Today we chat to Nat, the brains and beauty behind jewellery label Nat Kent Jewellery.
Years in operation? I started Nat Kent Jewellery in 2011. The idea was conceived in 2010, but it was initially to start an online store that sold emerging designer jewellery. At that point the scope of the project was too big and needed to be narrowed. I had started to use some of the beads I'd collected over the years to make my own jewellery. As interest in my jewellery developed, I decided to refine the website so it addressed a more specific niche market, and Nat Kent Jewellery slowly emerged.
How did Nat Kent Jewellery begin? I love making things, and I have a passion for learning. I often wonder how things are made. So I set out to learn as many jewellery fabrication techniques as possible. When I went on Maternity leave from my regular job as a school teacher, I decided it was time to indulge in some personal pursuits.
What's your creative background? I have a Bachelor of Psychological Science and a Bachelor of Primary Education. In hindsight I should have studied graphic design or multimedia. I think my creative background comes from being technological, I love making things. I also had a very talented Grandmother who was quite the crafter. She had her own pottery wheel and kiln, she used to do copper etching, and she taught me how to sew and knit.
Where is Nat Kent designed and made? All Nat Kent Jewellery is designed on the Gold Coast from my home. Almost all the pieces are made here too. I have most of my components custom made for me. Such as the gold tubes you see in my designs. I have also recently cast a variety of high-quality foldover clasps with my KENT logo engraved on them. I develop the designs for each component I need on computer, this is then sent to an overseas jeweller that I work closely with. A mould is made using my design, this is either 3D printed or carved from wax. This process is call Lost Wax or Investment Casting, this is my preferred method as I'm still learning how to render my designs digitally.
What inspires you? Other designers who demonstrate mastery in their chosen field, and designers who apply innovative techniques to produce their jewellery. I like structural jewellery. Jewellery that requires engineering and development. I like looking at jewellery and seeing the time and effort people put into it. I admire process orientated design, that is intentional and deliberate, and therefore thoughtful.
- Mawi London - for their innovative use of materials and progressive design.
- Estelle Deve – who creates jewellery from amazing castings of unusual objects
- Ek Thongprasert – for their application of 3D silicone printing to create high-end jewellery
I'm currently developing a design for a bangle, using a scarab beetle graphic that I commissioned from Melbourne based graphic designer Eirian Chapman, (her work is amazing and internationally recognised). The idea is to collaborate with a local company (based in Burleigh) who use lazer technology to produce custom machine parts. I had a meeting with them a while ago to see if I could adapt their industrial process of photo-chemical etching to jewellery making. We all agreed it would be the perfect application. I'm hoping to have this design ready in time for my summer campaign. The summer campaign will continue to explore new production techniques and will feature bezel set semi-precious stones rather than claw-set stones like my debut collection.
Latest collection consists of… My debut collection will be available online and at The Village Markets from late June/early July. The collection theme is “Regal” meaning royal, magnificent and dignified. The goal was to produce a fun but luxurious selection of jewellery, that blurred the line between fine jewellery and costume jewellery. To achieve this I've used fine jewellery techniques such as claw-setting stones and genuine plating, with costume jewellery components and materials. (I have just sent 60 pieces to the photographer, the images should be back within the fortnight.) The collection features large, bold, claw-set stones, garment grade leather bolo, decadent gold plated and gunmetal chains, semi-precious stones, gold tubes, soldered chain collars. The main shape I used in this collection was the Trillion. I feel the triangle shape of the Trillion looks Regal (as well as sounds really fancy). We'll be having a collection and brand launch in Southport in early July to mark the debut. The look book is currently being edited in anticipation of the July launch. The look book was photographed by local photographer Joe Wills and I used local model and acquaintance Tegan Dermek, who has shot campaigns for Lisa Brown, Billabong and is the face of Griffith University.
Favourite piece and why? Triple Trillion Necklace, because it sits really well when worn. It's a very bold piece but the colours are muted and unobtrusive so you can wear it but without feeling ridiculous. Below the same piece (and a glimpse of my desk in it's natural state)
What's on your mood board? A collection of luxurious baroque and neo-gothic images from last season.
What's your creative space like? I have a whole room dedicated to my jewellery. The following picture is a neat version of my work space. It usually has stuff all over it. I have my computer, sewing equipment (cause I often sew elements of my jewellery), storage for components on my desk, as well as 'hanks' of chain that I'm currently using, leather bolo, jewellery tools – pliers and wire cutters, soldering iron, flux and solder, glue and a slab of granite to work on so I don't damage my table.
Opposite my table is a 1960's danish buffet table that I use to showcase my jewellery on.
What do you listen to whilst designing/making? I'm a bonafide night owl. I don't go to bed most mornings till 1-2am. When my daughter was a baby, I became accustomed to waking up with her throughout the night. She then learnt to sleep through the night and I didn't. Some people don't cope without sleep, I've adapted quite well. Since I'm up late at night working I usually play music that suits that time of the day. When I do play music, I often listen to - Everything but the Girl or sing along to The Panics. I work on my computer a lot, cause the initial prototyping is done using Corel Draw or Rhine Gold, so I often watch YouTube clips instead of listening to an album. Also, due to the time difference between northern and southern hemispheres, I'm usually chatting online to vendors and craftsmen in the early hours of the morning, who are across the globe in the middle of their work day. When I have a component manufactured for me it's quite a collaborative process, and we work together to ensure that the piece is exactly what I had in mind.
A day in the life of Nat usually consists of… Spending time with my daughter, Helena, sending emails. When Helena goes to sleep that's when I get to work.
Favourite TVM stall (besides Nat Kent of course!) I really love Juanita from DINJUAN. Each time our market stalls are next to each other we have a really great day. She has a wonderful energy. Minc Collections – Courtney has done an excellent job developing her brand and it's image. I'm quite respectful of the hardwork she's put in to achieve her success. Faith Designs – Shannon has been very welcoming, and made me feel part of The Village Markets creative community, she often leaves supportive comments on my instagram and facebook posts. Which I find really motivating. Madison and Montana – for their awesome market stall set-up. Seeing their wonderful market stall has left me wondering how I can improve my display.