The first time we came across Lorne Jewellery on Instagram, we instantly picked up on a style that we hadn’t seen before. With much jewellery design in South Africa heading in a sophisticated and edgy direction, it was exciting to discover a line that’s bold while maintaining a certain playful innocence.
Based in Cape Town, Lorne founder Gillian Lawrence’s signature look stems from her practical view of adornments. After her sentimental items of jewellery were stolen, her relationship with jewellery as a whole became decidedly less nostalgic and, as such, she found the freedom to play and discover her own language when designing her pieces. We chatted to this up-and-coming talent about her inspiration, process and what’s next.
What do you love most about designing jewellery?
I love that the market is so unique and bold. It allows me to enjoy designing and manufacturing with enthusiasm, while also giving me a good bit of freedom. I’m a one-gal show at the moment, and I’d never be able to keep up morale if I was mass-producing millions of one thing. So it’s great that I can make once-offs daily. I like that I can combine designs and keep them whimsical and spontaneous – and that the market is as excited about them as I am.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I really can’t say. For me, it’s non specific. Obviously there are stimuli in fashion and media, but I wonder if my progression and excitement to make something new could be inspiration? So maybe my inspiration is anticipation. Also, given the way that I work, I have bits and pieces of unfinished items and cut-offs scattered around my workspace that inspire me at random times, even if it’s just a matter of glancing over at two scraps that have fallen next to each other and have done the designing for me.
What is one thing you can’t work without?
Music. It’s a massive driving force in my creativity and productivity. Anything from ambient to hip-hop. The girls in studio often tell me how people stand there shouting my name while I’m deaf to the world. Also, on the occasion of repetitive work, I love listening to The New Yorker and other short-story podcasts.
Describe your workspace in three words.
Do you clean?
Is there a message you hope to get across with your jewellery?
Initially, I wanted to promote the more experimental side of jewellery, although the message isn’t necessarily something I consider as much any more. I think that local jewellers are doing incredible things, and I’m just happy to be involved.
What are your favourite motifs to work with and why?
I like to render a story through photographing my jewellery. Somehow the characters I’ve made and the shapes and squiggles form an unexpected (but also not so unexpected) relationship. I also enjoy the challenge of creating characters, for example, the Edgar Degas commission earrings I made a while back. I think building on that style of jewellery design could keep me entertained for years.
What has been your favourite piece thus far?
Again, I can’t say. I don’t really like to overthink it. I like all of my children equally. However, A Bird Named Frank and I did a collaboration recently that’s definitely worth having a look at.
Anything we should look out for from Lorne in the future?
Hopefully expansions – any interested takers out there? Also, more collaborations are in the mix, which is always exciting. But really, each day is super unpredictable and presents new opportunities, people to meet and growing excitements.
Visit gillianlawrence.com for more details.