How To Stay Cool This Summer by geraldine kane

As much as I love a hot summer's day, I find it really hard to stay cool while maintaining a convincing air of put-togetherness. Spaghetti-string vests and flip flops are fine for the beach or the park, but don't really work for going about your business in real life. Whether you're just on your way to work or off on a chic city break, you are going to need some strategies.

As a veteran of hot and humid summers in Tokyo, here are my recommendations...
・Light, breathable fabrics mean that you can cover up without suffering (polyester is not your friend).
・Cap or cropped sleeves keep the sophistication level high while allowing you to bare your legs and/or go for a low neckline. 
・If you are baring your skin make sure you have some serious sunscreen on, it's just not worth it.
・Invest in good quality sandals that are not going to disintegrate after a couple of sweaty wears
・Accessorise with simple pieces that aren't going to weigh you down. Wicker allows you to carry a substantial bag without it looking too heavy.
・I use this natural insect spray to deter mosquitoes. Best to avoid inhaling chemicals such as DEET which is often found in insect repellent.
・Have a light wrap at the ready for over-air conditioned shops and for cooler evenings.

Have a look at our Style board on Pinterest for more ideas 

Stay cool & enjoy!

👓

G
 


Spring Wedding Outfits by geraldine kane

Wedding season is starting with a bang for us. We have two weddings next month, one in England and one in Italy and they are just one week apart.

So, I sense some panic shopping on the horizon. My usual first stop is Zara but there's a good chance you'll be accidentally twinning with another guest at the wedding.

I'm going through my Style board on Pinterest and have picked out a few outfits I like. I guess I'm looking for something with a midi length and a cinched-in waist, a feminine silhouette but really soft and comfortable for swanning around in Tuscany :D

If you see anything out there, let me know!

Thanks,

G


Spring 2017 by geraldine kane

A walk along Kanda river in the university town of Waseda, Tokyo...

You can see 早稲田さくらまつり written on the paper lanterns, meaning Waseda cherry blossom festival. It was a sunny breezy day and the trees and lanterns kept swaying in the wind, making it difficult to get a focused shot. The results, however, manage to capture the hazy, dreamy atmosphere of the cherry blossom clouds. 

🌸 G


 

SORA Vibes by geraldine kane

ISLE.jewellery.SORA.vibes

Here's a little visual introduction to the ideas and inspiration behind the new Sora collection. We wanted Sora, 空 meaning Sky in Japanese, to be a modern, fine jewellery response to the romantic idea of the night sky. The designs have been honed and simplified in order to create fresh and modern jewellery that can be worn with anything, for a very long time.  The classic black and gold colour pallete is made up of 9ct yellow gold and conflict-free black diamonds, giving a dark sparkle and sophisticated edge to simple forms.

Any of the pieces in the Sora collection could be worn with a crisp white shirt, a casual t-shirt or a floral summer dress - and that versatility was the main motivation behind creating this collection of Modern Romantic investment pieces.

✨🖤✨🖤✨🖤✨🖤✨

We hope you like them!

G


Colour and Texture, Tokyo by geraldine kane

Tokyo is a city full of lines and textures, an unrelenting patchwork of pastels and chromatic greys. I often wonder if it's because of the boom time in the 80s that there are so many beautifully faded colours here. I can imagine these buildings were much more vibrant when Japan was in its economic bubble. Perhaps the strong winter sun has dampened their vibrancy over the years. Or maybe it's the frequency of earthquakes that dictates the materials used in construction and therefore the colour choices available. There isn't much red brick here, and the shapes and details are very different to Ireland and other European cities.These funny little low-rise greyish boxes are very distinct to Tokyo and other cities in Japan.

The streets and buildings are kept incredibly clean and are well-maintained, but there is a real retro feel in Tokyo once you get away from the modern glass of places like central Shinjuku, Marunouchi and Omotesando with their purpose-built office buildings, designer shops and high-end restaurants.

I wandered around the edges of Shinjuku yesterday, visiting small quiet neighbourhoods within walking distance of the neon and noise you expect to find in a major city. I had intended to go to the park in central Shinjuku but found it was too crowded to go in. Shinjuku Gyoen is usually a peaceful, sparsely-populated space but we are almost at 満開 'mankai' (full bloom) in Tokyo and everyone is hoping to sit, eat and drink with friends under the cherry blossoms - a lovely way to spend a Sunday.

