you don’t have a lot of money or access to different materials or manufacturing capabilities, with your creativity, you can take the things you have and try and use them in a creative way.”

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Tina Chow was a rad jewelry designer. I like women who have an androgynous or understated style. I think Tina’s a good example of that. Herb Ritts took this picture. I just think she’s really beautiful. I would aspire to have someone like her wear my stuff.”

Annie made some inspired little gold studs that you’ve gotta see.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

1 note

Get the Deets on Annie Costello Brown’s Inspiration Boards

There’s a ton of thought that goes into these puppies—and flows from them.

“I have a set of about four or five rotating boards that have different grouped themes on them,” says Annie Costello Brown, an L.A.-based jewelry designer who’s the queen of understated. “They’re just a way to get the ball rolling and get inspired. It’s less about being literal and more about getting the essence of something—about stealing an emotional quality.” Here, three themes that are really speaking to Annie right now. —alisha prakash

image

“One of my favorite artists since childhood is Hans Arp. These are from a book—a monograph of his work called Arp from Rizzoli. He’s using negative space in a really genius way. It makes me think about what I’m making—how am I using the negative space? What is the proportion? How is the proportion affecting how this works as a design? Those are things every designer should be thinking about, and I think he does it really well.”

image

“The sandals are Indonesian and from a book called Trading Style. The packaging is Japanese and from a book called How to Wrap Five Eggs. The hat is from a craft book I found at the library. They’re all things that were made with materials that were at-hand at the time and part of the natural surroundings of the people who made them. I like the idea that even if you don’t have a lot of money or access to different materials or manufacturing capabilities, with your creativity, you can take the things you have and try and use them in a creative way.”

image

Tina Chow was a rad jewelry designer. I like women who have an androgynous or understated style. I think Tina’s a good example of that. Herb Ritts took this picture. I just think she’s really beautiful. I would aspire to have someone like her wear my stuff.”

Get Annie’s edition now! This silver cuff suits any mood (board).

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

2 notes

In The Studio With Annie Costello Brown

Hope you’re ready to see where the magic happens.

image

Come on in…

Most people use their garages for storage—you know, old bikes, barbecue grills and, er, vehicles. But not Annie Costello Brown, the quirky-chic designer behind the cultish line of brass-flecked belts and turquoise-and-shell necklaces. Her studio: a converted two-car garage with skylights that was renovated by its painter landlord awhile back. Below, Annie takes us inside the space and gives us a look at what goes down there. —alisha prakash

image

“This is Amy, Kate, and I working at the assembling table. This is where we put together the jewelry and belts. We do the polishing and leather grinding outside.”

image

“Some sketches, patterns, and leather samples hang on the wall along with our studio mirror. That’s Kate working on assembly. ACB jewelry is made by hand here in Los Angeles. We usually have two to four people working assembly throughout the year.”

image

“This is part of a bookshelf in the nearby sunroom. The text taped to the shelf is an excerpt from an article on ornamentation from an old nineties issue of Flash Art. The collage above the text is something my son and I ‘collaborated’ on.”

image

“This is the leather processing bench and metals polishing bench. This is where we grind the edges of the leather so it can stay raw and have a softer edge. It’s also where we polish some of our finished jewelry pieces. It’s nice to work amidst the trees with views of downtown L.A.”

image

“Some of the tools we use in the studio…”

image

“I think I’ve checked out every craft book from the Los Angeles Public Library.”

image

“Amy Jo grinding some belt leather.”

image

“Here’s a page from one of my sketchbooks. 99.9% of my ideas never get made, but I’m always looking through my notebooks to steal from myself. I do a lot of sketching. If I have an idea while I’m doing something else, I have to sketch it quickly so I remember it. I have baskets and boxes of half-baked ideas.”

Get Annie’s latest edition: her hit mini zigzag cuff in SILVER!

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

6 notes

ACB Crafts Her First Of a Kind Edition

Hello, sunshine.

“I’m process-oriented—not very conceptual. I like to play around with things and see what happens,” says Annie Costello Brown of the chill-but-sophisticated accessories line of the same name. “I don’t do sketches and send them to a factory—we do everything here.” What is everything exactly? Take a look at the processes involved in creating her inaugural leather-on-leather (and radder-than-rad) Of a Kind cuff. —alisha prakash

image

“We use vegetable-tanned leather for our tan belts and bracelets. We often do the stripping ourselves, and we used a hand-held wood leather stripper set at 3/8 an inch for this cuff.”

image

“We pick the best, most compact leather from the strips to use in the cuffs. Leather is really amazing to work with because it’s so pliable. It also ages in a cool way. It forms to the body, so it automatically starts to retain the history of its wearer.”

image

“I then take the strips downtown to my die-maker’s studio and use his clicker press to punch out the tips of the cuff. Back at the studio, we grind the new ends to soften the edges and then treat the leather with beeswax oil so it doesn’t get dried out.”

image

“Then, we hand-cut strips of yellow leather to weave onto the cuff. Most leather jewelry is rocker, hippie, or equestrian, and what I’m trying to do is take all of those ideas and do something new with them. Some of the things I do with leather are tailored and minimal, but other things are complex—braided and woven with a lot of texture. I try to make it look fresh.”

image

“I tumble the solid brass buckles to remove their original coating so that I can redo the finish myself, usually by darkening and then lightening and tumbling again for a matte shine.”

image

“Then, we wrap the strips onto the cuff. I try and use one shape in as many different ways as I can. With this shape, by adding another strip of leather and weaving it like as basket, it gives it a collage-y feeling. It’s just a process of playing around with things until I think it looks good.”

image

“And voila! I just want everything I create to be my own original thing.”

