Ethical Beauty – Helena Malone
Helena Malone is traditionally trained in the art of goldsmithing and fine jewellery. She has been recognised for her design and quality with many awards and was awarded the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, Jewellery Designer of the Year in 2018. Helena has recently showcased her collections in CREATE, Brown Thomas for the fifth year running and continues to inject her designs with freshness and deceptive simplicity.
The latest addition to her PURE collections is ‘all the colours I love to dream in’. The pieces are just perfect to take you from day to evening with fine 18ct granulation learnt from a master goldsmith in Italy. Every little grain is handmade individually and then placed by eye, meaning every piece is unique. All her metals are recycled, stones are from ethical sources like Madagascar and Queensland, Australia – even her packaging is recycled. “My designs can be wandering around in my head for a long time, even years, waiting for their time to shine. Often by the time the piece is developed and handmade, it can take off nearly like a frantic stream of consciousness into a full collection. It has to mean something to me and association makes my work stronger, of course in general it is the incredibleness of nature that is usually the magic culprit of inspiration’ says Helena. “I cannot abide waste and disregard for society, people and the environment. I am lucky to have a strong following of like-minded customers who appreciate that I will reuse and recycle their old jewellery into unique commissions or into my collection pieces, and repair antique pieces as much as is possible. In my collections, I use recycled metals and buy raw materials from ethical sources and as I learn more about what is best I will adjust my business to do my small part in making jewellery with a conscience.”
Avant-Garde Art – Bláithín Ennis
Within a year of graduating from a BA in Textile Design at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Bláithín went about setting up her own label ‘Bláithín Ennis’. Having industry experience with New York-based designer Diane Von Furstenberg, she launched her first collection to the Irish marketplace at the end of 2012. Bláithín’s pieces are the result of innovative, exclusive techniques and craftsmanship using fine nylon braiding as her primary aesthetic, combined with mixtures of robust metals and delicate, sparkling crystal. Her award-winning creations represent the ‘unconventional’ in jewellery design. Her brand has received tremendous support from premium Irish retailers who are stocking the brand nationwide. Brown Thomas selected her work as part of their prestigious CREATE showcase for the last 6 years. Her jewellery has been worn by pop royalty, television presenters, singer-songwriters and top models. Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Cole, Vogue Williams, Una Healy, Kathryn Thomas, Rachel Stevens, Roz Purcell to name but a few…
Bláithín recently collaborated with her sister Niamh who is a graduate of the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design. “This was our first ‘sister collaboration project’. We combined both our interests which in this case was, Climate Change – the raging fires in the Amazon rainforest and the polar ice-caps melting at rapid rates. This all tied in with our research of how indigenous tribes have been in turn affected. We wanted to highlight aspects of these subjects by designing beautiful, unique evening wear looks. Our collection is called ‘Fire & Ice” notes Bláithín. “From my personal perspective, being creative goes hand in hand with running my business. If I’m not creative and designing new pieces, I wouldn’t have new collections to launch. It is a fine balance, but once you decide what and when you want to create something new, you begin to establish your own routine and unique way of working. It is hard work and difficult to switch off but when you do what you love, in many aspects you’ve already won the lotto!”
Luxury Links – Lynsey De Burca
NCAD graduate and West of Ireland Jewellery Designer Lynsey De Burca creates minimal aesthetic jewellery pieces inspired by her surroundings near Moycullen, Galway where she runs a business that now has an international customer base.
Every piece is created in sterling silver and uses centuries-old craft techniques. The links have their own unique fingerprint, retaining an untouched raw texture on the outer edge contrasting against the smooth high polish of its flat finished front.
“I have over 14 years’ experience in retail and this has proved invaluable to me. Working in high-end jewellery galleries, applied arts galleries, antique jewellers and fashion boutiques just ignited my love for making beautiful things,” said Lynsey. “I find inspiration in little elements such as the composition of fishing nets strewn over a pier wall, the texture of a rusty boat chain or the pattern of fishing net ropes. My favourite pieces highlight an innovative and contemporary approach to design, accented by evocative Gaelic names such as Ancaire, Cloch, Fada and Tonn.”
As a self-employed maker, Lynsey says the balance between the business side and the artistic side is a tricky one. She runs entirely on checklists, timetables and calendars and constantly has a list notebook and a diary in her possession. “The studio making time and business admin is a hard one to balance but I try to take time out for walks along the shore, sketchbook drawing and experimenting new jewellery making techniques. It’s those little elements that feed the inspiration and creativity which then flows through and allows me to make and create new work.”
Lynsey has recently launched a new Gold Capsule collection.