Founded in 2018, Isabel Bonner Studio creates season-less sculptural and contemporary jewellery. While every item is handmade in New York City melding the latest innovative techniques with the most traditional skills of artistic craftsmanship, we meet the Central Saint Martins graduate to discover more.
CT: Great to meet you, for those readers who do not know about your brand, please tell us a little more about your business?
IB: I started Isabel Bonner a few years ago – we are an independent jewellery brand that creates minimal, sculptural jewellery with a feminine twist. I handle almost all aspects of the business from designing, creative direction and overseeing production. I manage the nuts and bolts in London where I live, but the jewellery is made in NYC where I’m originally from. I work closely with my model maker there who’s in the heart of diamond district. Since moving to London, my goal has always been to I’ve bi-coastally, so producing the jewellery at home in New York has been the perfect way to do this.
CT: How would you describe Isabel Bonner in three words?
IB: Sleek, sculptural, elegant
CT: What is the inspiration behind your latest collection?
IB: I sought to make my own iteration of some classic styles. Collection II plays with the idea of negative space, balance and bold simplicity. For example, the pairing of a boxy shape with the softness of a pearl is designed to feel both minimalist and entirely feminine. From the outset, the collection was designed to be wearable and easily integrate into different peoples’ wardrobes. So the pieces are rooted in reality and wearability, while still existing in the world I’m seeking to create. I find inspiration in modernist sculpture and the idea of permutational mathematics, so I look to forms created by Noguchi , Donald Judd , Walter De Maria and Barbara Hepworth
CT: Explain your design process?
The whole first phase of my design process is very analogue. I start by collecting images, visiting galleries, doing little sketches and writing down notes for ideas. I take all my musings and then develop them through collage, more drawing, and ultimately model making. My thoughts flow more freely when I’m working three dimensionally, I can’t sit at a computer and feel inspired, so I find it much more natural to play and understand what I’m envisioning through carving modeling clay or constructing paper machetes. Once I’m happy with these models, I translate them into technical drawings for the production process. After that it’s a back and fourth exercise between myself and my model maker to get everything right before the waxes are finalized and the masters made.
CT: How would you explain your brand ethos and aesthetic?
IB: Refined, elegant, clean, with primary elements. It’s a kind of simple strength and straightforwardness. I want my woman to convey that relaxed, chic feeling that comes from feeling strong and comfortable, not overly done up or fussed over. In addition I think often about how there is already an abundance of jewelry out there, so for me it always has to be a little more than just an earring. It has to work from every angle. I wanted to create something that could exist on the body and also be a beautiful artifact in itself. I envisioned the pieces to be as versatile as the wearers while holding their own in both contexts.
CT: Do you have a favourite piece of your collection and if so, why that piece?
IB: The Mimi earring from Collection II is a personal favorite. I wear them everyday in gold or silver. They work well with all my clothes: t-shirts, dresses, tailored pieces. They’re comfortable and light weight. I can also wear them all day long without any issues. The have a ‘hoop’ look from the front but are actually a little more interesting and unique.
CT: Are you listening to any podcasts at the moment?
IB: All time favorites include This American Life, Revisionist History and Arm Chair Expert. Lately I’ve been listening to The Improvement Association. I’m pretty fascinated by psychology and the human condition… so I think there’s definitely a pattern here…
CT: What makes a you switch off?
IB: I usually need something physical that gets me grounded in my body to switch off. Walks, palliates and snuggling my dog Winnie quiets the noise. Also anything where I can get my hands a little dirty: making ceramics, gardening, foraging for wild medicinal plants.
CT: What do you think the epitome of luxury is?
IB: Places or objects that make you feel sexy or give you peace. Luxury is hot water, free time, a nap. It’s also amazing craftsmanship and dedication to beautiful sustainable materials.
Discover Isabel Bonner www.isabelbonnerstudio.com