Get Annie’s all-metal third edition NOW. Do it!

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

8 notes

In The Studio With Annie Costello Brown

Hope you’re ready to see where the magic happens.

image

Come on in…

Most people use their garages for storage—you know, old bikes, barbecue grills and, er, vehicles. But not Annie Costello Brown, the quirky-chic designer behind the cultish line of brass-flecked belts and turquoise-and-shell necklaces. Her studio: a converted two-car garage with skylights that was renovated by its painter landlord awhile back. Below, Annie takes us inside the space and gives us a look at what goes down there. —alisha prakash

image

“This is Amy, Kate, and I working at the assembling table. This is where we put together the jewelry and belts. We do the polishing and leather grinding outside.”

image

“Some sketches, patterns, and leather samples hang on the wall along with our studio mirror. That’s Kate working on assembly. ACB jewelry is made by hand here in Los Angeles. We usually have two to four people working assembly throughout the year.”

image

“This is part of a bookshelf in the nearby sunroom. The text taped to the shelf is an excerpt from an article on ornamentation from an old nineties issue of Flash Art. The collage above the text is something my son and I ‘collaborated’ on.”

image

“This is the leather processing bench and metals polishing bench. This is where we grind the edges of the leather so it can stay raw and have a softer edge. It’s also where we polish some of our finished jewelry pieces. It’s nice to work amidst the trees with views of downtown L.A.”

image

“Some of the tools we use in the studio…”

image

“I think I’ve checked out every craft book from the Los Angeles Public Library.”

image

“Amy Jo grinding some belt leather.”

image

“Here’s a page from one of my sketchbooks. 99.9% of my ideas never get made, but I’m always looking through my notebooks to steal from myself. I do a lot of sketching. If I have an idea while I’m doing something else, I have to sketch it quickly so I remember it. I have baskets and boxes of half-baked ideas.”

Annie’s third edition is not to be missed. It’s some rosy goodness, that’s for sure.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

16 notes

ACB Crafts Her First Of a Kind Edition

Hello, sunshine.

“I’m process-oriented—not very conceptual. I like to play around with things and see what happens,” says Annie Costello Brown of the chill-but-sophisticated accessories line of the same name. “I don’t do sketches and send them to a factory—we do everything here.” What is everything exactly? Take a look at the processes involved in creating her inaugural leather-on-leather (and radder-than-rad) Of a Kind cuff. —alisha prakash

image

“We use vegetable-tanned leather for our tan belts and bracelets. We often do the stripping ourselves, and we used a hand-held wood leather stripper set at 3/8 an inch for this cuff.”

image

“We pick the best, most compact leather from the strips to use in the cuffs. Leather is really amazing to work with because it’s so pliable. It also ages in a cool way. It forms to the body, so it automatically starts to retain the history of its wearer.”

image

“I then take the strips downtown to my die-maker’s studio and use his clicker press to punch out the tips of the cuff. Back at the studio, we grind the new ends to soften the edges and then treat the leather with beeswax oil so it doesn’t get dried out.”

image

“Then, we hand-cut strips of yellow leather to weave onto the cuff. Most leather jewelry is rocker, hippie, or equestrian, and what I’m trying to do is take all of those ideas and do something new with them. Some of the things I do with leather are tailored and minimal, but other things are complex—braided and woven with a lot of texture. I try to make it look fresh.”

image

“I tumble the solid brass buckles to remove their original coating so that I can redo the finish myself, usually by darkening and then lightening and tumbling again for a matte shine.”

image

“Then, we wrap the strips onto the cuff. I try and use one shape in as many different ways as I can. With this shape, by adding another strip of leather and weaving it like as basket, it gives it a collage-y feeling. It’s just a process of playing around with things until I think it looks good.”

image

“And voila! I just want everything I create to be my own original thing.”

