Meet Designer Michele Scholnick of Branch
For Michele Scholnick, the journey is just as important as the destination. She was on her way to a PhD in political science, took a few elective glass blowing, graphic design, and jewelry making art classes while at graduate school, and was hooked. She decided that creating wearable art was much more fun than political science.
She changed directions, and 10 years ago she created Branch, a collection of wearable art and home accessories in her Venice Beach studio. She liked the name because it is nature inspired, and a friend suggested that branches with flowers and leaves look like Mother Nature’s idea of jewelry.
Michele describes herself as a jewelry and home accessories designer and business entrepreneur. Her jewelry collections include earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings for women and men. She recently started designing beautiful bowls and vases for her home collection, which she calls The Vessels Collection.
Her jewelry and home designs are quite fluid; they seem as if they have motion. “My jewelry and home collections are minimal, organic, and mostly nature-inspired,” she said.While she embraces technology, each item in her jewelry and home accessories collections is crafted by hand in her studio. She works in gold and silver, and enjoys using diamonds and other stones. For her home collection, she also uses bronze.
Michele takes pride in her work. “The craftsmanship is equally as important as the design,” she said. “My designs are three dimensional and sculptural. They must look stunning and be able to take a beating. Jewelry often does. So, it’s important that it is well made.”
She often jokes that in addition to a few human employees, her staff includes June and Olive, her two rescue dogs. Her dogs greet visitors at her studio, and while she considers them family members, she has no qualms about putting them to work.