Amelia’s Magazine | Inspired by Illustration: An interview with jewellery designer Annabelle Lucilla

Annabelle Lucilla by Laura Hickman
Annabelle Lucilla by Laura Hickman.

I first ran across the beautiful illustrated etched designs of Annabelle Lucilla at the One Year On exhibition at New Designers 2013, and her work instantly caught my eye. When it turned out that she knew me from using social media an instant rapport was born. Here Annabelle talks us through her inspiration and design process: and explains why you must never underestimate the power of online networking in building your career in the creative industries.

Annabelle Lucilla hovering hummingbird design
Annabelle Lucilla: hovering hummingbird design.

When did you start to combine your love of illustration and jewellery to create ‘Metallic Graphics’, and how did it all start out?
I have always drawn intricately; my mum is an illustrator so I acquire that from her. I started to create jewellery when I was around 13, but I didn’t combine these two techniques until I was in my 2nd year of my Jewellery and Silversmithing degree. I initially set out to study Surface Pattern design at London College of Fashion. However, I felt like I could always come back to textile design, after I had learnt a technical skill that would set me apart from others. Discovering etching was a ‘bingo’ moment for me as I was always chasing after the idea of making an illustration into a wearable, permanent object, which had character and form. My Illustrations started out as large ‘motif’ stories, and then I created certain singular characters to go in the story. They are based around mythical tales, ancient cultures and lands and symbolism.

Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery by Daniel Alexander
Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery by Daniel Alexander.

What was the best thing about studying at Sir John Cass?
I very much enjoyed my 3 years of study at the Cass, especially being able to explore a wide range of processes and techniques. Most of all I was allowed to find my niche aesthetic, as many find that difficult when producing their final degree collection. I was quite sure about what I wanted my collection to look like, as well as what techniques I wanted to combine. I was given the opportunity to take part in a range of competitions and selling opportunities which helped me learn about creating a commercial collection. I also worked with a wide range of materials and finishes, such as resin, horn, aluminium, leather, rubber, powder coating, anodizing and not forgetting etching!

Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery, Peacock necklace
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your first major collection?
My debut collection, Oriental Embodiments is very decadent, yet classical. There are definite hints of Ancient Grecian and Indian patternation and form. I got a lot of inspiration from looking at Indian bodily adornment, and how they decorate every part of their bodies in jewels and chains and droplets. I wanted to reinvent some traditional techniques such as Filigree and stone setting, and so I contemporized and refined them to give them a modern feel. The collection features etched, hollow Peacocks, which originate from my hand drawn illustration. This was the connection to India, and they have a very regal, majestic aura, which I wanted the collection to reflect. I juxtaposed these curvilinear forms with geometric forms to give a sense of balance and modernity.

Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery by Zo Bevan
Annabelle Lucilla Jewellery by Zo Bevan.

How do you envisage your jewellery been worn?
The purpose of my debut commercial collection was to give the consumer a more wearable version of the large, decadent items I made for my degree collection. I want my jewellery to be worn as everyday staple accessories, with an added hint of glamour and luxury. The designs I created were envisaged to be worn by all ages, not one particular group of people. The collection consists of some classical, dainty earrings, large statement necklaces and cool, contemporary rings and bracelets.

Annabelle Lucilla Jewllery, Gold Oriental Peacock Earrings
What did you learn on the Crafts Council Hot House programme?
This programme was an amazing experience. Subjects ranged from making a business plan to pricing your product correctly. From learning about how to plan financially for the year ahead, to learning about what your work is all about and then in turn who your target market is. What was helpful was that it was spread over 6 months, and tailored directly to your specific practice. You could improve your business as the course progressed. I met so many wonderful people, and having my Hot House ‘Buddy’ Imogen Belfield was so much help, as I could have regular meetings to go over aspects of my business. Overall, it is a programme I would wholly recommend to anyone wanting to start or improve their business.

Annabelle Lucilla by Annabel Dover
Annabelle Lucilla by Annabel Dover.

Which other creatives do you recommend we should check out?
I would recommend people to take a look at Sophie Harley’s jewellery. She is someone I admire greatly, and who creates exquisite, storytale pieces. I love that there is real meaning behind her designs, and people always connect with her designs for this reason.

Oriental Peacock Earrings Annabelle Lucilla Hastings
What is it like working at Cockpit Arts?
Cockpit Arts is a fantastic collection of designers and makers. Being part of a large community makes you feel like there is always someone to help you if you need advice. It is a wonderful start for me as I only launched my business in January 2013, and the collection was finished in April and so having a professional studio to go to and work makes all the difference when you want to be taken seriously with your profession. The Open Studios in June and November are great selling opportunities, as the public is brought to you, and they are fascinated to see the designers in their working studios.

Annabelle Lucilla Jewllery Silver Oriental Peacock Necklace
You’ve already done extremely well; securing loads of awards and bursaries in a very short time period. What are your top tips for gaining recognition as a new independent jeweller?
I would recommend entering lots of design competitions, and to try and be part of larger organisations, as these can help spread your name for you. Nothing happens instantly, but collectively, each achievement will help people recognise your brand. Social media platforms are also great for reaching a wider audience, so plan to tweet or share news on facebook everyday, as regular comments and posts help more people find you. Also, Social Media is what it is, ‘Social’ so interact with people, and make connections. Lastly, be original, and find your unique selling point that will keep your designs fresh and instinctively associated with your brand.

