Manhattan’s smallest shop owner, artist and jewelry designer Laura Lobdell, packs enormous style into her tiny slice of Greenwich Village. Everything about the shop begs for a double take. First, there’s the curious phase, “I love you more than macaroni and champagne” that’s scrolled in fanciful letters on the pavement leading to the door, all surrounded with colorful blooms in blue and white stripped flowerpots that evoke a Parisian street. Actually, the details are no accident, since the well-traveled designer considers the City of Lights among her most beloved getaways.
Once inside, you’ll discover Lobdell’s unique line of jewelry, pieces so personal that you’ll immediately want to create a one-of-a-kind keepsake. What stands out, other than her knack for fine craftsmanship, is the literal interpretation of the found objects she casts into precious metals. A favorite item is her line of Free Bird celebration “Champers” rings (pictured, from $295) that are cast from the metal tops of champagne bottles. “They make great unisex gifts for graduations and other accomplishments and they are easily engraved with special messages, dates, and other information that makes them truly personal,” Lobdell says.
The “You’re My Match” pendant, ring, and cross set (pictured)—made from a discarded cigarette punctured by a matchstick—is unusual and edgy and yet somehow perfect for someone you know and love. There’s a flattened beer bottle cap cast in sterling silver, found button bracelets, $39, the “Born on the Guest List Cuff,” and the “Six-pack” necklace that features six sterling silver pull-tabs. We were completely charmed by the sterling cast of a paper matchbook (pictured) that can be engraved with a telephone number as well as the silver guitar pick pendant, $150.
Part nostalgic, but mostly endearing, Lobdell has something for everyone, including the “Bubbles Royale” Collection for new brides and moms-to-be who love her take on the common practice of blowing soap bubbles at weddings and showers—a life-sized wand encrusted with rhinestones, aquamarine stones, or pink sapphires, and packaged with a bottle of bubbles that says, “Never stop playing.”
But Lobdell doesn’t only work with metal; she also has a love of silk fabrics—some of which she hand paints before designing the gorgeously dyed fabrics into hand knotted ropes embellished with pearls and precious stones. The result is a perfect warm-weather strand in colors like persimmon and midnight that can effortlessly adorn your neck, wrist, waist, or hair or even worn in layers. Another earlier design in fabric is Lobdell’s Armicitia (“to bind by friendship”) Collection. The lovely fabric bracelets are hand stitched and inspired by a trip to Nepal.
Lobdell’s love for traveling is so enthusiastic, in fact, that she designed a nail polish that was inspired by the deep blue enameled doors and shop windows of Paris. The result is a sexy shade of blue that is as restless as it is laid back—the kind of color that could rock equally well at a board meeting or an all-night dance party. Lobdell created the color as an extension of her jewelry line—a great idea in and of itself—and it’s available free with purchases (or $19 on its own). Come by and say hello to Lobdell’s cute “guard” dog, Xiao, and then return for a special evening on May 4 when she is hosting a crafting event with the popular bistro next door, bobo, that combines jewelry making and pasta.