Hilary Bravo's Profile

About

Artisan Jewellery Maker

I've been making Papier-Mache Jewellery for 25 years and it's still evolving just as a good idea should do. I now use Laser Cutting to create new shapes with many layers of colours.

I also make a range of Sterling Silver Jewellery with fragments of my paintings set within. All my work is sealed with resin as it brings durability and a certain extra magic in terms of depth and brilliance.

My Working Methods -

My jewellery has been found, sought and collected, much to my delight, for nearly 30 years in countless galleries, small and large, beginning with The Guggenheim Museum Shop in New York and in Liberty of London and then in numerous Art and Craft galleries around the world.

I frequently travel…

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  • Female
  • Born on June 10
  • Joined July 21, 2010

Favorite materials

Sterling Silver, paper mache, acrylic inks, epoxy resin, paint, gold, silver, copper leaf

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HilaryBravo
Hilary Bravo - artisan jewellery - little...

About

Artisan Jewellery Maker

I've been making Papier-Mache Jewellery for 25 years and it's still evolving just as a good idea should do. I now use Laser Cutting to create new shapes with many layers of colours.

I also make a range of Sterling Silver Jewellery with fragments of my paintings set within. All my work is sealed with resin as it brings durability and a certain extra magic in terms of depth and brilliance.

My Working Methods -

My jewellery has been found, sought and collected, much to my delight, for nearly 30 years in countless galleries, small and large, beginning with The Guggenheim Museum Shop in New York and in Liberty of London and then in numerous Art and Craft galleries around the world.

I frequently travel and draw, paint, make notes, take lots of photographs and bring back sketch and notebooks overflowing with more discoveries to work on, some of which I later develop into paintings, often abstract, from images that hold the key colours and associated ideas of the places I've found.

I tend to use a combination of many things - papier-mâché, mixed media, resin, acrylic inks, gouache, watercolours, pencils, oil pastels, gold, silver and copper leaf, metal foils and powders, tissue paper, tracing paper, plus interesting commercially produced paper and found papers - Italian sweet wrappers/ metro tickets etc. There are no rules.

My Inspiration -

The fleeting moment, where the often discarded and overlooked is made magical by shifting light and shadows, by dappled sunlight, by shadows across the moon, brings about a way of seeing that captures my imagination, as well as discovering new places, people, and things and rediscovering the familiar and known.

I am often asked how I came to be making my jewellery, especially the pieces that look so much like enamel. It is a very intriguing story.

I've always had very interesting dreams and one night, about 28 years ago, I had one in which I was showing a portfolio of my paintings on paper to a very elegant woman who ran her own Art Gallery (I did my degree in Fine Art). The gallery was in a long wooden studio set in the grounds of a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House. I remember seeing lots of little 'garden rooms' - each one with a different design - sunken gardens, walled gardens, water gardens, gardens with dappled sunlight and flower filled bowers to sit and ponder in and to listen to the birds sing. It was very impressive. Oh yes, and John Lennon was wandering through.

The woman looked at my work very carefully and then looked up and asked me if I had ever thought about cutting some of my paintings up and making brooches. Well, I hadn't. I was even rather taken aback. However, when I awoke again later, I thought about what she'd said and set about cutting some work into small pieces. Each one had a quality of the whole and yet each one was a work in itself.

I worked out a way of building up the layers to make each piece stronger by adding layers of mount card, which is already a perfect example of papier mache - hence using the term 'papier mache jewellery' to describe my work, although really it's all about the painting.

I put 24 - 36 coats of yacht varnish on each piece that had a drying time of 24 hours between coats - imagine! But the results were really beautiful. I've always felt a surprise and delight in my work as I really never know how a painting is going to look until it's cut and some pieces even become starting points for other paintings.

I don't know exactly why but something told me to send the jewellery to the Guggenheim Museum Shop in New York. This was in 1990 - no internet in those days of course but a letter arrived, saying that they really liked them and would put them in the shop. Four weeks later, a cheque arrived in the post for £1700. I have always thought it wiser to slide down the 'greasy pole' rather than attempt to climb up it!

Next, I sent a box of jewellery to Liberty in London where they had The British Crafts Room. They liked them too and the following month a cheque came for £1300 also.
My Cottage Industry was born and all because I followed my dream. The rest is history.

I then began to send my work out to Crafts Council Selected Galleries in the U.K and was able to say 'I sell at the Guggenheim and Liberty.'

That side of my work became my 'bread and butter' - it still is and I'm still following my dreams.

I love teaching and passing on the interesting and inspiring things I learn in life and through my work. I probably paint on most days and when not painting, I am making jewellery, taking photographs, walking, beach-combing, generally exploring, writing, gardening and social networking.

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