Annabelle Lucilla Jewllery Purple Agate Necklace with tassels
What next?
I am very much looking forward to exhibiting at International Jewellery London this week, which will officially launch my debut collection. This is the largest show I have done so far, so it will be good to show my collection to such a wide range of retailers, buyers and stockists from the U.K. and abroad. I am launching a few new etched designs in late September, so keep a look out for that. I am also showing at London Fashion Week as part of a collective with one of my online stockists, Wonsuponatime, which I am very much looking forward to. I am also taking on a few more established online stockists in the next few months. Christmas is going to be busy, with the Cockpit Arts Open Studios in November. I will also be exhibiting as part of an exciting curated exhibition about ‘the diverse and eclectic cultural influences present within the British craft scene‘ in the new year.

Categories ,Ancient Grecian, ,Annabel Dover, ,Annabelle Lucilla, ,Cockpit Arts, ,Crafts Council, ,Daniel Alexander, ,Filigree, ,Hot House, ,Imogen Belfield, ,Indian, ,International Jewellery London, ,interview, ,jewellery, ,Jewellery and Silversmithing, ,Laura Hickman, ,London College of Fashion, ,London Fashion Week, ,Metallic Graphics, ,New Designers, ,One Year On, ,Open Studios, ,Oriental Embodiments, ,Peacocks, ,Sir John Cass School of Art, ,Social Media, ,Sophie Harley, ,Surface Pattern, ,Wonsuponatime, ,Zo Bevan

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Becky Dinnage: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Becky Dinnage Terranium 72
Becky Dinnage of Ludicrous Prints is a remarkably talented illustrator and surface designer, infusing her fantastical designs with incredible detail despite her imperfect eyesight. Here she shares her story and her jungle reef artwork for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion.

Becky Dinnage Portrait
I first encountered you as graduate from the surface pattern design course at LCC, what have you been up to since then?
I started work as a graphic designer shortly after graduating, with a designer I had interned with during my degree. I loved being in such a creative challenging environment until health issues meant I had to stop. I learnt so much about how the design world worked, and how to run a small design company – which made me all the more determined to work for myself.

Becky Dinnage
Becky Dinnage
How would you describe your style, and how does your love of pattern infuse your illustrations?
I’ve always loved pattern and found that I couldn’t let it go as I moved from working with textiles to paper. I would describe my illustrative style as intricate, slightly surreal and kind of quirky! I find if I don’t fill my drawings with a ludicrous amount of detailed patterns and doodles I can’t connect with my work… I want it to be crammed with interesting things that people keep discovering every time they view it.

Becky Dinnage
What have been your biggest challenges in producing work as an illustrator?
My biggest challenge in producing illustrations has been my vision. I developed an eye condition just before university and have since had to have my cornea replaced. This set me back quite a bit and unfortunately didn’t help improve my sight. I am now partially sighted but awaiting a special contact lens which I am hoping will give me my eyes back!! It’s been an interesting journey, my illustrative style being so intricate and battling with my vision; there are days where my eyes want to hide away behind my sunglasses but I know I have to keep pushing to get where I want to be.

Becky Dinnage Avocet Screen Print 72
What other jobs keep you going?
Alongside illustrating I work part time in a Ceramic Painting studio. Most of our customers are kids and I love working with them, they’re so fun and imaginative and extremely inspiring, so every day at work is just one big creative bubble of joy! It’s also a great job to give my eyes a rest, which makes me fresh for my days off to illustrate.

Becky Dinnage
You have already produced a series of images for an adult colouring book, how did you get this commission?
A few months back I showed my designs at a local Pop Up Art Gallery and the Senior Editorial Director of a well known book company was there (incognito of course) and we got to chatting about how my work would look great in a colouring book, something I had always wanted to do. We exchanged details and it went from there. It was such a fun project, and I would love to work on my own intricately detailed colouring book in the future. I completely believe in putting yourself out there and talking to everyone, you never know who they are or what they could bring to your life!

Becky Dinnage
What kind of landscapes inspire you the most?
Anywhere with water is an inspiration to me; I am happiest when I’m near the sea, or by a lake or meandering along the side of a stream. I love the force water brings to completely change a landscape, its look, the emotions, the colour. A little while ago we bought a camper van, and it completely changed my life. I adored being out in the wild amongst nature, discovering new places that we could ‘live in’ for a day or two before moving on to the next adventure. It bought out the ancestral gypsy in me.

Becky Dinnage  Sealife Colouring in Original Draft
Where did you get the idea for your jungle reef seascape?
With my desire to be close to water, I set out to create my own pattern-filled, bold and graphic underwater jungle, full of all my favourite rainbow colours and quirky and imaginative shapes and animals. I’ve been inspired by the Great Barrier Reef and London Aquarium, that are both filled to the brim with unusual magical creatures. With my poor vision I’m sensitive to light, and enjoy the night, the stars and the moon… and how these connect so importantly to our oceans to keep them moving and growing. All hand drawn, I’ve created a repeat pattern out of the image that should flow horizontally like the ocean currents around earth.

Becky Dinnage
What are your biggest hopes for the future?
I want to start my shop, selling my prints and products, and to expand my brand. I hope I can continue to be creative for the rest of my life, it’s what keeps me happy and is all I can think of being. I would love to work on more commercial briefs and projects, as they shake up my imagination and push me out of my comfort zone, into a more challenging exciting world.

Thank you so much to Becky Dinnage for being so candid about her life as an artist, an inspiration to us all! Find her artwork in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion very soon!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Becky Dinnage, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,Great Barrier Reef, ,interview, ,Jungle Reef, ,LCC, ,London Aquarium, ,Ludicrous Prints, ,Surface Pattern

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