About Designer, Christine Street
Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles my childhood smelled like oranges, tasted like avocado, felt like the perfect cannonball into a cool pool, and every day looked like a new adventure. Whether it was making mud pies in the backyard, or playing with one of my family’s many pets, a sense of cheerful exploration filled my early days.
My parents encouraged my creative spirit and my natural curiosity. For most of my life my father operated a print shop. It was from the scraps of discarded projects that my artistic disposition found its spark. I delighted in making collaged posters for my room, personalizing everything with puffy paints, and designing wedding dresses. It was here, too, a seed was planted that would become a deep appreciation for small business and local products made with love.
Due to my family’s ‘practical’ perspective on education, my artistic inclinations remained on the sidelines until college. It was in a 2-D design class that I knew I had found my passion! I transferred to the Fashion Institute of Design in San Diego where I studied fashion design. I worked in the fashion industry for 5 years and later become a full time merchandiser at Anthropologie. While working there I began to make jewelry and developed a loyal fan-base among the store’s customers.
The birth of my first child brought about a sea change in my priorities. I yearned to take ownership of my creative endeavors, and spend more time with my son. In 2007, I took the leap and transformed my jewelry-making hobby into my own business.
Chocolate and Steel is still handcrafted in my solar powered studio. Over the years we have grown into a small team consisting of 3 studio helpers, and a small local LA casting studio. We take every care to maintain the integrity of American made products and processes with each step in crafting our jewelry. With frequent sketching at local cafes and neighborhood parks, my work also remains fused with my love of the outdoors and my playful spirit.
My husband and two children serve as the ultimate inspiration. Our family adventures—bike riding, hiking, and visiting the zoo or a museum—keep my heart full and my creativity sharp! Through Chocolate and Steel I hope to return the favor and show them that a passion can serve dually as enrichment and a career. I believe that a life full of imagination and spirit is a life well lived. Chocolate and Steel allows me to share a little piece of that joy with the world.
To me, American made is about choice. It is about the ability to transform the world we live in through conscious consumerism. Every time you purchase Chocolate and Steel you are upholding the values of supporting small business, fair labor practices, quality craftsmanship from quality material, sustainability, and eco-conscious practices. Join me and raise the bar in business and personal practices through a return to simplicity, creativity, and spirit!
Chocolate and Steel has grown into a team of really lovely people!
In the design studio we have:
Jen – studio manager
There is so much to running a business and Jennifer handles it all. Marketing, bookkeeping, photography, and design assistance. With impeccable style she brings all of these elements together to represent Chocolate and Steel in a beautiful way.
Megan – creator
Another jane-of all trades, she handles packaging, shipping, wire wrapping and making sure our products are 100% fabulous before they come to you. She also models her ears for us – she has really great ears!
Amy – creator
Sometimes there is more to get done than the rest of us can handle. Amy comes in and catches us up. She wire wraps, assembles, polishes, packages…. And anything else we need help with.
Christine – designer & stuff
Christine is the owner and designer. She juggles designing, creating, communications and a bunch of other boring stuff like website maintenance & ordering supplies.
In the casting studio we have:
Jerry – head honcho
He is the metals pro. Anything I ask, he knows the answer to. He creates our molds and advises us on the best alloys to use.
Maria – Production manager
Details, details, details…. Maria pays attention to all of the details. She makes sure our casting comes out looking beautiful.
Gayan – wax shooter
One very important step in the casting process is shooting the wax. Once we have a perfect mold we shoot wax into it to make a wax replica of the piece. Gayan is a pro at this. All day long she shoots wax and takes great pride in her work. Those wax replicas are used in the vessel that we eventually pour molten silver into to get our final piece.