I think I have more than my fair share of ‘collecting’ genes in my DNA, I love calligraphy, and I have a large collection of vintage stamps and postcards from my youth. These items are like a time capsule that transports you back into yesteryear where people relied on the written word and the postal service to communicate, they had beautiful penmanship and maps were hand drawn with pen and ink; a GPS was not even on the horizon!
I discovered Clare Hillerby’s work a couple of years ago and was in awe of how she captured many of my favourite things and transformed them into highly desirable contemporary jewellery. Clare has a passion for ephemera; she collects old papers, handwritten pieces and extracts from postcards, stamps, postal markings and old maps.
Clare says of her work: “handwriting forms the starting point for my work. Old papers featuring handwritten messages by unknown characters are sourced, interesting sections are extracted; messages become ambiguous, they are then combined with new metalwork, and contemporary stories emerge.
Silver is often oxidised for a depth of colour and to allow papers to become the highlight. Details of yellow gold tube riveting are used to construct parts of the work to reference an industrial landscape; our new history being created daily. Semi-precious beads are added for texture and colour.”
Interview with Clare:
Charmaine: What led you to jewellery design?
Clare: When I started studying I first specialised in fashion. Then I noticed in my fashion designs that I was more interested in the details so I decided to change direction, applying to Edinburgh College of Art; the jewellery course was so well respected and such great people were graduating from there. I appreciated the way you design in fashion though, I think I took that with me into jewellery, and I love the creative process of jewellery, from the designing through to making and selling.
Charmaine: Tell us about your passion for postcards and stamps from yesteryear…
Clare: I’m inspired by the everyday, people, the city – perhaps from coming from a small compact town to Edinburgh. The city is full of layers of history merging into the way we use it today, narrow closes and roads beneath roads, I have been really inspired by my time living here.
The postcards I use have been sourced from old bookshops in Edinburgh, while I was studying I collecting them for inspiration. The postcards weren’t really valued or appreciated at that time, which is what I liked, people’s lives intrigued me; little pockets of stories from decades ago, and you can’t help but imagine the lives the writers of the postcards had and that of their intended recipients.
Gradually the postcards became part of my work. I see them as a precious material, more than the silver in some ways as they are so unique. I discovered a shop to buy great postcards which also sold stamps so I gravitated to other forms of ephemera to make some interesting contrasts, I like variety (I get bored very easily!)
Charmaine: How do you source your materials what aesthetic do you look for?
Clare: People used to write so well, there’s a certain time in the mid-20th century were people perhaps stopped taking so much care, condensing their narrative to ‘having a great time/weather is good’ kind of a postcard, I suppose the more ways to communicate and the busier we get, the more watered down they each become.
I like the older postcards, where people were more likely to take their time using real ink pens and it was a treat to buy, send and receive a postcard.
Having said that, back then, there were more mail deliveries throughout the day, you do find postcards with a quick one liner ‘meet you at 6’. We do the same now electronically –with our mobiles.
I’ve become more particular with the ephemera I choose over time, searching for interesting, characterful handwriting. The writing has to be quite compact to get a lot into the ovals I cut out for the jewellery; each has to say something about the writer. They always have to feel nice too, although they are trapped between silver and perspex for practical reasons, the feel of the paper is just something special I get to enjoy!
Charmaine: Do you share your work space? How would you describe it?
Clare: I have a studio on my own in a building full of artists and makers. So it’s a completely dedicated studio space to make and design and think. One side of the studio is making and the other is the thinking side with a wall full of pinned ephemera (Charmaine: see image below this wall is like a work of art). It’s a very practical space, brick and concrete which only opens to the public once a year. I’m lucky to have a window which gets lots of sun and a view of roof tops with a million chimneys and a sky that constantly changes; it’s good to look at clouds when you’re trying to think!
Charmaine: I can see where you got your inspiration for the silver lining and rain cloud earrings (see image right and below)!
Charmaine: What tips would you give on how to wear jewellery?
Clare: I like to see people wear my work quite casually and regularly, rather than just for special occasions, and mixing things their own way. Although I do make bracelets to wear with particular earrings for example I think you can mix anything together to your own preferences, postcard necklace with stamp earrings for example work really well. I like the way people pair them up, it’s often in a different way than I imagined. People gravitate to certain materials too, (I sold to a geographer recently who wanted mostly maps!).
Charmaine: If you had an opportunity to meet anyone who would it be and why?
Clare: There are so many well-known and interesting famous people to choose from but I would really prefer to visit a regular someone in a time and place very different to what I take for granted, seeing how they live and work, it would be far more interesting.
Some new pieces from Clare:
In store we have some new pieces by Clare, including several charming cufflinks featuring maps and stamps. In addition, we are stocking some new pieces with the option of customising her necklaces and a bracelet with your choice of semi-precious beads (just check out the options tab under each item).
I have been a big fan of brooches for many years and it was a joy to put together a collection of handcrafted brooches for Lobo Luxe.
In stock we have a great selection with splashes of colour, lots of whimsy and beautiful detail.
