Bee + Bee Twomey founder: Bee Twomey
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where the desire to design earrings came from?
I started making earrings back in the early 1990's, mostly just to make money for travelling. I was using mostly organic materials in those days but always loved added colour from found feathers or torn up pieces of artwork. Earrings have always appealed to me, I love the little matching pairs aspect, or not so little and not so matching, perhaps just the completeness of them as a pair, the way the compliment each other and then the person wearing them and the outfit on whole. I haven't always made earrings but it seems to be what I always come back to.
We love your beautiful, bright pieces. You’ve mentioned that the bold colours you use represent Australian life. You’ve also spent some time overseas. How would you describe Australian style in difference to other countries you’ve visited?
Australia is vibrant, it's fresh and alive with colour. Our landscape is a muted backdrop but on top of that it teems with colour! From native flowers to the great barrier reef, the sunsets and sunrises, flocks of colourful birds in trees and on the wind. I never really felt this anywhere else, maybe it's in more cellular from growing up close to the great barrier reef, near rainforests filled with fluorescent fungi and in a time where they still burnt sugar cane fields, where night skies would shine hot pink from the flames. I have seen colours like these in other countries but it doesn't 'feel' the same as it does here in Australia.
Our favourite thing about Bee Twomey earrings is that each piece is slightly different from one another. Can you give us some insight on your process?
Firstly the artwork is created, a rich tapestry of colour, fine patterns of texture and shape. Then I cut each piece up to make my jewellery, retrospectively matching the pairs and creating each wonderfully unique pair. Add in other elements of colour in leathers and tassels and each pair comes to life!
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?
To be inspired by my own sum of experiences. To trust my gut and to keep going. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
We know that you like to use wood in your jewellery pieces as well as in your artwork. Why do you use this material over other types?
The wood I use in my pieces in sustainably sourced, this is important to me as we make so many, I don't want my pieces to become landfill. I also love working with the wood as it smells so wonderful when we cut it and the grains and texture always adds to the overall finish.
Where do you find inspiration for your bright and colourful designs?
Everywhere! I think this is why we have such a big range of styles. I see shapes fitting together everywhere, I see colour combos popping out at me everywhere. If I love shapes together in furniture or colours sitting pretty in an ice-cream shop this will definitely influence my next design.
How would you describe your personal style?
Messy! If you see me in clothes that aren't covered in paint, it's probably the first day I've worn them. I'd like to say I keep some clothes nice but I don't! I can't help myself and even if I'm dressed nicely and drop into the studio, I always end up with a paint brush in my hand and inevitably covered in paint splatters. Pair any of these paint splashed outfits with unbrushed hair and a huge pair of earrings and that's pretty much my outfit every day. I try to pass this off as eclectic.
Okay so we’ve got to ask. what is your favourite colour?
How do you want women to feel when wearing your jewellery?
Fabulous! I get such great feedback about how wearing my earrings make women feel great and I think a lot of this comes from how many compliments they get from strangers. I call them 'friend makers' as someone will always comment on them, standing waiting for coffee or just out and about. It's nice to have someone compliment you on your look and your style choices. I think they just make people happy to see all that colour and someone feeling/looking confident while wearing them!
Lastly, What advice would you give to a young designer wanting to start their own brand?
Don't copy anyone else! You'll only ever be as good as their next move. Create from your own total sum of experiences and trust that as you grow you will get better and better. Get up everyday and just keep on adding to your story, experimenting and making mistakes.
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