Design

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


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


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




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