Instead of photographing the blossoms in the packed park, I decided to walk around for a bit and capture the pastel tones of this strangely beautiful city. I've cropped a lot of the images as I wanted to really highlight the layers and textures of a city of 13.62 million people :) There is little outside space and gardens are really a rarity. Windows are often tiny or covered to provide privacy. It's likely that you'll look out of your apartment window and be facing a wall 30cm in front of you. Yet it's the sense of calm, the general safety, and the orderly and respectful interactions of its citizens that makes living in such a densely populated city not only possible, but very pleasant - especially on a clear sunny day like this.

またね

G


 

Commissioned Diamond Engagement Ring by geraldine kane

A client came to me asking for a ring to propose to his girlfriend with on her birthday. Something simple and beautiful that she could wear and remember the moment he asked the question, but not an engagement ring - he was smart enough to know that she would want input on that :)

He chose a 14ct matt yellow gold version of our Fionn Arc Ring, which she now wears on her right hand. On her left hand she now wears this...

Orla knew from the beginning that she wanted a warm coloured diamond, along the champagne-pinky-peachy-mocha tones. 

Through some further chats and exchanging of inspirational photos, we narrowed down the small minute details that may not be obvious at first, allowing us to create the exact ring of her dreams.

-Warm coloured stone. Peachy-brown more than yellow. Light & soft rather than deep-coloured
-Three stone setting to create a wider ring
-Around 1ct sized centre stone
-White side stones to contrast the coloured centre stone
-Round, soft shapes. Nothing square or hard-edged
-Simple, open settings to allow as much light in as possible
-V-shaped settings, not square settings (when viewed from the side, the setting looks like a V)
-Side stones to be slightly tilted outwards, tucked in beside the centre diamond setting
-14ct or 18ct yellow gold to compliment the warm centre stone.
-A triangular band (a cross-section of the band looks like a triangle, but with softened edges) 
-The ring should overall highlight the diamonds. The base being a simple, elegant support
-A clear budget with no unexpected costs, very important!

You don't need to know all these details at the beginning, they just evolve organically through the design process. Also, you have to be willing to let go of some design features that may harm the overall balance and design of the ring, simplicity is key. 

We love a new challenge so if you would like to discuss any kind of custom-designed jewellery, just send us an email at info@isle-jewellery.com to get the ball rolling.

Didn't turn out too badly at all!

G


 

Pin Cushion Ring by geraldine kane

I made this for my sister's birthday (H) a few weeks ago...

She likes to sew and makes beautiful things. So I thought she should have something special to help her make beautiful things.

It was difficult to stitch such a tiny cushion using the thick kimono fabric, but after several attempts I managed to get a reasonably neat finish. 

The sides are a matt finish and the base has a high polished finish, just to add a bit of texture to such simple lines.

I wonder will she wear it...
 

Gold vermeil ring [18ct gold plated silver]
Kimono fabric cushion

Thank you

G


Modern Sparkle by geraldine kane

Solid 18ct yellow gold Fionn Mini Gem that sparkles as you move

G


Showcase 2016 by geraldine kane

ISLE.Showcase2016

We took part in Showcase in Dublin for the second time at the end of January. We had learnt a lot from the first year, little important behind-the-scenes things like remembering to bring double-sided tape, a tape measure and to bring a step ladder- except we forgot to bring the step ladder. But we managed and were very pleased with the results 

It's a long few days and a lot of preparation work but it's worth it - the positive feedback, new friends and new stockists all add up to days well spent.

Thank you,

H

ISLE.Showcase2016

Flora drama by geraldine kane

I've been wanting to create a floral range for a long time and have started and stopped many times. Back in the day, when I was studying Art at school, I was obsessed by Art Nouveau and anything ornately curly and organic. I progressed to studying Metalsmithing & Jewellery at uni and my focus turned to contrasting masculine and feminine, organic and industrial.

Now, many years on, I seem to have lost my soft side. Nothing gives me more joy these days than flat surfaces and sharp angles. So that explains my losing battle with my Flora range. 

During a trip home, I took some photos of heather and scrub just outside Newcastle, Co.Down. I realised that focusing on individual flower forms was limiting me and found the whole scene to be much more inspiring. I picked out patterns using simple dots, suggesting movement and a kind of organic rhythm.

My new obsession is dot-based 

I guess I'm reverting back to my contrast days in uni - simple, hard shapes mixed with organic patterns. Who knows, maybe the next collection will be an Art Nouveau- inspired extravaganza.

Probably not :) 

FLORA [take 3000] is well underway and I am loving it. We will be exhibiting it at Showcase 2016 and launching it in the early half of 2016. Nothing like a deadline to encourage creativity.

