An interview with jewellery designer Gemma Marissa Murray

We catch up with crocheted jewellery queen Gemma Marissa to find out what she's been up to - and she tells us all about her new homeware collection! Illustrations by Gemma Smith!

Written by Jemma Crow


Illustration by Gemma Smith

Last year I had the privilege of interviewing the amazing Gemma Marissa. Gemma, a jewellery designer and pioneer of individual hand made crochet pieces, has shown at Estethica for London Fashion Week, sold her designs on Neurotica and has been designing professionally for almost three years.

This coming autumn, she has chosen to launch her home collection and if its anything like her beautiful necklaces and brooches, it will be something for you to covet at home whilst still in-keeping with the vintage hand made aesthetic of her jewellery. So I interviewed Gemma to find out what was in store for the season.

So what was your inspiration for creating a home collection and how do you think your hand made pieces will translate into the look? 
The inspiration for making a homeware collection actually came from me moving house. I started to look for cushions, throws and other pieces to make the place my own that had a unique, hand crafted quality to them, but nothing I saw interested me, and so I started making things for myself! Because I was working on the A/W 2011 accessories collection at the same time, I was very much influenced by this and so its very much inspired by the accessories that I was producing at the time. I suppose I translated them to feel more at home within a comfy old fashioned setting.
 
I’m sure it’s not going to be just your standard cushions though, are you going to venture into some more creative ideas? 
Most pieces are at sample stage right now so it’s all subject to changing as I work through it, but I am working on cushions, throws, decorative wall hangings and lots more. If things go well I really would love to produce crocheted lamp shades, and possibly curtains… I think there are endless possibilities with crochet and I am constantly having new ideas, which I hope I can bring into future homeware collections.


Illustration by Gemma Smith

I actually can’t wait! So what have you learnt since doing your last jewellery collection that has inspired you to create the beautiful new pieces you have now? 
I had a lot of fun with the last collection, filled with brilliant pom pom necklaces, headpieces and much more. But for S/S 2011 I wanted the collection to come back to what the Gemma Marissa brand is all about and what I love to make. This means that I’ve used a lot of natural, floral inspirations; the bluebells and ivy give a very English feel to the collection and the cherry blossoms were inspired by my trip to Japan early last year, the perfect time to see the blossoms in bloom, it was magical!

I can imagine the beauty must have been stunning to see and great inspiration. And talking about the inspiration for the collection, it’s all very mythical with references to natural beauties such as Guinevere and Aphrodite… 
Yes the collection is based on the Pre Raphaelites, whose works always have a mythical, magical feel to them; I just love the colours that are used in the works of artists such as Rosetti and Mucha that are also muted and understated and very beautiful. All of the pieces are named after goddesses or mythical women, such as the afore mentioned Aphrodite, or Pandora. I have always been intrigued by the stories surrounding these women so I thought I could bring this intrigue into my pieces, giving them a very ethereal feel!


 
Well it’s clear that it’s something you’ve always been interested in but S/S 2011 is visibly a move away from the almost fairy like creature designs of previous years. Is this just a new direction or a conscious inspired decision? 
This is definitely something I have always been interested in, I ‘m very much inspired by literature and stories, and this collection is another extension of this. I still, and always will, want my work to have an air of intrigue and other worldliness about it. I think fashion should be fun, and a way to express our personalities, thoughts and feelings, and it is brilliant I get to do this with each new collection as I am always inspired by different things. I am working on my A/W 2011 collection at present, and am busy looking into the Victorian era, an amazing and intriguing time for innovation in design and literature!

Are earrings a new foray for you? I don’t remember seeing them before… 
I hadn’t made earrings before no, but because the work for the S/S 2011 collection was so small and delicate I thought it would be lovely to make crocheted earrings made from a single bluebell or sycamore seed! They are a favourite part of my collection actually, and I wear mine a lot!

So would I – they’re stunning. Which of the key S/S 2011 trends do you think that your pieces fit best with and why?
I love the trend for ‘lady-like’ fashions, which hark back to the 1940’s for that ultra feminine look! Therefore I like the SS 2011 trends such as pastel colours, along with soft, light fabrics such as silk and lace that will work wonderfully alongside my pieces.

And where are you expecting to go from here? Obviously the home line is next but is this testing the water before you plan to release a home collection every season? 
Yes I will still produce a fashion & accessories collection each season, but along side this I hope that the homeware line will continue to expand…

It’s a very exciting prospect if you do. Who are your favourite designers this S/S 2011 and what trends will you mostly be wearing? 
My favourite, as always, is Erdem for his innovative S/S 2011 collection. He is able to make beautiful, feminine clothes that have a very modern feel to them and I especially love this season’s lace work! Also I saw the Kenzo show and just fell in love with the beautiful silks and knits which had a big Japanese influence and was so inspiring for my work. Another absolute favourite is Rodarte and their latest collection is stunning but of course these pieces will all be mixed with looks from the great British high street stores; some I’ve been loving recently are Gap and Anthropologie for their creative knits and beautiful use of fabrics. 

Well I am most definitetly excited to see the finished products. We’ll let Gemma get back to showing her S/S 2011 collection and the new home line but it’s lovely to know that the designer is still sticking to her roots. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for this innovative creative force. Bring on the crochet lampshades I say!

Read our original interview with Gemma here.

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