The skill of being a goldsmith is one that I find so fascinating. The ability to take a piece of metal and hand craft it into a beautiful piece of jewellery is a skillset that I really admire. Helena Malone is an amazing, award-winning jewellery and goldsmith and I am delighted to be featuring her today on Floralesque.
Helena left a career in finance to start on a new career and has gone from strenght to strenght from the beginning. She was the overall winner of Best Product at Showcase in January 2014 as well as winning Best Product in the Jewellery Category. She has also won awards in prestigious compeditions like the RDS National Crafts Compedition and the Future Makers Practitioner Award. I love her Savage Beauty Collection and today we learn a bit more about it
Have you always been interested in jewellery design?
Not jewellery design per say but as a child I loved tiny things as most children do! I was always happiest walking in the woods looking at tiny leaves or stones and although from the midlands we spent a lot of our summers in Lahinch. I was always found on the beach mesmerised by the rockpools.
Can you please tell us about your training to become a goldsmith?
I went from working on a Friday in a finance company to the Traditional jewellery skills course in Kilkenny the following Monday. I left Kilkenny at the end of 2005. It was two years of 24/7 intensive immersion in traditional bench skills and were two of the most incredible years of my life so far…I felt like a child seeing this creative world for the first time. I worked in the trade for a while, then set up myself in 2008. I continue to learn something every single day I am at the bench.
What are your favourite pieces of jewellery to create?
It can vary so much, I love when I design and make new collections…but a commission for a client which is close to their heart gets me every single time.
Which material is your favourite to work with?
18ct Yellow gold is scrumptious!
Where does the inspiration behind your pieces come from?
As I develop as a designer I think I am expressing more of my personality and influences. I love the English language and word soundings, music and how people express themselves, through shape, texture, architecture, philosophy.
I loved your pieces at Create this year. It is so important to focus on the talented Irish designers – do you think people are becoming more aware of buying Irish?
There is definitely a much better awareness and consciousness in Ireland of the purchase of Irish Products. It is one positive from the recession, as there was a big push from every type of business to keep it local and buy at home. Opportunities and support from a business like Brown Thomas to support Irish design and creativity is so important.
What was the biggest challenge that you faced when setting up your business?
Cluelessness & Lack of money!
Although I am sure that it is quite hard to choose – what has been your proudest career moment to date?
I think making the decision to set up myself was both proud and totally terrifying at the same time. There have been many brilliant times, when I can share them that makes me proud.
Who are your favourite designs at the moment?
I was charmed to be showing in Brown Thomas Create this year alongside Una Burke, I love her work and her shell bag is on my wishlist ever since I saw it many years ago, she knows this very well as I tried to steal it more than a few times! 🙂
What advice would you have for those who are thinking of becoming a goldsmith?
Get as much experience as you can, practise, practise, practise!
What does the future hold for Helena Malone Goldsmith?
Its really busy right now, as I am thrilled to have a new collection in Brown Thomas’ MARVEL Room for Christmas called ‘Celestial Mechanics’. It encapsulates the effects of the sounds and feelings evoked by the ebb and flow of the sea, examining the draw that people feel towards it. I am looking forward to a few days off at Christmas then I will see what 2017 brings…
A massive thank you to Helena for the interview, I loved seeing her pieces at CREATE so it was brilliant to learn more about the brand from the creator herself. I would highly recommend that you take a look at Helena’s beautiful pieces on her website and also take a look at her Twitter and Facebook! Certainly keep her pieces in mind for a special Christmas present x