In the Studio with Leo Black

“The main inspiration is always the same; I view adornment as a source of strength, compassion, and protection,” Leo notes of her approach. “It's fascinating how different cultures adorn themselves according to their own rituals and belief systems.”Introducing Leo Sachs-Michaels into the designer fold at Catbird was a long time coming. Throughout the development of her debut line, she has also been a part of our 219 Bedford Avenue crew. When Leo was ready to release Leo Black Primary Collection, we were ready to find it an early home.  

With a BFA from Pratt Institute focused in jewelry design and metalsmithing, Leo designs at the intersection of ritual, sustainability, and personal history. Her jewelry often conveys the feeling of a found talisman with considered imperfections. Egyptian burial objects, Catholic artifacts, and Tibetan ceremonial anklets are just three sources that have informed her recent work.

Leo took us inside her South Williamsburg studio, where she shapes brass, horn, bone, leather and gold with equal pleasure. 

"Growing up in the Catskill Mountains, I would take walks in the forest surrounding my childhood home, where I would collect bones and natural artifacts. I remember a time my mother helped me string a small animal spinal column I'd found onto a colorful shoelace. That was the first necklace I ever made."

"I dream of eventually living near Joshua Tree, having a studio out in the desert, and even a horse or two."
"The collection provides bold shapes and powerful animals symbols that I hope the wearer will gain power and bravery from wearing."

Leo Black Primary Collection is now available at and in our Williamsburg storefront. 


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