US: Mireia your approach to jewellery making is very distinctive and, in my experience, unique. How did you arrive at this?
MR: My intention is to promote play. I play with my prototypes for hours and get inspiration for developments or entirely new concepts from my interaction with them. I love to think that the user would similarly be able to gain inspiration from my pieces and enjoy interacting with them as much as I do. It is through manipulation that the pieces come alive.
The flexibility of the materials, after I have processed them, inspired me to make the pieces that they create flexible in design. This means the bracelet can become a necklace or a pendant, the ring can be worn in different forms, as a pendant and by a wide range of ring sizes.
My transition from a commercial designer working for several large jewellery companies to producing work to my own brief, with freedom, is recent. I feel that this sense of liberation comes across in my work. I found a lot of the commercial projects I worked on bland: I always thought jewellery should be more interactive and playful.
US: Which came first, the abstract idea or was it through playing and experimenting with certain materials?
MR: It was definitely though play. After designing FLAT PACK-jewellery (plastic pieces which come flat and are given volume through the wearers choices in twists and folds) I began thinking about using more traditional jewellery materials. Speaking to people about the work I came to better understand the innate value attributed to precious metals and how that could be successful in a collection. The challenge was getting these metals to behave as I wanted! It took a great deal of work to perfect the technique I have now developed.
US: What are the practical considerations you have encountered in the manufacture of the Lissom collection?
MR: I make all the pieces by hand, myself. It is a time-consuming process but I am gradually getting faster! The greatest challenge was to get silver and gold to be highly flexible, and strong, especially after soldering them.
US: Which is your favourite material to work with?
MR: I have been surprised by how much I have enjoyed my return to working with silver and gold. I would not say I have a specific preference for one material as they have such different design potential, the exploration of which is key to my work. I often start with the material and work to find out what it’s qualities are, and what they offer me in terms of design.
Thank you Mireia, the exceptional quality of your work has been reflected in the enthusiastic reaction to it by our Barbican visitors!
Mireia’s work (which we first saw at the New Designers show, as shown in this film) can now be seen and bought from the Designer Jewellers Group pop-up shop in the Barbican Centre.