I love when someone takes unusual textiles and materials and uses them to create beautiful, wearable works of art. And that is exactly what Lynsey De Burca does. She creates elegant unique pieces in Sterling Silver but also in her latest collection has used lava as the material. This is not something that I had seen before and I was excited to learn more about Lynsey’s inspirations.
I am delighted to be featuring her today on Floralesque. And the interview has certainly peaked my interest in using different materials in jewellery making as well.
Have you always had an interest in design and jewellery?
From an early age, I always had an interest in design certainly.Whilst my sister played with Barbies – I would design and make shops and houses for them out of cardboard. I went through a long phase of wanting to be an architect. I would spend hours drawing away very contently!
After my first year in NCAD -I knew I wanted to specialise in jewellery design. I was enticed by the properties of metal-I loved how a simple material could be manipulated and formed in many different ways. My favourite process was forging on an anvil which can allow you to create a 3d form from a flat sheet using various hammering techniques.It’s still my favourite process today.
I understand that you have studied at both NCAD as well as NUIG. What drew you to study the geoscience gemology after NCAD?
I was drawn to gemmology in NUIG after it was recommended to me by another jewellery designer.After I graduated-I worked for a time in a high-end jewellery gallery in Dublin -this is where my love of gemstones began.
The course provided me with a clear understanding of gemstones and their properties.It has allowed me to make informed decisions when sourcing stones and knowing how different gemstones work in particular settings. I love nothing more than sourcing new and unusual gemstones to work into my pieces.
The use of lava stones in some of your pieces is so unusual and gives them such a beautiful edge. Where do you find your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the west coast of Ireland. I grew up beside a pier in rural Galway. Hours were spent beachcombing and walking and playing along with the shore.
Elements from the pier such as boat chains, nets, ropes, fishing nets and pebbles have always stayed with me and continue to inspire me. I’m constantly exploring this inspiration from recreating the rusted texture of a boat chain to creating an intricate piece based on the composition of a pile of fishing nets.
In previous collections- I included pebbles into my work. But when I came across lava- I knew I had to work with it.The pattern and texture of a lava surface are similar to a worn down beach pebble, but with the dark tones of lava- it creates a striking contrast to the high finish of silver.
Some of your silver pieces have extremely intricate detailing on them and contrast strongly with the more gem focused pieces. And then there are your simply beautifully elegant bridal collections. Is there a certain type of ‘design’ that you prefer?
I enjoy moving from different collections all the time. It’s nice to have a bit of variety in your work. It can be very enjoyable making the smaller pieces and working to get that perfect polished finish.
But my real passion is really creating the bigger chain pieces. I love exploring circular link compositions and working with various links to create a beautiful form with good structure. I can really get lost in chain making process!
I am sure that working with brides-to-be is very exciting and such a treasure to have a piece of your work as part of their magical day. Would you have any tips for brides to be with regards what jewellery to wear?
Working with brides is a wonderful part of the job- its an honour to be able to create jewellery that is part of the special day. I like to meet with the bride-to-be, we go through the dresses- the colour, the cut, the bouquet colours, the suits- everything! I like to prove a few sample pieces and usually have an array of gemstones there to match up with the colour scheme. I then – design the collection and the bride and I tweak a few things to create the perfect pieces for the big day.
My advice for brides is to keep it simple. It’s all about the bride and the dress. Don’t let the jewellery be too over-powering. Simple and elegant never goes out of fashion.
Can you please tell us your favourite part of the design process?
My favourite part of the design process is definitely the exploring part- I love nothing more than playing around with different techniques in the studio and seeing what I come up with. I would usually begin working from a drawing and some simple sketches, but often times I would take a bit of silver and a hammer and see where I go to from there.
I love exploring the capabilities of silver wire.There’s always a new technique to try out. Hours can be spent creating new types of links to include in my work.
I am sure that owning and operating your own brand has its challenges. Is there something that you wish you were told when you were starting out?
Having your own business brings new challenges each day. You often have to wear many hats – from accountancy to sales to marketing to techie stuff!
When I was starting out- I wish I was told to prepare myself for a large amount of time spent away from my workbench and working on the business and sales side of the company.Which can be difficult for many designers who are dying to get back to the creative side!
Fortunately for many designers and craftspeople in Ireland- the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office offer a large variety short courses on all aspects of business.And also mentoring programs are incredibly beneficial to any young designer starting out.
Although I am sure it is hard to choose, what has been your proudest moment to date?
My proudest moment to date would definitely be the birth of our son in 2014- the happiest day of my life without question.
After that- more recently I would say that being nominated for jewellery Designer of the year in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards is pretty exciting! The awards take place on march 30th in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway. You can read more about the Awards here.
What does the future hold for Lynsey De Burca?
We’re currently drawing up plans for a brand new purpose built studio at the back of our new home. We’re also expecting a new arrival in mid-July- so this will be a very busy summer!
The company is going from strength to strength- the jewellery collections will soon be available in a variety of new retailers around Ireland over the coming months. Work has also begun on the next jewellery collection- so the sketchbook is always at the ready!
I’m also thrilled to be featured on RTE’s Nationwide programme towards the end of March as part of the Irish fashion Innovation Awards.
So a very busy future ahead indeed!
A massive thank you to Lynsey for doing the interview, I am so delighted to have featured her on Floralesque. I would recommend to check out her website – to see more of her beautiful work. And she is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And with Mother’s Day coming up… I think a piece from her shop would make the most amazing gift! Best of luck to Lynsey also in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards – I am looking forward to seeing her pieces on the catwalk.
All images kindly provided by Lyndsey for use.