ISLE_floradot.jpg

Thank you,

G


Stor, A New Irish Design Shop in Tokyo by geraldine kane

There's been a lot happening here in Tokyo recently. I've been working with a good friend, Mizue, who has decided to open a design shop in Daikanyama that showcases contemporary  Irish design.

The idea began slowly, a long time ago. We had been discussing, on and off, Mizue's desire for a new challenge and a new career. Originally a graphic designer, she hoped for something creative but with a different pace of working.

After exhibiting at Showcase 2015 with ISLE, I showed her photos of the interesting and beautiful products I saw there. Instantly she said 'I'll open an Irish Design shop' - and she did.

www.stor-daikanyama.com
@stor_daikanyama [Instagram + Twitter]

Thank you,

G


New ISLE stockist by geraldine kane

Very excited to tell you that ISLE Jewellery is now available at the beautifully peaceful F.E. McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge, County Down.

Exhibitions, workshops, sculpture garden, stylish cafe and the opportunity to try on some of our jewellery - a perfect day out I'd say! :D

Chat soon,

 

G


Malaysia Part 2 [ b o r n e o ] by geraldine kane

Welcome to the second part of our Malaysia trip. It turns out I had taken far too many photos of monkeys so found it very difficult to choose. I've shown a lot of restraint in this post! 

 Just a short flight from KL (Kuala Lumpur) and you can find yourself in Malaysian Borneo, full of lush jungle and tropical wildlife. We flew over the peaks of Mount Kinabalu as it poked through the clouds.

We spent a few days on a tiny island just off KK  (Kota Kinabalu) called Manukan Island. I'll not rub it in too much but there was beautiful sand, sea, scuba-diving and a very lucky upgrade to a two-story beach house. Oh, and the odd G&T while watching sunset from the rocky edge of the island. 

After reluctantly leaving the island, we took another short flight to the northeast of Borneo island to Sandakan. From there we went to Sepilok, an area famous for its orangutan sanctuary. It's a rehabilitation centre for orangutans that have been orphaned. They help prepare the orphaned orangutans for life in the wild, supplementing their diet with scheduled feeding times. The orangutans return to the feeding area twice a day for the fruit the centre provides, this is when visitors get the chance to see them from a safe distance. 

We also had the chance to see Silver Leaf monkeys (above) and the interesting Proboscis monkeys (below). We could watch them feed, play, nitpick and we even saw a couple of battles for territory between the male Proboscis monkeys. 

I hope you enjoyed my attempt at wildlife photography! I'm not used to dealing with such animate and unpredictable subjects :P

That wraps up our trip to Malaysia, I really recommend it if you like a holiday with plenty of variety in terms of food, culture, city and wildlife.

If you missed Part 1 about Kuala Lumpur, it's here.  

 

Thanks for reading!

 

G


Matt gold by geraldine kane

Just working away on some new orders today. I haven't had much time to add posts recently because I've been flat out, but I just wanted to share this beautiful 10K yellow gold FIONN SKINNY ring. When polishing metal, we work down from rough sandpaper to a very fine grain to reveal a shiny surface. This ring is part-way through the process, each face is smooth but the overall effect is matt. The angles still catch the light but the glow is soft and really shows the warmth of yellow gold.

Well, I'd better get back to it...


Lunula by geraldine kane

I've spent the morning drilling decorative holes into metal and the process reminded me of this project we started a couple of years ago (you'd be amazed by the number of temporarily shelved projects I have stashed in my cupboards). It was inspired by a trip to the gorgeous National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

You can see the clear influence from these very early examples of jewellery, circa 2000 B.C.! It's hard to believe they are around 4,000 years old, a little patch up and polish and they would still be very relevant today. My idea was to hold on to the linear patterns, simplifying them a little further. The large pieces in the first set of images were hand engraved in brass then plated in 18k yellow gold for a kind of one-off gallery piece. My plan was/is to take the essence of these designs and refine them further to make more wearable but equally beautiful pieces that still hold on to the history of ancient Irish Jewellery. 

Above are my original, little bit dodgy, attempts at using Illustrator to plan the design for the engraving. We made a pair of earrings too but I need to hoke deeper in the cupboards to find them! They were domed and a hook was added through a little drilled hole at the top if each circle.

There's definitely a little bit of an Egyptian vibe to these designs but it's lovely to know they were created independently by our skillful ancestors.

Looks like Irish design was just as strong as 4,000 years again as it is today !

Now, where did I put those earrings.

G




A Little Trip to Malaysia - part 1 by geraldine kane

PART 1: Kuala Lumpur

Last month we went on a little trip to Malayasia. Our main purpose was to attend a wedding, but we have to admit that the food, culture and the chance to see Orangutans and other jungle wildlife were a big draw too. 

