Copper in the Arts

February 2016

Sonia and Sergio Lub: A Family Love Affair with Copper

By Courtney H. Diener-Stokes

sonia and sergio lub bracelet collaborationDesigns by Sonia with her father, Sergio Lub.

Photograph courtesy Sonia Lub.

Jewelry designer, world traveler and peace ambassador, Sonia Lub, has felt a special connection to copper her whole life.

“I have been wearing  a copper bracelet since the day I was born, before my parents brought me home from the hospital,” Sonia says. “Copper has always been a big part of my life.”

As the daughter of jewelry design veteran, Sergio Lub, working with copper in her professional life was a natural transition for Sonia. Whether Sonia is collaborating with her father on designs or making a name for herself with her own line, copper continues to play a role in her personal life.

“For me it’s a very soothing element. I feel very balanced when I wear it,” she says, adding that she wears the metal daily.

She resides at her family’s ranch in the vineyards of Napa Valley, California, inspired by the nature that surrounds her.

“We grow our own food and we raise bees and we have all our studios, and this is where I create my art,” she says.

In 2009, she established her own line, Sonia Lub. In 2014, she expanded and began collaborating with her father, Sergio Lub, who began working with copper in 1969. Today, The Sergio Lub collection is an iconic legacy brand featuring more than one hundred different designs, all produced by hand at their hot studio in Marin County, California.

“The handful of designs she championed are among our best sellers today, so I’m encouraging her to keep creating, “ Sergio says of the collaboration.

Sonia isn’t the only family member who works with the business.

“I come from a very close family, so it is natural for me to make ours, truly, a family business,” Sergio says. “My wife, Gaye, does the graphics, our daughter, Sonia, does design and marketing, our son Nikolas does production, our niece Stella does the books and our nephew, Devin, is the webmaster.”

Sonia describes how her artistic contributions, representing the newest additions to her father’s line, have been a departure from what one might expect from a Sergio Lub design.

“Rather than the traditional, more architectural pieces, I added more feminine and whimsical pieces,” she says. “The designs I created are inspired by movement and sort of the ebb and flow of elements.

Originally on course to become an architect, which explains some of his design influence, Sergio realized when growing up in Buenos Aires that his passion for creativity could be better expressed as a jewelry designer. With an access to an abundance of silver, Sergio’s introduction to copper began when he started adding copper to his work to add color.

“That is when I discovered the red metal and how friendly it is,” Sergio says. “Soon I was a copper fan and it became my primary metal. That was 46 years ago and our love affair is still strong. I feel more at ease and, therefore, more creative working with copper than with any other metal.”

Inheriting an ease with working with copper, Sonia has a particular fondness for two pieces she added to her father’s line called ‘Copper Tide’ and ‘High Tide’.

Sonia Lub working in her studio.Sonia Lub works in her studio in Napa Valley, California.

Photograph courtesy of Sonia Lub. 

“Those are two I especially love and the first I designed,” she says. “They are about the movement of the waves and the ebb and flow of the natural tides.”

‘Embrace’ was Sonia and Sergio’s very first collaborative design.

“This one was inspired by the movement and dynamic of relationships,” she says.

The ‘Courage’ bracelet they created is to represent the virtues of the mind.

“We recently had Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we knew we wanted to do something where we offered our courage bracelet and donated fifty percent of sales to breast cancer awareness,” Sonia says.

When it comes to designs for her own line, Sonia is most attracted to stones, feathers and found objects from her travels, representing some of the many other mediums she works with aside from copper.

“I was ahead of a very popular fashion trend where I was making these feather earrings – it became this huge craze and I had a couple of celebrities put my earrings on,” she says. “My work tends to appeal to a very artistic crowd.”

Despite counting Steven Tyler among her customers who wore her feather earrings, she stopped producing them when the demand got so high and Sonia recognized ethical issues with obtaining the quantity of feathers needed.

“I feel I have a social and moral responsibility to be conscious of the elements that I’m using and this earth we live on,” she says.

Her world travels have had an impact on her work.  

“My parents have taken my brother and I traveling our entire life,” she says, adding Central and South America were their primary destinations. “They said if we want to understand and know this world, we have to go out and see it. I have been to six continents and have spent at least a few months on almost every one.”

Following in her father’s footsteps, the majority of Sergio’s metal working techniques, much of them ancient, were obtained through his research when traveling.

“While traveling around the world I always made a point of meeting colleagues,” Sergio says. “It is not a problem if we do not share a common language, I just need to show some of my work for them to invite me in and show me their pieces.  Often we end up in their shops doing demonstrations for each other.”

As for Sonia’s travels independent of her family, her ‘Ru’ collection, made using brass, was inspired by a trip to India in 2012.

“It was my third trip there and I went to Rishikesh,” she says. “There I collected rudraksha seeds that are worn with intention to assist with peace of mind. They are very cherished and I started to incorporate them in earrings.”

Sonia and Sergio LubSonia and Sergio Lub. 

Photograph courtesy of Sergio Lub. 

A previous trip that had an impact on her life at age 18, was a trip to Kenya with the purpose of teaching art in the remote Kunya Village, near Kisumu City.

“What I found, while I was there, was a much more primal need to sustain life,” she says, adding it inspired her to shift her focus. “I founded a daycare center there for twelve of the most malnourished children in the neighborhood. It is still running and growing.”

Sonia received high recognition for her work.

“I was awarded, for my work in Kenya, a peace ambassador pledge from the Dalai Lama,” she says.

Currently in the process of obtaining her Master Gardener certification, she will soon add that accomplishment into the mix to round out her passions.

“I am almost unstoppable when it comes to creativity through jewelry or through other things,” Sonia says. “I need to work with my hands – that is part of the reason why I garden.”

Resources:

Sergio Lub Inc., 3800 Vista Oaks Dr., Martinez, CA, (925) 229-3600, Sonia Lub, P.O. Box 15, Oakville, CA.

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