Interview with Shauna Mayben : from our Newsletter

Photos, Romance & Money

It sounds like a ripping yarn, a crime thriller or a good episode of your favourite soap opera, but it is in fact a summary of Shauna Mayben’s collection at Lobo Luxe.

Shauna’s collection was just recently launched at Lobo Luxe and I thought it would be great for you to find out more about the artist behind the “Antique Photo”, “He Whispered Sweet Nothings in Her Ear” and the “Money Makes the World Go Round” Collections.

Shauna is based in Hobart, Tasmania and her work is not only beautiful it is also environmentally friendly, she uses reclaimed, recycled and up-cycled materials.

What led you to jewellery design?
Shauna: I have always had a love for the arts as young as I can remember. I dabbled in sculpture, and then moved towards furniture design. It wasn’t until I travelled around Europe at the age of 19 and came back to Australia that I realised the importance of obtaining a fine craft ‘skill’. My Grandfather was a jeweller so I initially worked with him as well as doing my degree. I haven’t stopped learning since.

What inspires / influences you?
Shauna: Antiques; objects with previous lives. Old photographs that have lost their home, books, history and fine arts. I can spend hours lost in time in museums and galleries. I love visiting the heritage houses of Tasmania which are like time capsules. Decorative wallpapers, cabinets filled with scrimshawed whales teeth, handcrafted pipes, boxes with intricate gold and shell inlay. Beautiful handcrafted objects that would take a lifetime to master, the finest skills to construct.

What led you to incorporating sustainability into your design?
Shauna: I found my self in a dilemma. I love to make, to produce beautiful handmade items, but these days it seems a bit selfish when there is already so much out there. It’s also hard for me to know that the jewellery industry is one of the worst polluters in the world, not to mention the questionable ethics that are involved in the trade.
Once I was aware of some of the negative impacts of the craft that I loved I resolved to become an ‘ethical jeweller’ and a teacher who imparts knowledge about the less glamorous aspects of our industry. In doing this I hope to change work practices where the jewellers demand more environmentally sustainable mining and processing of gold and silver. Did you know, for example, that one gold ring generates 20 tons of by-products, leaching toxic metals and acid into soil and water?
So I made a choice to reduce the impact I had, by using salvaged materials and pre-existing materials. Each item is made from 100% recycled silver, up-cycled perspex and found images. I would like to think I can make a change by increasing awareness. (Don’t we all?)

How would you describe your collection?
Shauna: Considered, timeless, vintage inspired and elegant.  Designed for the intelligent woman, who loves quality and sophistication, but also knows how to enjoy themselves.

How do you plan your collection, ie how do you decide on themes and does one inform the other – are there links?
Shauna: Most definitely, I do a lot of research before I make a range. Just recently I had an exhibition of works called; “I would rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck”. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that love is better than material possessions. That a rose garden is more beautiful than any stone dug up from the earth. Money is the oil that lubricates the machinery of life. It is important but it’s not everything. I worry that in today’s society we put money before everything. In doing so, we miss out on the smaller details of life.

Ultimately though all my work inspired and informed by the secret language of objects. Jewellery, photographs, dried flowers, old love letters, movie ticket stubs, we all collects these ‘worthless’ items to reminds us of intimate moments and loved ones.

Do you share your workspace ? How would you describe it?
Shauna: I share a studio called “Five Flights Up” with three other very talented jewelers. My studio is organised chaos. Yes, you may think that a jeweler is meticulous and clean but not me. Picture cut up magazines and books strewn across a table, streams of paper overflowing onto the floor, my jewellery bench, filled with silver wire, tools, small drill bits and bobs. On the wall I have my pictures of inspiration, other jeweller’s work I admire, and a photo of my beloved dog, Hero.

What are your passions outside jewellery?
Shauna: I love to teach and funnily enough I am also a soccer player. You wouldn’t think so if you met me, but there is nothing better than running around with friends playing that beautiful game.

What tips would you give on how to wear jewellery?
Shauna:  Dare to be different… and you will be noticed.
A black dress with an elegant, but some what original designer piece and you are sure to be asked a million envious questions. Have a story to tell about your special piece of jewellery, where it came from, what it means, how it is helping the planet by recycling materials. The same black dress with pearls, or gold earrings, you just won’t get a second glance. So, try it. I have, many times.
Original designer jewellery can become a conversation starter, and who knows where the conversations can lead….

Shauna Mayben @ Lobo Luxe

The idea behind my store was to present a range of collections that are unique and not easily accessible to women who are time poor or would need to travel great distances, to find that special something.

Looking through the store I hope you have noticed there is a diversity of design, every designer/jeweller has a different approach to creating pieces to adorn the body.

Adding to the diversity of the store, and the list of great Australian designers at Lobo Luxe, is collection of works by Shauna Mayben.   Shauna’s work has a strong narrative behind each piece and she believes that jewellery is more than just a ‘bauble to adorn’.

Shauna tells her story through her pieces: whether it be the impact of money on our lives in the “Money Makes the World Go Round” range; the sentimental connection we have to photographs – in her “Antique Photo” range; the romance in “He Whispered Sweet Nothings in Her Ears” earrings; or in her signature Locket pendants – with a hidden gemstone, these pieces further highlight her skill and craftsmanship, Shauna refers to them as “precious vessels for treasures to reside in”, a contemporary twist on lockets from yesteryear.

Not only is her work beautifully made but it also has a strong sustainable element, and this was recently recognised when she received the Tasmanian Government’s Bricolage Design Prize, for environmentally sustainable products.

Shauna prides herself in using 100% recycled silver, and upcycling industrial off cuts, rescuing abandoned photographs, diverting materials from landfill and making wearable pieces that don’t cost the earth.

I hope you enjoy Shauna’s collection and maybe you will add your story to one of her pieces by making it your own….please see her range at Lobo Luxe