laurarikman X Milk Magazine (Hong Kong)
A conversation with Ralph Lin for Milk X Magazine :
Milk X —Introduce your background to Asian readers,
I think it is an important step. As the theme of this issue, the FIRST IMPRESSION of LAURA RIKMAN you
want to save in our minds. Thanks!
Laura —I’m a visual artist and engraver specialized in portraits. I had made several personal projects about the representation of memories through the portraits of our closed ones. I studied Fine Arts and every time I visit a Museum I’m fascinated with the jewellery that very important figures are portrayed with. Portraits on jewels were very exclusive in the past and they were created in order to remember their loved ones. I’ve always made small or miniature sized works, so I wanted to investigate these miniature painting techniques in order to bring back this amazing fashion trend. I want to create wearable art pieces for any art lover, adapting my creations to all kind of budgets: from affordable pieces to luxury ones.
Find out more at :
X —What did you find during the process of painting (art history) and handcraft researches for LAURA RIKMAN?
L —When I lived in London I used to go quite often to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I was really fascinated by all the treasures exhibited at the Jewellery Room and I used to spend few hours analyzing every single piece, from its painted subject to the tiny brushstrokes and style. During the first lockdown in Madrid, I could finally stop anything else I was doing and had the free time required to practice these slow painting techniques. Old miniatures were usually painted by watercolor on ivory so I wanted to keep using similar techniques. Gouache painting starts around 1750, and it it the usual medium I use now on different surfaces such as paper, different metals and gemstones.
X —Lover’s eyes is one of a feature in your design, how come the eyes bring you lots of inspiration?
L —While I was practicing the firsts miniature portraits, I came across the ‘Lover’s Eyes’ trend original from late 18th Century and I created my first jewels inspired by these pieces. I am truly amazed by ‘Lover’s eyes’: they were like the perfect accessory for secret affairs. By only portraying that crucial detail of one’s face, the lover remembers perfectly the loved one, while the identity may remain unknown for the rest of the people. At the same time, I find the eye is the symbol of one’s biography, it tells you everything. I also felt the need to find beauty around during this difficult time, or somehow create it with my hands. I could only practice drawing or painting on jewels I had home, so this is when I first started up-cycling what was surrounding me in order to improve all I had around.
X —Where you choose these bases of antique? And plz also share with us the package design of LAURA RIKMAN, I see the romantic handwriting on it!
L —I’ve always been fascinated with Romanticism era and its fashion trends. I can wear those style of dresses, blouses and corsets in my daily life, but I wanted to incorporate the jewelry trends in my wardrobe as well. I didn’t know where to find them so I started making them myself reusing vintage pieces that reminded me to some jewels I’ve seen in some paintings.
I’ve been collecting some books of Art History, books of Lover’s Eyes miniatures and Cabinets of Curiosities, so I look for references on them. I also use the websites of the Prado Museum and other big collections that have great content online so I can get high quality pictures to inspire my paintings by.
X —To interact with our theme LUCKY CHARMS, please pick up three symbols you have designed, and tell us the stories about them, thanks!
L —There are three symbols related with my ‘Lover’s collection’ I am more obsessed with lately: Eyes, Lips and Hands. Eyes represent the gaze and I believe they tell the story of one person fully. Lover’s lips were truly rare antique miniatures but they also represented an important part of the Lover’s soul. Both eyes and lips represent intention as well as hands represent action. Hands holding flowers, hands holding an arrow, hands holding a heart in flames... I find these three parts of the body can be the perfect lucky charm: to have the eye, lip or hand of your loved one portrayed in a miniature you can actually wear may create the magic you need to keep that person close to you, whatever happens.
X —Following the above question, do you have any lucky charms? (Or any mysterious stories)
L —I do have my own Lover’s eyes and I wear them very often ;) Apart from that, I also have a red miniature fabergè egg with a tiny engraving kept inside, a tiny piece of a print with the first signature I ever engraved. I have to pass an exam to get a full time job as an engraver for the Royal Mint here in Spain and I wear it and touch it while I’m practicing, hoping it brings me luck when
the day comes.
X —Now we can find your designs on LESFLEURS, do you have any further thoughts about commercial business/stockists? Expanding also challenges the limit of handcraft and upcycle designs, right?
L —As I am a very small brand —only myself—, so expanding does challenge my creations. I would like to keep it as small or slow as possible. I really cannot create miniatures in a rush and I only have two hands. For now, I am only part of Les Fleurs Studio Community, which I am very proud of. I try to create 5 upcycled pieces a month specially for them among some other custom orders. I can only create around 10 pieces a month so I guess if I get more custom orders then I will have to create a longer waiting list;)
X —Last but not the least, if you are a magician with the most powerful lucky charms, what kinds of power you want to bring to yourself or this world? (Also sharing the next step of your brand with us.)
L —I love this question! If I had magical powers I would love to create a Lover’s eye that will always remain as the Lover of the piece’s owner. Imagine you could commission your favourite detail of your loved one painted, to keep him or her always next to you —of course happily to be so haha—. I guess I hope my pieces do have that power really. My dreamy next step as a brand would be to create a jewelry collection for a big fashion brand, like a capsule collection in which I can include my brooches or buttons with miniature drawings and paintings, but also maybe painting the fabrics they use for the garments. Also, I would love to create my own patterns with all the jewels I made so far too. I’m working on that!