Monday, May 23

Lauryn of My Vintage Jewel Box {Interview with}

It's been a while since I last blogged about a friend artist over here! well, here we are: I am happy to welcome Lauryn of My Vintage Jewel Box on Etincelle Creative Studio for {Interview with}. Lauryn is going to share her creative process with us, together with her thoughts on the local arts & crafts scene and her favorite places to hang out.

I met Lauryn at the last Sunday Eclectica market held at The Pigeon Hole cafe {see my review here}. She was selling her beautiful jewelry and it was an honor to showcase my products next to hers.
Be ready for some serious eye candy!

Vintage carved fish and sea waves necklace : jade and sterling silver 

#1 Marie: Please explain to us how and when did you start your business. When did you decide to switch career to become an artisan jeweler?
Lauryn: My journey began over 2 years ago in 2008. I was rather burnt out from corporate life and doing some soul searching for the meaning of life. I think it's destined that I started reading Robin Sharma's The Monk while at the same time I stumbled onto my mum's old unsold jewelry stock including some vintage jade pieces. I wanted to make them into unconventional jade jewelry and started learning traditional jewelry making.
When I made my first piece, I really enjoyed the feeling of forging the metal and creating something with my own two hands. At that time, something within me awakened and I realized that this is what I wanted to do for a long time but it was deeply buried under the practicality of life. The rest{as what they usually say} is history...

Valentine Hearts : Natural ruby cabochon set in a lacy art filigree : natural ruby and sterling silver

#2 Which steps did you take when starting up your business?
I think the most important step is in your head. It took me a long while to finally decide to turn this hobby into a full-time job. However once you have decided everything else comes together very fast, from deciding on a company name, mission and goals, to creating name cards and a website.

#3 How is it like to be an artisan in Singapore, where people get so obsessed over big brands?
It's definitely not easy. However it's not so much about competing against big brand names but being compared with mass produced products. The people I meet are open to explore lesser known brands, but not all are fully appreciative of the work behind handcrafted artisan work.
For example, a typical piece of jewelry I create in US sterling silver or 14K gold and natural gemstones will take an average of 1 to 2 days. While a mass produced piece can take only a few hours! Both are compared on the same criteria, which is price, and the uniqueness and handcrafted work become sidelined.

Twirl rings with rose petal heart : sterling silver and rose gold
Three color twirl rings - sterling silver, rose and yellow golds
Word stacking rings : sterling silver, 14K rose gold, 22K gold

#4 How is the handmade movement here? Have you seen some changes over the past few years?
The handmade community looks to have grown but I still think it's fairly new. Since I first started, I have seen more creative work being made and sold online and in arts and crafts markets. It is always a pleasure to meet a fellow artisan to share about our experiences and exchange ideas.

#5 Are you regularly attending markets? which one would you recommend to a visitor here?
I have actually reduced the number of markets I attend. I used to have at least one every week, right now it's about once a month. There are several flea markets happening in Singapore almost every weekend. It really depends of your center of interest. TimeOut Singapore is a good place to visit to check out on the latest markets.

Lilypad ring : sterling silver

#6 I was extremely impressed to learn that you are a self-taught jeweler. Do you draw a lot before working on material or do you start straight away with metals ans stones?
I am always drawing and sketching as there are usually lots of images and ideas swimming in my head. Once I have selected a few designs I really like, I "hit the bench". The exploration and creation continue as I work on the metal ans stones till what I have in mind turns into a jewelry piece.

#7 Where do you find your inspiration? online, in nature, magazine, books, at exhibitions...?
I find my inspiration in everything that surrounds me, especially nature. I love trees!

Love Bud, a series of unconventional diamonds rings :  natural diamonds set in 14K gold & sterling silver
{psst: the second from left is my favorite, it's absolutely beautiful on your finger. Marie}

#8 Custom made pieces are available, and you have an awesome collection of gems and vintage jade. How do you pick up gemstones? any recommendations when it comes to shop for gems?
Personally I love natural materials and so I am usually drawn to gemstones that have unique colors or cuts or even texture! But at the end of the day, when it comes to custom pieces, it's really what my customers are looking for. Buying gems is very tricky as there is so much fraud around. I think it's very important to purchase gemstones from credible jewelers. I started out with vintage gems form my mum and over the years I have established a pool of overseas suppliers I know I can trust.

Vintage pieces {from top right, clockwise}
* Natural rubbies, blue sapphires, emerald and cubic zirconia earrings set in 18K gold
* Round cubic zirconia set in 22K gold
* Natural rubbies, blue sapphires, emerald and cubic zirconia earrings set in 18K gold
* Heart-shaped cubic zirconia diamonds earrings set in 916 gold

#9 Would you share with us some of your favorite places to shop handmade in Singapore?
For arts & crafts, I would recommend Haji Lane and MAAD, Singapore's very first arts & crafts market (I think!). Also do check out The Pigeon Hole's Sunday Eclectica. It's still fairly new but the owners' mission to support the artists and NGO community in their homey eclectic book cafe is very commendable.

#10 Favorite places to eat and/ or hang out with friends?
I am very into TCC {The Connoisseur Concerto}. I like to admire the wonderful artists paintings they showcase in their restaurants and how their food is displayed like art pieces, while tasting great.
Another great place is 1 Altitude at One Raffles Place - love the feeling of being high above the ground and under an open sky with no other visual obstructions. Gets a bit light-headed after a few drinks though ;)...

Thank you Lauryn! Talking about light-headed and drinks reminds me to introduce you perhaps my favorite collection: Bubbles!
Bubbles: a facet-cut lemon quartz set in sterling silver and 14K gold or rose gold

As per Lauryn's own comment: "New year reminds me of popping champagne to celebrate new beginnings. The organic patterns created by the celebratory drink's bubbles paired with the liquid's cheerful yellow are the inspirations behind this collection."

My Vintage Jewel Box will be part of the next MAAD markets in June 4-5, July 2-3 and August 6-7. Save the date!

My Vintage Jewel Box: Website * Blog * Facebook
and you can drop Lauryn an email for all custom orders: ryn[at]myvintagejewelbox[dot]com

All photos by My Vintage Jewel Box 


Anna said...

Youjours un plaisir de visiter ton blog...
Bonne semaine

Marie Maglaque said...

Merci Anna! tu es toujours la bienvenue :)
Bonne semaine a toi aussi ...

caroline said...

Wouaou tres joli! J'aime beaucoup ses bagues en particulier.... Il me semble que j'ai rate des evenements...sur Singapour. Merci Marie pour cette interview!

ryn said...

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement Marie! I feel deeply honoured to be on your blog :)

Marie Maglaque said...

@Caroline: mais non, mais non... Lauryn sera au MAAD market (Red Dot Museum) le premier weekedn de juin. On pourra y aller ensemble (meme avec les enfants, soyons folles!)

Marie Maglaque said...

@Lauryn: Don't be silly, I am honored to have you on the blog! your work is so beautifully hand crafted...

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