Greetings London Perfect Readers … and lovers of all things fashion and fun! You might have spotted the the rather striking pair of neon-hued earrings that you see above from the upcoming New Designers 2013 show (June 26 – July 6) in our recent What’s on in London in June blog post. Those earrings are the work of Ciara Bowles. A graduate of the BA in Jewellery & Silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, Ciara has come back south to her hometown of London. Since receiving some well-deserved applause and raised eyebrows of delight at the New Designers show in 2012, she has begun an exciting career in contemporary jewellery design.
Ciara’s pieces are fantastically sculptural objects, combining zinging colours and contrasting media like aluminum, suede and chenille to create statement pieces. This is jewellery for the bold. I hope to be sporting a pair of earrings either whilst promenading on a summer’s eve in Hyde Park or – in a sartorially daring move – in the depths of winter as a pop of intense colour to liven up a winter coat.
But we are jolly happy here at London Perfect to share our interview with this whizzy and bright Londoner. Thank you so much, Ciara!
What is it about London that makes it such an exciting international centre for design and creativity?
I think because there is a base for all creative disciplines somewhere in London. Whether it’s graphic design, fashion, visual arts or interiors there is always an opportunity to see what is going on, such as new exhibitions or pop-up shops and boutiques that are literally “popping up” all over the place. There is a really supportive environment for being innovative and creative in London, which makes it such a thrilling place to live.
Where do you find inspiration for your jewellery designs?
Most of my inspiration comes from nature, particularly floral and microscopic imagery. It is the colours and the intricate forms that naturally occur that are so wonderfully inspiring to me. I try to replicate them in my design process, although they end up being slightly abstracted when they eventually become pieces of jewellery! Two great places that I often visit for research are Kew Gardens – a fantastic home to some of the most unusual plants on the globe – and the Wellcome Collection that hosts the weirdest and most wonderful things that come from the human body.
Why is colour such an important part of your work?
I can’t really explain it but I am always just drawn to colour. I would choose bright and bold over monochrome any day! I grew up in a very multi-cultural area of London. I was always in awe of the beautiful patterns and colours of the fabrics that I saw in the saree shop windows and when I saw them in action whenever my neighbours had parties or weddings. But I guess mainly it is a reaction to living in a city that is made up of a lot of brickwork – a completely beautiful city but we need a bit of colour to brighten up our lives!
Describe the ideal setting in which one should wear your amazing Cell earrings.
I can quite often be seen wearing them during the day walking down the road in my jeans and my trainers, but I like to make a statement at all times of the day! The perfect place to wear them would be at the opening of an event, against a black dress so they’ll stand out a treat and you’ll be the belle of the ball! The 7th – 16th June is London Jewellery Week, ok technically 10 days brimming full of openings of exhibitions and fashion shows perfect for wearing a great statement piece to. That’s definitely where I’ll be wearing mine…
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday in London?
Apart from all things jewellery, there are 3 things that I love to spend my time doing; eating, shopping and watching films. There are some amazing food markets with some great street food on offer, such as Borough Market and the Sunday Upmarket on Brick Lane.
I have so much fun walking up and down Upper Street in Islington for shopping where they have fantastic independent shops, my favourite being Gill Wing Jewellery who shows great work by designer makers from around the country.
For films, there is an amazing group called Secret Cinema whose events are well worth checking out. I’ve taken part in some of their events where you meet at a certain time and place, having been told what to wear but having no other information other than that it is an experience like no other! Completely unsettling but exhilarating and I cannot recommend it enough!
Name your top 3 places that a visitor to London simply MUST go?
The V&A – specifically the treasure trove that is the jewellery room.
Boxpark at Shoreditch – they have some great pop-up shops that showcase some amazing emerging designers.
Somerset House – go and have a run around in the fountains, plus they’ve always got something awesome on show where you can dry yourself off.
Zoë F. Willis is a writer and enthusiastic London resident. You can read more about her adventures and creative exploits at http://thingswotihavemade.blogspot.co.uk/
Image Credits: Ciara Bowles, Ciara Bowles Contemporary Jewellery, ‘Trina Earrings’ from New Designers 2013, Jewellery photos courtesy Ciara Bowles, Kew Gardens by Andy Roberts, Bread at Borough Market by Jeremy Keith, Somerset House by Glyn Baker