Annie’s second edition is here! This super-sharp cuff is ready for anything.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

6 notes

In The Studio With Annie Costello Brown

Hope you’re ready to see where the magic happens.

image

Come on in…

Most people use their garages for storage—you know, old bikes, barbecue grills and, er, vehicles. But not Annie Costello Brown, the quirky-chic designer behind the cultish line of brass-flecked belts and turquoise-and-shell necklaces. Her studio: a converted two-car garage with skylights that was renovated by its painter landlord awhile back. Below, Annie takes us inside the space and gives us a look at what goes down there. —alisha prakash

image

“This is Amy, Kate, and I working at the assembling table. This is where we put together the jewelry and belts. We do the polishing and leather grinding outside.”

image

“Some sketches, patterns, and leather samples hang on the wall along with our studio mirror. That’s Kate working on assembly. ACB jewelry is made by hand here in Los Angeles. We usually have two to four people working assembly throughout the year.”

image

“This is part of a bookshelf in the nearby sunroom. The text taped to the shelf is an excerpt from an article on ornamentation from an old nineties issue of Flash Art. The collage above the text is something my son and I ‘collaborated’ on.”

image

“This is the leather processing bench and metals polishing bench. This is where we grind the edges of the leather so it can stay raw and have a softer edge. It’s also where we polish some of our finished jewelry pieces. It’s nice to work amidst the trees with views of downtown L.A.”

image

“Some of the tools we use in the studio…”

image

“I think I’ve checked out every craft book from the Los Angeles Public Library.”

image

“Amy Jo grinding some belt leather.”

image

“Here’s a page from one of my sketchbooks. 99.9% of my ideas never get made, but I’m always looking through my notebooks to steal from myself. I do a lot of sketching. If I have an idea while I’m doing something else, I have to sketch it quickly so I remember it. I have baskets and boxes of half-baked ideas.”

Get your paws on Annie’s second edition now. This slim cuff is the epitome of cool.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

8 notes

ACB Crafts Her Of a Kind Cuff

Hello, sunshine.

“I’m process-oriented—not very conceptual. I like to play around with things and see what happens,” says Annie Costello Brown of the chill-but-sophisticated accessories line ACB. “I don’t do sketches and send them to a factory—we do everything here.” What is everything exactly? Take a look at the processes involved in creating her leather-on-leather (and radder-than-rad) Of a Kind cuff. —alisha prakash

Feeling it? Well, you can score Annie’s bracelet right here, right now. Just 35 of them!

image

“We use vegetable-tanned leather for our tan belts and bracelets. We often do the stripping ourselves, and we used a hand-held wood leather stripper set at 3/8 an inch for this cuff.”

image

“We pick the best, most compact leather from the strips to use in the cuffs. Leather is really amazing to work with because it’s so pliable. It also ages in a cool way. It forms to the body, so it automatically starts to retain the history of its wearer.”

image

“I then take the strips downtown to my die-maker’s studio and use his clicker press to punch out the tips of the cuff. Back at the studio, we grind the new ends to soften the edges and then treat the leather with beeswax oil so it doesn’t get dried out.”

image

“Then, we hand-cut strips of yellow leather to weave onto the cuff. Most leather jewelry is rocker, hippie, or equestrian, and what I’m trying to do is take all of those ideas and do something new with them. Some of the things I do with leather are tailored and minimal, but other things are complex—braided and woven with a lot of texture. I try to make it look fresh.”

image

“I tumble the solid brass buckles to remove their original coating so that I can redo the finish myself, usually by darkening and then lightening and tumbling again for a matte shine.”

image

“Then, we wrap the strips onto the cuff. I try and use one shape in as many different ways as I can. With this shape, by adding another strip of leather and weaving it like as basket, it gives it a collage-y feeling. It’s just a process of playing around with things until I think it looks good.”

image

“And voila! I just want everything I create to be my own original thing.”

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

13 notes

In The Studio With Annie Costello Brown

Hope you’re ready to see where the magic happens.

image

Come on in…

Most people use their garages for storage—you know, old bikes, barbecue grills and, er, vehicles. But not Annie Costello Brown, the quirky-chic designer behind ACB, the cultish line of brass-flecked belts and turquoise-and-shell necklaces. Her studio: a converted two-car garage with skylights that was renovated by its painter landlord awhile back. Below, Annie takes us inside the space and gives us a look at what goes down there. —alisha prakash

image

“This is Amy, Kate, and I working at the assembling table. This is where we put together the jewelry and belts. We do the polishing and leather grinding outside.”

image

“Some sketches, patterns, and leather samples hang on the wall along with our studio mirror. That’s Kate working on assembly. ACB jewelry is made by hand here in Los Angeles. We usually have two to four people working assembly throughout the year.”

image

“This is part of a bookshelf in the nearby sunroom. The text taped to the shelf is an excerpt from an article on ornamentation from an old nineties issue of Flash Art. The collage above the text is something my son and I ‘collaborated’ on.”

image

“This is the leather processing bench and metals polishing bench. This is where we grind the edges of the leather so it can stay raw and have a softer edge. It’s also where we polish some of our finished jewelry pieces. It’s nice to work amidst the trees with views of downtown L.A.”

image

“Some of the tools we use in the studio…”

image

“I think I’ve checked out every craft book from the Los Angeles Public Library.”

image

“Amy Jo grinding some belt leather.”

image

“Here’s a page from one of my sketchbooks. 99.9% of my ideas never get made, but I’m always looking through my notebooks to steal from myself. I do a lot of sketching. If I have an idea while I’m doing something else, I have to sketch it quickly so I remember it. I have baskets and boxes of half-baked ideas.”

Annie’s edition hits tomorrow! Get on our email list so you don’t miss is.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

6 notes