What do you get the shieldmaiden or sassenach who has everything? You don’t have to look any further than RockLove Jewelry, a New York-based company that incorporates history & rock & television into gorgeous hand-cast pieces just waiting to be shown off to the world. Recently released collections have included officially licensed pieces inspired by the History Channel’s Vikings, and Outlander, whose second season premieres on Saturday, April 9th on Starz.
Geeks Of Doom got the chance to interview Allison Hourcade, designer and the “rock” behind RockLove.
Check out the interview below.
Geeks Of Doom: How did this awesome career begin?
Allison Hourcade: As a pre-teen, I reenacted in Renaissance Faires with my family on weekends, playing celtic and gypsy violin as a lane musician. Later, when I grew enough hips, I studied belly dance and joined a fire troupe. In college, I was a part of various dance and circus ensembles, and in that performance scene, “Rock Loves” were artists that were inspired to collaborate together. In homage to the RockLove name, when I starting the jewelry brand, I teamed up with various artists, authors, and bands to create custom merchandise which helped them fund their creative pursuits.
Geeks Of Doom: How does the collaboration happen with such shows as Vikings and Outlander? Once you get the license, who gives input as to the designs?
Allison Hourcade: Unbeknownst to me, Vikings Season 1 was filming as I was creating my own Viking jewelry collection inspired by the Cuerdale Hoard housed in the British Museum. Carried in the museum’s gift shop, History Channel was impressed by the authenticity and reached out to RockLove to discuss adding some of the line to their webstore. Outlander was a similar experience – the show is lush and historically accurate, and the team was looking for a jewelry designer that could uphold that sentiment.
Geeks Of Doom: Besides your German Shepherds, who makes up your team? Do you take on apprentices as you were apprenticed?
Allison Hourcade: Yes, Adara and Onyx are our official UPS Alert Team. Besides that is me, my lead production assistant Gabriella, and a few additional jewelers that help when we have an influx beyond our capabilities. Additionally we have various specialty individuals (laser engraver, enameler, CAD, casters) and I’m proud to say that every single one of them is an independent artist or mom & pop team. Every person involved in RockLove is a long-time friend and as the business grows, we all grow together.
Geeks Of Doom: If you were not designing jewelry, you would be… Why?
Allison Hourcade: There is life beyond setting stones, responding to customer emails, and hand-polishing a mountain of silver!? Just kidding. When I emerge from the studio for longer than a day, I love to travel and camp in the mountains. The rest of my free moments are buried in a book or indulging in a fandom marathon. Preston & Child’s Diogenes Trilogy and Daredevil Season 2 are currently on the docket.
Geeks Of Doom: What other shows would you love to design pieces for (can be any show during any time period)?
Allison Hourcade: I’m very close to collaborating with my very favorite TV series… but I don’t want to jinx it! Beyond that, if I had my druthers, I would work on something based on historically accurate Ancient Egypt!
Geeks Of Doom: How long does it take to create a piece from start to finish usually (of average complexity)?
Allison Hourcade: Oof, that depends on if it’s licensed merchandise or not. If it’s an Allison piece, and I’m free to sketch and carve it myself, then it’s maybe a month from idea to sample. If it’s for a property, especially a big name studio, it can take months to sort through the maze of approvals and legal red tape. But, that’s part of the challenge – designing a pitch that is so fabulous, everyone involved gives it the green-light!
Geeks Of Doom: What is the “rock” behind RockLove?
Allison Hourcade: Technically the name RockLove comes from a term in the performance scene – when two artists are inspired by one another and want to collaborate together, they are “rock loves.” Since the inception of the brand, I have had the pleasure to create jewelry lines with some of my favorite musicians, authors, and designers.
But then again, I do have a horrible addition to 80’s classic rock, shaggy hair, and black leather. I’ll play Foreigner, Journey, Bon Jovi, Joan Jett… and we make up new words that have to do with jewelry production. I run around singing my bastardized version of “Sister Christian”: “Tumblin’ – all day long and night! Til we get it right!”
But I make it up with Top 40’s Friday dance party”¦ my Drake impression is on point.