When planning a wedding we understand it can be easy to loose track of the countless online enquiries you’ve sent out. Businesses blur into one and it all gets a little holly-cow-did-that-photographer-offer-the-all-day-coverage-or-was-it-that-one-or-maybe-it-was-that-one-oh-dear-god-I-need-a-drink!
Our Hello Vendor profiles offer creative couples and brides and grooms to-be the opportunity to meet the clever humans behind the brand. It gives you a chance to put a face to the name and allows you to gain some insight into what makes the creative souls you are hiring to shoot/design/bake/style your wedding tick. We’ve introduced you to florists, hair and makeup artists and collectors of second hand designer gowns, just to name a few, and today, here we are again, introducing you to our fave kiwi jewellery designers Greg and Claire from Meadowlark.
Based in Auckland, their latest offering represents the dark beauty of ceremony and celebration. Hedonistic yet essential, following ancient forms but crafted with contemporary vision, ‘Ritual’ is the ultimate gesture of true romance. Take it away Claire and Greg….
Tell us a little about your background? Claire: I dropped out of school too early and started a clothing brand which I ran for about six years before selling part of it to go into partnership for a few more years until selling the business. During that time I learned graphic design, so left that business and went straight into freelance graphic design, my main job was designing six magazines each year, one of which I still design. I moved from Christchurch to Auckland about 10 years ago and met Greg and Meadowlark was born!
Greg: I studied visual arts majoring in jewellery. After graduating I made commissions here and there, but mostly I just focused on skateboarding, an industry which I was fairly heavily involved in, including manufacturing them. All I wanted to do was go skateboarding though. After a few years and a few business courses I won a business grant to start my own jewellery label. After meeting Claire, that eventually became Meadowlark.
How did you get into the jewellery making game? Claire: Well I met Greg in 2005 and we eventually started talking about maybe doing something together. I did a silversmith course many years ago so I have a good understanding of construction and technique but no patience for working with such small objects.
Greg: As mentioned above, I did a visual arts degree. It was a four year degree in which I mostly covered various aspects of visual arts, more than jewellery techniques, although I covered the basics, and tended to sit in on traditional jewellery tutorials from time to time, giving me a smattering of knowledge enough to teach myself over the years and piece things together for more full on jewellery production. In hindsight, its easy to trace my obsession with fine objects from things I was into as a kid and the printmaking I did at school right up into my degree years.
Talk us through a typical day in the Meadowlark studio? Claire: I’m not sure any day in the office is typical! Every day is different with super exciting news and projects always on the go. Some days are just hard work constantly figuring out solutions to a million issues. Most days are pretty fun in the office though, we listen to great music, we all talk a lot of rubbish and share ridiculous stories. For me it is non stop work juggling at least five projects at one time and rushing through everything until I have to leave at 3 to pick up our daughter from school. Then it’s more working at home once she is asleep until I go to sleep.
Greg: I generally have to run errands first thing, so Ill end up at the workshop late ish, and then after a quick sweep of emails I write down my priorities for the day, and go to work, tackling the more technical stuff first. Theres a million interruptions and I never get as far as I intended. The day whizzes past, I go home for dinner and child wrangling, and then most days i go back to work at 8.30 until 11 or 12, when theres no, or less interruptions (usually workshop staff are in late too).
Where do you find your inspiration? Claire: All over the place. The last few collections have been inspired by architecture and russian criminal tattoos and nature. We usually find inspiration as we talk about our ideas together but architecture and nature are reoccurring themes for us. Usually when we look back at a collection it is a reflection of what was going on in our lives at the time.
Greg: Ive had inspiration sitting in the car waiting for Claire, looking at a building. I’ve had inspiration looking at antique glassware my mother has, or flowers in the back garden. For me, I tend to compartmentalise things into their basic compositions, then within that I focus on something that draws my attention.
Where do you source your diamonds from? Greg: We have a couple of suppliers that source from ethical mines.
How long does a ring take to craft from concept development to final product? Greg: That depends on a lot of variables. We can develop an idea on paper in a night, and a week later it can be finished. Other things I have to mess with, or figure out how to make it. Sometimes a piece that takes a whole day to make, I have to remake four or five times, And because I don’t just work on sample development all the time, this can be drawn over weeks, particularly if multiple moods and other processes are required. Im currently working on increasing my time on experimental pieces, which will hopefully create new directions.
Can you name a favourite from the current ritual collection and tell us why? Claire: I struggle to choose a favourite because they all stack so well together I have to pick more that one. My favourite would be the Fine Geo Rings as a set (still waiting for my own set, I’m last on the list to get new pieces). Right now I am loving wearing loads of fine rings together – the Snake Bite Ring stacked with the Arrow Bands and a pair of Diamond Eternity Bands with a Studded Stacking Band, all in yellow gold.
Greg: That would have to be the Metropolis Cocktail Ring, or the Metropolis Ring, but I can’t tell you exactly why, other than its the culmination of my most favourite elements. For me it has a certain something. The composition is just right.
Any rules to “stacking” we should know about? Claire: There are no rules! If I really had to make a rule it would be more is more!
Greg: Just try as many combinations as you can, this range has proven to surprise us with new amazing unforeseen combinations…think outside the box…
Whats new for Meadowlark in the coming months? Claire: We have been way to busy producing two new collections, we have just finished them and have shot both campaigns in NYC. So there will be an amazing collaboration coming out in June/July and then a whole new collection in September – expect the unexpected!
If you have picked up issue four of Hello May, you will know we are a bit smitten with these guys and if you have read as far as page 95, you will also know we have not one but two of their gorgeous diamond wedding bands to give away to two VERY lucky readers… with your choice of black or white diamonds its the perfect accessory for your wedding day.
Still yet to pick up a copy? You can find your nearest stockist here. Online shopping more your thing? Fret not… the good folk of Mag Nation are also selling copies through their online store as are our friends at The Super Cool.