I was lucky enough to go to school with the incredibly talented jewellery designer Lucy Hutchings, a lovely lady whose work has been featured in many high-fashion magazines the world over. Even if I didn’t already know Lucy, I would have contacted her simply because I love her jewellery. Completely different to anything else around and always making a bold statement, Lucy’s pieces use semi-precious stones (which I currently have a real thing for) amongst many other unusual materials. Having recently relaunched her exclusive jewellery and already featured in this months ‘Marie-Claire’ magazine, now was the perfect time to catch Lucy before her schedule no doubt becomes super hectic again!
Python and Coral drop earrings // £140
Can you introduce yourself and your work please?
I am a high end couture jewellery designer and, having recently re-launched my business following some time out to have my daughter, I both design and retail my work globally through my website www.lucyhutchings.com. Hand making and 3D design are key to my work and my collections feature a number of limited edition and one off items. Despite being regarded as a high end designer I try to present a broad collection in both scale and price point to make my range as accessible as possible to all.
I remember you spending lots of time in the DT studio at school! Did you always want to pursue jewellery designing as a career?
I started training as a silversmith at the age of 13 and jewellery has remained my focus ever since. I studied Wood, Metal Ceramics and Plastics at Brighton Uni as I didn’t want to be confined by the relatively limited material focus of a classic jewellery design degree. I did know I wanted to design jewellery from early on and was lucky enough to work classically with silver at a young age and therefore confirm personally that this was not a material discipline that I wanted to focus on but rather wanted to work with a much more diverse range of materials in a high fashion environment.
You’ve worked for some amazing brands in the past. Can you tell me about them, and what led you to set up on your own?
I started my career in the studios of Erickson Beamon which is an amazing, highly creative, high fashion jewellery label. It was a great place to work as the focus was totally on hand making and 3D design and I got to work on some really exciting projects with press and stores. This was a very creatively inspiring way to start my career but I knew that I would not be content designing for other brands indefinitely and therefore, in the following years I worked for a number of commercial brands in order to gain a really broad range of industry experience. This included work for Accessorize, M&S, Reiss and Oasis among others. I then commenced my eponymous label which I have worked on ever since but still stay connected with the industry at large and have just recently finished working on the jewellery license for French Connection.
Talk me through a typical day, especially how you juggle motherhood with running a business.
Very difficult, as any mother will confirm there is nothing predictable about my days! I just feel very lucky that my career has bought me to a place where I can be flexible around my daughter and enjoy my time with her and still pursue my own work. She will start nursery in the New Year which will bring more structure to my working day again.
Python and coral drop earrings // £140
Where do you find your inspiration? And are there any particular resources you regularly go back to – magazines/blogs/other designers?
For me, the inspiration lies in the sourcing of new, fascinating and challenging materials and working physically with them. I try to avoid source material such as magazines and blogs to keep my work as fresh and organic as possible but I do have a large reference library of books on vintage and historical jewellery which I return to regularly. My hand writing is naturally very graphic and geometric so deco and tribal are themes regularly reoccur in my work. They are aesthetics that never fail to inspire me. In general however I do not tend to follow trends as such but let the feel and theme of the collections grow organically from the direction I am taken in by the materials I have sourced.
What’s your favourite piece?
It’s hard to pick a specific favourite but I wear my mini pendants all the time, I like layering them up in different combinations. I started making the pendants because I think they appeal to a playful side of human nature. The cages move around the beads and the pendants spin because they are suspended from the side rather than dangling off the chain. They are playful objects in a myriad of colours and styles which allow people to make a very personal choice of whichever ones speak to them.
Which career achievement are you most proud of?
I have been very lucky that my work has been extensively supported by both press and celebrities. It has allowed me to work with some fantastic publications and individuals and collectively forms a wonderful record of career highlights.
Where do you source your materials from?
I am totally inspired by materials and therefore sourcing them is a vital part of the design process for me. I scour markets all over the world for stones, beads, leathers, ribbons, anything that I find interesting really. I then start playing around with them and the pieces grow from there. How the components are connected together is also really important to me, and finding new, challenging materials offers new opportunities for me to experiment with this.
Python (yes, python skin!) clasp pendant // £450
What are your future plans for Lucy Hutchings Jewellery?
Having just relaunched, evolving and developing the new website and concept is still going to be my main focus in the short term. I will also be doing a number of design collaborations with stores and currently have a collaboration with Start London in Shoreditch. It is a mini collection of pendants inspired by space and the solar system.