"Which one can I pick now?!"
The MANOLO jewellery line instantly stood out when we met Marta the designer at a London craft market. Manolo combines handcrafted walnut with the graphic illustrations of can-can dancers and 20’s film stars. This makes the jewellery a fun addition to anything you are wearing!
Here at LMNOP we are lucky enough to stock the Francesca, Gloria, Lulu and Nina broaches. Each piece of Manolo always contains a tale and narrative, Marta has taken a break to answer some of our questions on what inspires her creations!
We really love your jewellery at LMNOP, and that each piece has a character, what inspires the fictional women you create?
It’s a mixture of different things; I started off by looking at cameo broaches from the 18th to 19th century, which are very detailed and refined. This gave me the idea that a piece of jewellery could work as a piece of art on your clothes. I also take inspiration from the Toulouse-Lautrec drawings of prostitutes, when viewing his illustrations you see a character and a history. Within my designs you wear a person on your clothes with a short story attached to it, this could remind you of people you know and allow you to identify with the character. Throughout Manolo’s collection of broaches, earrings and necklaces there seems to be a 1920’s theme, have you always loved this era? I didn’t think of it when I first started creating a character. When I make jewellery I am more interested in the stories behind the item, I wanted the illustrations to remind you of something old fashioned, but it is not necessary for that to be attached to one era.
Are there any famous icon’s that inspire your designs?
I don’t really have an ‘icon’; I often get asked this. For me an icon would be an individual person or a certain type of lifetime or story. I like to give only a brief description behind the character of the piece so that the wearer can create their own identity or feeling when wearing a piece from MANOLO.
Something that MANOLO offers is quality hand- made laser cut designs, Is creating your own product important to you, and how does the design process develop when designing new jewellery?
In a recession people want to buy quality and have a special feeling when making a purchase. This is different then shopping on the high street, my work would never work within mass production, I offer both quality hand cut laser printed designs as well as keeping the jewellery affordable. I start off by doing an illustration then the jewellery is laser cut, after that I hand paint and varnish the designs. It would be hard to find, craftsmanship at such an affordable price!
An illustration that inspired the Ingrid broach
Marta's Studio Space
Part of you selling your work is mixing with different designers at craft fairs, is this an exciting part of your business?
The London audience who I mostly sell my work to- is amazing! I want people to have stars in their eyes when they buy my products; it really is an amazing thing to sell directly to the public. Within London it can be lonely and hectic, I want to give my jewellery a personal touch that someone can identify with throughout there day, the character might remind them of themself or even a friend. That’s why I put a positive story and narrative to the pieces. I have tried my hand at lots of different things in my life, where I have worked before and my background as a painter has encouraged me to use different techniques. Three years ago I found out about Laser cutting, whatever you draw you can cut. It is also very accessible to the public. People want to see that something has been hand crafted. When I receive comments from customers online, when people write “I love the broach!” It makes me so Excited!
Finally we at LMNOP are intrigued to find out what you will design next, is there anything that you are working on that is exciting you?
I have three collections. The newest designs are from the AHOY collection. The title comes from an old fashioned greeting for sailors; I source the designs from old, fashioned tattoos, birds and nautical symbols. It is meant to be for a younger market, but to be honest I am more excited about the Las Chica’s and Los Amigo’s!! The broaches within this collection show off my ideas most; as they really make the garment you wear into a gallery. One of The Los Amigos broaches is called Rene and is a French Tailor. The broach shows him walking. You find out later within the description that he is in the process of walking out of his wedding to Jane and instead running off with Mark! I really want to have fun with the jewellery and these broaches let me do this most easily! I want my jewellery to be like a box of pralines, I want people to have stars in their eyes and think, “Which one can I pick now?”
All images Courtesy/Copyright of MANOLO
Interview By Jilly Roberts
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