Thursday, March 14, 2013

Strength, Shape & Symmetry | An Interview with Claire Hammon of Meadowlark Jewellery

So first of all tell us a little about yourself. Who is Claire?

I am the design obsessed co-owner & co-designer of Meadowlark Jewellery.

When did you first get involved in the "fashion" industry?

I dropped out of school when I was 15 and I made clothes for myself - it was the original grunge era ha! I met someone who knew someone that had a small fashion boutique and I started selling my clothes in the store.

It sold really well and eventually I turned it into a proper business and named it Urchin. I moved into street/skate wear and then sold the business almost 10 years ago now.

How did the idea & concept of the brand Meadowlark come to fruition?

Greg (my husband) and I had been seeing each other for a little while, I was working as a freelance graphic designer and he was working in a skate shop and making jewellery. It was a natural thing for us to combine our skills. The name Meadowlark cam from a quote by Ambrose Bierce - "the strange metallic note of the meadowlark, suggesting the clash of vibrant blades" We felt that this quote encapsulated what we were doing and what we intended to do.

How would you describe the jewellery of Meadowlark?

Individually hand crafted high polished jewellery made from quality metals. We are purists and don't like to use cheap inferior metals. Quality is what we are about. Our jewellery is often quite graphic and dark but sometimes really light and pretty.
We work intuitively so our designs ebb and flow, there is always a push and pull with everything we design.

 Where do you draw your influences for the label?

It's so hard to pinpoint it because every day so much flashes past our eyes. But the strongest influences are architecture, tattoos, nature, pop culture and fashion.

Who are some of your personal fashion & style icons?

I don't really look towards anyone in particular, I am more of a lover of clothing than of fashion so I wear only things that I love and that feel good. I guess I look to myself rather than outwards.

 Your collections come across as very strong yet subtle. Feminine yet androgynous. How do texture, lines and shape play a role in your designs? and how much do popular aesthetics?

I think every piece shows lines and shape, we don't release anything unless we feel each line and curve is perfect. Shape is everything and symmetry is something that shows throughout our pieces and everything we are surround ourselves with day to day.

 How would you describe your creative process from idea to execution?

We talk regularly about designs, gather our thoughts and make time together to discuss our ideas. We start separately and then work through our concepts together. Each collection usually has three strong themes within it and often one theme is Greg's, one is mine and one is a combination. We refine each others ideas and expand them towards the completion of a collection. We are always adding last minute pieces right up until we are in the middle of shooting a campaign.

Who are your favourite designers and labels and is there any one designer you would love to collaborate with?

I love clothes individually more than specific designers but the brands I wear most days are Jimmy D, Miss Crabb & NomD. I have a mild obsession and growing collection of Ann Demeulemeester shoes. We collaborate with Jimmy D regularly which is awesome because it allows us to make much bigger bolder and sculptural pieces.
We would love to collaborate with Lover in Australia and the ultimate would be Ann Demeulemeester - completely opposite brands.

Have you ever had any celebrity clients? Is there anyone you would really love to design a piece for?

We have gifted jewellery to a few of the celebrities whose style we love. We usually get them to choose the pieces they want, so they are getting something they love rather than just having gifts thrown at them. Some of the awesome people that own Meadowlark are Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Florence Welch, Grimes & Bat for Lashes.
We would love to design jewellery for Christine Centenera - because she is so bold with her style we could do something quite full on.
It would be pretty sweet to get some jewellery on Beyonce too hahaha.

 Do you do any custom work and if so can you tell us about it?

We do a little bit of custom work, not a lot because we are so busy. We often customize our current styles with special stones. Greg also does one off engagement rings and wedding rings, they are not always traditional styles but they are often very bold.

What are your favourite materials and concepts to work with?

We love working with gold and diamonds and black diamonds. It's always awesome when someone wants something a little darker and different to the norm. Gold is getting more and more expensive so it's becoming luxurious to do Meadowlark pieces in gold.

When you are not designing what can we find you doing?

Pretty much working on running the business all the time. We have a two year old daughter so we are pretty busy having fun with her too.
We spend a lot of time eating out and hanging with friends. We work really hard so we don't get a lot of time to just relax. We need a holiday.

 Meadowlark has done some work recently with the animal welfare organisation SPCA. Can you tell us how this came about and why the cause is important to you?

We did the Love Cats collection and we used our own cool cat Samuel in the campaign images. A lot of cat charities contacted us including the SPCA. They asked us to design a print for their merch, I organized a campaign shoot for it and pretty much had creative control over the whole project and I am really proud of what we have achieved. They have sold a lot of our pieces and are continuing to.
We regularly donate to the SPCA, they are important to us because we are major animal lovers, we are vegetarians.

What can we expect from Meadowlark in the future? 

Change! We worked with a new creative team on the next collection coming out in August, it is a different look for us and the jewellery is really bold. I can't wait to put it out there! Plus many more collections to come. We love jewellery!