We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Goodwin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alicia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Ooh, it’s funny because I feel like risk is kind of subjective. For my life and career, I like to think that I try to plan out what might happen and what could happen. If I’m in a weird situation, I will really try to plan ahead as much as I can for the next steps. For instance, wherever I interviewed, I would calculate how far away from public transportation it was because I was already thinking of how long I would have during a lunch break to go on an interview. Ha, that’s how I used to be. But career wise, I would pretty much say yes to almost anything, In life I figure any opportunity is an opportunity to learn. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out and I’ll land on my feet somehow. Honestly so many things have happened for me to get to where I am now and I’ve always (almost) landed on my feet.
In life, I don’t really have anything holding me back, so I can make my life what I want it to be. I’m able to travel pretty much when I want, hang out with friends and also work when I feel like it. It’s taken me a long, long time to be able to do this, but I think it’s because I took unorthodox pathways.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make jewelry. Honestly it depends on who I talk to that I’ll even say that. People really judge you by how you look and I already know from creating jewelry in school people have very low expectations of what I create. That being said, I make jewelry, I’m a jeweler. I make art that you can wear if you want to, small sculptures. I’ve always made and sold jewelry, even as a child. I definitely thought I was going to be a fashion designer, so jewelry took a backseat until I finished my fashion degree super disillusioned. I knew I did not want to go into that industry but knew I wanted to learn as much as I could before I jumped into for real adulthood. The jewelry/metals program was right across the hall, so I put together a really sad portfolio, applied and got in!
Learning in school was very different from working for other people. Working for other people, other jewelers is stressful and personal and intimate. There were days I definitely didn’t know what I was doing and wondered what I would be doing in a year, but kept going. I learned by working with other makers the nitty gritty of business. Beyond learning the basics in college, you’re going to learn a lot about the business side of the jewelry world by really working in the industry. I don’t knock people who have never worked for anyone, but usually there is something missing when people don’t realize the ins and outs that only come from working for other small businesses. I learned so much, what not to do, what to do, how to treat people, how not to do business, etc.
While I was working for other people, I was always creating my own work. I love texture and one of my favorite creations jewelry wise is the work created by artisans in pre colonial Mesoamerica. It wasn’t until I started reading more books and going to museums that I realized that the best jewelry (in my opinion) was made centuries before electricity was even thought about. People were cutting hard stones, using gold, setting stones, hammering out the most beautiful work, all by hand. I really try to think of that when it comes to my own work, I want it to be complex and simple at the same time, something that someone can wear daily or for a special occasion.
If people know anything about me, they know I make the work for myself. I don’t try to think of who might like what I’m making. I’m just really fortunate that I have been able to make a living because a lot of folks out there have great taste!
I want the world to know that my brand has been around for a long while and will be around for years to come. It’s thoughtfully created with me (and you!) in mind. Everything is made in the U.S. by a tiny, teeny team and that’s what I really love.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s funny, I’ve moved back to Chicago three and a half years ago and I can’t tell you where to go! I still go back and forth to New York so much, it’s not even funny!

Let’s see, I love driving people around the South Side of Chicago, because as someone who was born and raised there, people usually don’t go further south than Hyde Park, but there is so much to the South Side!
I love to show people South Shore Drive, as it’s really pretty and leads to my favorite park and the southernmost beach, Rainbow Beach (and Rainbow Park). If you drive further south, you can find the Steelworker’s Park, where one of the many steel mills in the city were. Now you’ll find a climbing wall and a beautiful, quiet park full of redwing blackbirds.
If you like fish and are a Blues Brothers fan, we can go further south to Calumet Fisheries, or get a hotdog at Skyway Dogs ( I like their fish sandwiches and fries!).

I love going to the DuSable Museum, founded by Margaret Burroughs, it is the premiere museum that showcases Black art and Black Chicago History. I would also go by the South Side Community Art Center, this place is in a gorgeous mansion and has the most amazing rotating shows, always showcasing Black artists, local and from around the world. During the 1920s – 60s, almost any and every well known Black artist either showed their work there or took up studio space there. It’s truly one of my favorite places to visit.
If you’re vegan, I highly recommend Majani, which has some of the most delicious, flavorful vegan food around!

I love to just drive around Hyde Park, the Jackson Park Highlands, South Shore and the other great neighborhoods of the SouthSide and point out favorite buildings, give a brief history of what I might know and just show how fun parts of the city are.

If the visitor has skates, we can go over to The Rink, a true Chicago institution, with skate lessons almost every day. If you are able to get a lesson with Calvin or any of the other amazing instructors, you’re very lucky! You’ll be doing flips and tricks in no time!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Can I in general shoutout all my friends who have helped me along the way? There is nothing better than a good friend who listens to your crazy ideas and doesn’t talk you off of that ledge, they encourage your ideas and cheer you on regardless if they really understand what the outcome might be. I also want to dedicate the shoutout to my then professor, now friend, Karen Bachman, she was just starting at the college where I was getting my jewelry degree from and she had so much creative energy to share. I looked forward to all of her classes and she was one of the few people who really believed in my work and really encouraged my style, which to a lot of traditionally trained jewelers, doesn’t look refined. I still reach out to her to ask her questions and she’s always so, so helpful.

Website: www.linguanigra.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/linguanigra.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/linguanigra

Facebook: www.facebook.com/linguanigra

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCubxasHSqF7zn1RhvOWccZg

Image Credits
Anjali Pinto Iron and Honey Photography Alicia Goodwin

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