Q&A with Rhodes co-founder, Perry
You were a vocalist in a band for 8 years traveling through the United States, Europe and Asia. How did that experience help shape what would become Rhodes Wedding Co?
I was from a small country town and things were a bit rough growing up, but it led me to focus on art and music. I let go of everything else in life and began traveling around the states, Europe and Asia playing music and working on art. There was something about the old streets and architecture of Europe that resonated with me. I'd get lost in new cites and small towns, admiring the texture of the stone cathedrals and pubs. In Asia, I found myself in crowded alleyways shuffling onto packed river boats. It was truly inspiring. When I had downtime from touring, I worked on new jewelry designs. But because I had given up everything to travel, I would find myself without a place to call home during these periods. There came a point where the tours got postponed and my nomad life was starting to feel more like a homeless life. Sleeping in friends’ cars and on the floor of Los Angeles art galleries. Crazy. But I just stayed focused on my art and on building my brand. I realize now how fortunate I was to have that time to take my art to a new level. A few years back, I met my love Jessy on the road. Our lives took us in different directions, but our connection remained strong. When our paths crossed again, our love grew, and naturally we began to travel together. Living as nomads, traveling with my workshop, we both became more and more passionate about the custom wedding bands and engagement pieces I was creating. We realized this was what we were meant to do. To play a part in the world’s great love story. So Rhodes Wedding Co. was born.
Did you know anything about carving jewelry to begin with? How did you teach yourself this craft?
I was a sentimental kid, pockets full of stones from every new place I explored… each one a reason to remember moments I might otherwise forget. I started tying them up with string, wearing them around my neck. That led to exploring what else I could create. I began carving wood, bronze and silver; analyzing textures and learning from experience. Then came the extensive studying and experimenting. I learned everything I could from the talented people around me, and eventually I began working with other materials like gold and platinum. In my travels, I began making notes of textures found on trees, roads, stone buildings, etc. I took all my favorite elements and began exploring new techniques. At times, I wouldn't have a full shop to work in, so I would use what supplies I had on hand and see how far I could take a design. As I honed my craft, I built a proper workshop and eventually adapted it to suit our traveling lifestyle.
You have a very specific aesthetic. It’s rugged, yet romantic. Can you tell us more about where your style comes from?
The only romance I've known lives in the beautiful subtleties of imperfection. It can be found in those unique moments with someone. It's that instant when you see something no one else sees, seemingly random, rugged… more complex than you can comprehend yet there is a feeling that stirs inside, sending you into the wild.
What inspires you to create a new piece?
As time inevitably moves along, we create moments. I find myself caught in these wakes of bliss, desire, and nostalgia. There could be a brief moment in time, sitting on the curb of a cobblestone road with the one I love, discussing everything under the sun. Weeks later, something triggers that memory, and all of a sudden it all comes flooding back: the warmth of the sunlight, the sound of her voice carried by the wind, the fragrance she wore in the air, and the texture of the roadside under my fingertips. These moments inspire me to write, to create and to live.
Can you tell us a little about your design process? How do you get from the initial idea to the finished piece?
There is something truly satisfying about holding raw elements created by nature in your hands… and then forming them into a physical manifestation from a mere concept in my scattered mind. The initial idea usually stems from a moment of nostalgia, and I begin carving and shaping the piece. Over time, my hands begin to feel the textures align with the memories. You really begin to connect with something you work so closely with. There is a bond formed and history shared. In the end, there is always something more than a ring, there is a story.
Looking through the collection online, I see that your pieces all have very specific names and descriptions. Where do these names come from?
I am constantly writing, scribbling into little notepads and sketchbooks. As we live and travel, exploring new places and enjoying intimate moments, our story evolves. When I create a new piece, there is always a memory that inspired it and usually there is something I jotted down about it in a notebook somewhere.
What are some of the obstacles to creating hand carved pieces, unique for each person?
Time. I have always worked hard to do what I love in life because there is only so much time in a day, and once it’s gone… it's gone. I am truly fortunate to be able to fill my days working on art and traveling with the one I love. I pour so much time and focus into each piece, and I find that having a constantly changing environment helps keep the creative process fresh, and adds to the ring’s journey.
Is there a push and pull between running the business and being in the creative mindset to design each piece?
Well, I've never been accused of being a businessman! It seems my mind stays on the creative side of things. Fortunately, I have the love and guidance of such a great mind in Jessy. Also, in this day and age, there is such a strong love and respect for craftsmanship and handmade art, that like-minded people gravitate towards each other. In that way, it ends up feeling like you're making something for an old friend.
Will you be creating women’s wedding bands as your company evolves?
I have and continue to create a lot of custom orders for women's wedding bands and engagement rings. So we definitely haven't left out the women! That’s why we have a custom order section. We’re dedicated to creating custom pieces that tell a personal story. You can see some of the pieces we've created for women here. At some point, we’ll introduce an official line for women, but for now we wanted to create a space dedicated to men.
Will you be creating any other collections for Rhodes Wedding Co. other than wedding bands?
We offer custom groomsmen gifts, like cufflinks and special-order beard combs. You can take a look at our gallery here. At some point, we will have a full groomsmen collection available.
So, what’s next? Whether it’s the company or just in life in general, what are you most excited about?
There is nothing I can do about this wild desire to get lost in ever-changing landscapes with my love. So I am always enjoying the moment, and looking forward to my next adventure with Jessy, my little bird.