ART meets couture with Christelle Chamberland’s luxury handcrafted jewellery
How did you end up doing what you do?
Moving to Edinburgh from London was the catalyst for my career change. My job as a journalist and presenter in London was creative, yet I’d always had this yearning to create something with my hands. On impulse I had bought a stunning silver and gold necklace; as I held it, I knew in my heart that that was what I wanted to do. I was moving to Edinburgh a month later and as soon as I got here I applied to a jewellery-making course at the Leith School of Arts.
Who or what inspires you?
I have a huge appetite for life, which is my main source of inspiration. Creating is my way of celebrating every moment we’re given and my latest collection, Renaissance, can be worn every moment of every day. In terms of design, I have always been drawn to circular shapes, for me it’s the perfectly infinite and immortal shape, because I never want the fun to stop. My jewellery is about movement and evolution, the enjoyment of the journey, and in terms of style is also influenced by my travels, from the French countryside to London then Scotland, via Morocco and India: it has a French-ethnic elegance and always carries a story.
What is your starting point?
My drawings are very personal and instinctive; I sketch what my heart tells me in terms of design, texture and colour, and where I’m at personally at that point in time, rather like an autobiography. The Renaissance Collection is all about renewal and following our dreams. The stone epitomises our sense of identity and self-belief and the tiny spheres the milestones along the journey. The stone is set within a delicate orbit symbolising our connection with the universe and each other. Most of all, I like to create something beautiful and seductive which makes us smile and feel sexy.
What designers/makers do you admire?
It has to be Coco Chanel: she started from nothing, moved mountains in the world of fashion and changed women’s lives with her pioneering designs, and she owes her success to her sheer resourcefulness, tenacity and vision. A true creative and a true leader.
Were you involved in craft from an early age?
My brother and I did construct a lot of improvised dens.
What makes a home?
Love and family.
Is there any object you desire?
A teleporting machine to hang out with my mum and dad in the French Jura mountains at the press of a button: I miss them and they miss me.
What is your idea of a great escape?
Doing something new that is out of my comfort zone.
Camping or hotel comforts?
It depends on the weather. A roofless hotel in a warm country is perfect, or glamping. Nature meets luxury.
Big screen movie or TV drama?
British TV dramas are the best.
What book would you recommend?
Albert Cohen’s Belle du Seigneur or In Order To Live by Yeonmi Park.
Best music to work to?
The Piano music by Michael Nyman.
What are you working on?
I’m sketching new designs and I am looking for new stockists. My jewellery is available at the Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal; it’s an innovative concept where artists pay rent but no commission. It is very supportive of the designers and is a great community of artists who make unique, high-quality products you can’t find on the high street.
What makes you laugh?
My daughter, Fleur. She has a cracking sense of observation and makes the funniest impersonations. She is my most precious gem…
• Christelle Chamberland’s Renaissance Collection, from £130, available at Scottish Design Exchange, Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh; SH Jewellery, 98 Morningside Road, Edinburgh. Also at Hopetoun Christmas Shopping Fair, 27–29 November; Cargilfield Christmas Fair, 20 November; for all sales enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.christellechamberland.com