There are delightful upcycled pieces by Joli Jewelery from New Jersey, USA The brooches in this collection are put together by Jody Lyons, she hand picks vintage pieces, deconstructs them and creates new pieces that are nostalgic, elegant and vibrant. Each brooch comes with its own tag, identifying the era of the piece and the material used.
From the US we travel to Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, for the beautiful hand painted, bird, moth and butterfly brooches by Melanie Tomlinson. Her work is like wearable watercolours, a touch of lightness, they are unique and funky. What you can’t see is Melanie’s name strikingly stamped across reverse of each of her pieces.
If we move further north to Scotland we have the fun and nostalgic ‘Viewfinder‘ Brooch by Clare Hillerby. The ‘Viewfinder’ Brooch contains a map from yesteryear, framed in oxidised sterling silver and covered with perspex. Who needs a GPS?
Travelling back to the Southern Hemisphere and to Wellington, New Zealand, Caroline Basset’s ‘Bellus Psyche Brooch’, has two of my favourite combinations – red and patina. This brooch will liven up any lapel, hat or scarf.
Felicity Peters, from my hometown of Perth, has a number of special order brooches including the whimsical ‘House’ series, the ‘Landscape Brooch’ which is like an aerial view of the Australian Outback, the ‘Kopernik Daisy Brooch’, inspired by a daisy motif that Felicity found in her cultural exchange to Legnica in Poland, and the ‘Use it or Lose it’ Series of brooches which are not only vibrant and feminine, they can also be worn as a pendant.
Rounding up this list is the gorgeous Flowering Gum Brooch by Susan Frisch from Victoria, Australia. This brooch is a special order, it reflects the essence of the Australian Bush and it has a sumptuous appearance; the stunning contrast of the red or black soda lime glass against the detailed sterling silver cup.
So as you put on your winter clothes, in dark, warming shades of colour why not add some vibrance and interest to your coat, dress, wrap or beanie with one of these delightful pieces. You will stand out!
Thank you to everyone for their positive feedback on the store, I am glad you like it! Lots of comments have been made about the uniqueness and vibrancy of the jewellery, and the site design. I would like to acknowledge the great effort of my web designers Clever Starfish, thank you very much.
Lobo Luxe Goes Live!
If you’re looking for a piece of unique jewellery, something you won’t find in your usual haunts or being worn by at least two other women you pass on the street or at your next major event or birthday party, then you have come to the right place!
I understand, that your time is already stretched, or perhaps you live too far away to scour boutiques for quirky and eclectic jewellers, designers and artists.
The good news, I have done the hard work for you!
The collection encompasses gold, silver, diamonds and semi-precious stones, as well as funky resin and acrylic pieces.
From Australia I am proud to represent whimsical and romantic pieces from by Flick Pope of the Mornington Peninsula and embellished vibrant necklaces and bangles by Amy Renshaw of Melbourne. If you appreciate the cool pairing of glass and sterling silver, you must venture to the delightful necklaces and earrings by Susan Frisch of Victoria. From Sydney we boast a stylish and feminine range of pearls and resin pieces by Mary Odorcic while Perth’s Felicity Peters has a sublime collection of earrings, necklaces, bangles, brooches and rings.
Not to be outdone, artists from across the Tasman offer bewitching designs, from handmade necklaces and detailed patina pieces by Caroline Bassett of the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand, to richly detailed earrings, rings and necklaces from Louise Douglas of Nelson.
You will also find work from the U.S, from quirky offerings by Joli Jewelery from Brooklyn New York, the stylish minimalism embraced by Rebecca Overmann of San Francisco and exotic pieces by Susan Fleming from Wyoming. The diverse landscape of California sparks an inspiration all its own – among the finest, rich and vibrant designs by Robindira Unsworth and gorgeous adornments from Rings Eclectic, and Elyssa Bass of Georgia introduces an echo of old world luxury and charm in the shape of bangles with semi-precious stones.
North of the U.S, I have handpicked a range from Canadian artists. It includes celestial inspired pieces by Jessie Turner from Vancouver, glass and silver, funky and vibrant pieces by Tank in Toronto and minimalistic to rich in detail works from Gillian Hillerud of Calgary.
Rounding up this stellar group of jewellers and metal-smiths is a talented delegation from the U.K. Take a look at the whimsical and nostalgic postal and postcard range from Scotland’s Claire Hillerby and the organic leaf forms featured in necklaces and earrings by Tracy de Chevron Villette, and you can’t go passed the vibrant, quirky winged brooches by Melanie Tomlinson a veritable hot house/atrium full of butterflies, tiger moths, birds and flowers.
So… take a few minutes with your favourite brew to enjoy browsing our treasures. Allow us to help locate a special treat for yourself or a loved one.
I look forward to helping you locate a special piece that you can make your own which will accentuate whatever you are wearing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any aspect of our products or our web presence. Please feel free to get in touch – you can reach me via the Contact page .
I hope this will be your first of many visits at Lobo Luxe.