In Conversation with ~ Lennie Beare.
Lennie Beare is a Designer / Maker / Jeweller in Norwich Norfolk. In conversation we ask her more about her plans and her practise.
How long have you been silversmithing? How did you learn your craft?
I’ve been making jewellery for over 5 years now. I learnt most of the skills I use while at uni, I studied BA (Hons) in Design and Craft at University of Brighton; a course which allows experimentation in a number of materials before you narrow down and specialise on the medium you prefer, for me that meant a focus on small metals. When I finished uni I set up my studio and began making the jewellery I’d been dreaming up.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
By biggest inspiration is the process of making, I enjoy leaving the marks made by the hand tools visible on the pieces, the shape is somewhat dictated by the act of making, with a lot of inspiration being drawn from industrial chain.
Photograph by Lennie Beare.
Who are your favourite artists/thinkers/makers/doers?
I’m inspired by those around me, my sister Thea Beare-Gotterson, a Graphic designer, my mum Sarah Beare, an artist, my friend’s Rachael Cocker and Deva from Phaedra Clothing, to name a few.
What are your favourite pieces in your own collection? And how long would that take to create (perhaps loosely talk us through your process)?
My most worn piece is probably my LINKS3 necklace, a chunky chain made from flat silver sheet, it’s big and makes a statement. I start by free hand drawing the link shapes on metal and then cutting them out with a piercing saw. I then solder them together in a chain and follow that with lots of filing, sanding and polishing; it’s a lengthy process! Because it’s a heavy piece it then needs to be hallmarked at The London Assay office.
You’ve made the switch to recycled silver, does that add any extra complexity, I noted the raw material is more expensive.
Because I’ve made a conscious decision to be as environmentally friendly as possible, each step involves more research than normal. It’s ridiculous that recycled silver is more expensive, but it’s something that I feel is worth it. I have an extractor fan to help reduce the pollutants and dust particles in the air and I use an oxygen compressor rather than oxygen canisters to reduce my impact. Mixing the gas with oxygen makes it more efficient as well, so uses less gas.
What do you love most about jewellery and how you feel wearing it?
I think jewellery offers another level of expression that isn’t possible from clothes. Maybe it’s because it’s shiny, but I love the extra sparkle it adds.
As someone passionate about protecting the environment, could you give us some advice on small changes we could make to our daily routine that will reduce our impact and footprint.
I think my attitude towards protecting the environment is thoughtfulness and consciousness. Making considered decisions; If you want to eat meat, just eat it less and buy it locally. If you want to buy something, think if you can buy it second hand or from a maker. Most importantly, question whether you can get the thing you want plastic free.
Photograph by Hannah Hutchins.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m in the process of finishing designing my latest collection. It’s been over a year since I’ve designed new things, and I just let it happen, I never want to put pressure on myself to churn out season after season of designs. This happened really organically and it’s inspiring to feel the designs flow and translate from my mind to object. It will be released in the next month.