The featured designer today is Lia Bowen. Her jewellery is a riot of delicious colours and textures and I am very excited to have her do an interview for my blog.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Lia Bowen and I am the designer/metalsmith/enamelist behind Bullfinch & Barbury Jewelry. I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania – named after Buckinghamshire England by William Penn. The area is more historic than other parts of the States, and I draw inspiration from the colonial buildings, retired barns and fields around me. I have a home studio where I create my work – with the help of a chinchilla named Poirot, who shares my studio, and Thor, my rescued Fjord horse.
Where do you get your key inspiration for your designs?
Oh, it seems like everything ends up in my sketchbooks and Pinterest boards somehow. Everything from cakes to rusty machinery to flowers to Film Noir movies . . .
I guess at heart I am enamoured by all things old, worn, caressed and loved into an antique patina. There is nothing as beautiful to me as a vintage farrier’s hammer where the grip of hands have finished the wooden handle into a silk-like texture – or where stairs are worn because of a century’s worth of feet climbing them. Some of the old pieces of furniture I find in farmhouses have a weather refinement to them . . . I love these things.
How did you first become interested in designing jewellery?
I went to school for illustration and somehow the medium – mainly the heat and fire (torches, kilns, crucibles, etc) really resounded with me. It was an instant addiction and I switched my concentration.
I love the collections of bangles ! Where did you get the idea to create these?
I love how many small parts can create this amazing statement. It’s fun to give each piece a little something that makes it special, and then when it pairs with other bangles they all create this repetition of pattern and play off of each other. The first set I made was a “warm up” for some intense stone setting – they were made from scrap metal and enameled – I loved pulling them out of the kiln and seeing that glossy surface and colour!
What do you aim to achieve with your unique style?
My goal is to make people take note – to cause them to wonder where the wearer got the piece. I love unique things and I love it when something as small as a set of bangles or a necklace can make an outfit into something of a personal statement.
What is your favourite piece to date?
I have a set of Bangles in shades of blue that has been added to over the years – I think it is about 14 pieces strong by this point. Haha! My other favourite is a set of charms depicting an anvil and hammer with my horse Thor’s name on it – it was his halter tag when I first rescued him and he wore them for several months before I decided to make him new ones and keep the originals.
Do you have any advice for other young designers?
Hmmmm . . . I would say that it never hurts to try something even if you have doubts. Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure out how to make a technique work, or a colourway blend . . . just give it a try. I’m amazed that sometimes my biggest disasters make way for my biggest accomplishments.
I would just like to thank Lia and all photos are copyright of Lia Bowen.