Malaysia offers an amazing mix of cultures from Malay, Chinese and Indian, to traces of the British Empire (the three pronged sockets being a minor example of these).

One example of Indian Malaysian culture is the Batu Caves, not too far from Kuala Lumpur. It consists of huge 400 million-year-old limestone caves, several Hindu temples and a whole lot of steps. There are 272 steps to be exact, which in the humid heat, are a little bit daunting. Fortunately, there are lots of little monkeys to distract you on the way up, running around on the steps, fighting and playing with each other and attempting to steal food from the odd unsuspecting tourist's bag.

For someone who is usually drawn to grey and other subdued colors, I was won over by the joyfully vibrant patterns and colours.


Around KL

Here are a few snaps of the mix of architecture and general vibes around the city. KL has some of the most reasonably priced 5* hotels in the world, so you can enjoy a bit of luxury without blowing all your spending money. Food is cheap and cheerful and very varied, we ate a lot of Rendang curry (breakfast, lunch and dinner practically) but we also enjoyed some Chinese dishes in the bustling China Town market.


Have you ever tried durian? It's the king of fruits apparently, but it's definitely an acquired taste. It wasn't in season when we were there but I'm not sure if I would have been brave enough to try it straight. Instead, we opted for a chocolate durian cake experiment. Inside this rich chocolate ganache and sponge is a heavy cream centre filled with durian pulp. As soon as you cut into the cake, the unique smell hits you. Some say it smells like old socks but I found it to be kind of garlicky, rather strange in a fruit. Something about it reminded me of vine tomatoes and the custardy texture was quite confusing! Even though it was downright weird, and I could feel the garlicky smell emanating from me after, I kept going back for one more bite. 

That's all from the Kuala Lumpur leg of our trip. We also scooted over to Malaysian Borneo, a short plane ride away, to see a bit of island and jungle life. I'll pick some photos out from the 1000s of monkey pics I took and post here soon 

Speak soon,

G


New outlets ! by geraldine kane

We've been pretty busy recently. But we've been whistling while we work, because we're very excited to be bringing ISLE to some new lovely shops throughout Ireland. 

We're proud to announce that you can find ISLE at:

 

KILN & LOOM, Ormeau Road, Belfast

 

SHELLS LITTLE SHOP, The Srand Sligo

McCARTHY'S, Shop Street, Galway

Pop in and have a little look if you are in any of these lovely locations.

There's more to come so keep an eye out for more news!!

H


Sakura, Sakura by geraldine kane

Yes, it's cherry blossom time! Every year I forget just how beautiful they are. The only problem is that the blooms don't hang around long. I managed to snap these on my way to the supermarket.

Enjoy!

G


There's no place like SHOWCASE by geraldine kane

I'm finally writing about our time at the Showcase Creative Expo and, honestly, we had a great time. We were really impressed by the talent and hard work we saw there but above all by the FRIENDLINESS of the organisers, exhibitors and visitors. One thing I recognise more and more from being away from home is that Irish people are LOVELY!

So, here's a little of what we saw and what really stood out amongst the all the rows of booths

[click on the titles for link to each website]

Snug.

Snug create handmade contemporary furniture in their workshop in Snugboro, Co. Wicklow. They offer beautifully modern pieces with obvious quality that comes from handcrafted furniture. Apart from the items on their online shop, they also create bespoke pieces.  


Thought I'd start with another County-Down company, Bog Standard. The name is somewhat misleading as the products are beautifully presented and "try to “bottle” all that is lovely about Irish life and landscape and share it". [stole that from their website :) ]

They've created a pure and wholesome range of candles and things with a modern femininity.


31 Chapel Lane by Damien and Joi is a collection of Irish linen and tweed. Their pared-back contemporary branding lets the down to earth fabric do the talking. Check out their website for small fabric accessories, tableware and some pieces of fabric that you can get creative with.


A beautiful brand and a lovely lady. Nadia has a whole lot of talent and a lot of energy [thank you for all your advice, it was a pleasure meeting you!] The baby clothing is fresh, sweet and delightfully gender-neutral.


The Vintage Satchel Company is located in our very own Belfast and I can't believe I hadn't heard of them before. They have been in the business of making these quality leather satchels for over 50 years. With some updated colours and some simple, classic designs, they are a perfect combination of old and new. I particularly love their Hewitt and Farset collections


 ISLE  [ of course ]

Looking forward to next year!

Thanks for reading,

G