Working out of a warehouse apartment in London, Liv Luttrell creates wearable sculptures in gold and silver for clients afar, including America, Oman and South Africa.
Liv Luttrell specialises in sculptural contemporary jewellery handmade in the most traditional ways. Her work is shaped by her fascination with shape and form, shadow and texture, from architecture to sculpture.
“I also relish the thought and time that goes into understanding the complex and challenging pieces that I most admire,” says the rising young talent.
When she launched her studio in 2016, responsibly sourced materials were of little general interest, recalls Liv. The designer was also advised to play down the message around “responsible sourcing” because consumers did not associate luxury with sustainability. However, these were issues very close to her heart.
“It was hard to find transparent supply chains at the time, so focusing on recycled and Fair-trade gold and silver was a labour of love.” She rarely has a meeting now where a client doesn’t ask her about the provenance of materials; bespoke pieces are now a huge part of her work. “I am happy that we have come a long way.” Liv works with artisans all over the UK, many of whom are “experts in particular types of engraving, setting lapidary work or working in unusual materials.”
Her most recent series of Editions reveal a deep focus on the curves of the extraordinary architect Oscar Niemeyer and the strength and impact of Beverly Pepper’s bold sculptures.
You have forged a very distinct aesthetic. How has the creative journey been?
I think I always wanted to start my own studio, it was always important to me to make pieces with a distinct look and feel; choosing my own stones and the craftsmen I work with has been a wonderful voyage of discovery. And the practical day-to-day stuff of running a business has certainly been a steep learning curve!
What informs your affinity for sensual, sculptural pieces?
Organic minimalist shapes are something I have always felt a strong connection to – I am not sure why but it is deeply ingrained and has been with me for as long as I can remember. Collecting pebbles, shells, pieces of wood with a beautiful curve was my go-to as a child – and if I follow my aesthetic through to now, there is a very clear thread. I am also lucky to have visited Japan and was particularly struck by the emotional impact of the beauty and simplicity of their art.
What sparked your collaboration with peridot miner Fuli Gemstones?
Fuli Gemstones’ ethos of cutting high quality and extraordinary colour peridots, which are managed by them from mine-to-market, made them a perfect fit for my studio. When a client they were working with chose to set her Fuli peridot in one of my classic and most sculptures designs, the Spear Tip ring, it became the perfect collaboration. It was such a joy to work on!
You have evolved as a designer – has the pandemic shaped it further in any particular manner?
I have always done a lot of making; it is the way I develop shapes for my goldsmiths to create. Over the years, I have experimented with the balance of drawing and sculpting to find the right mix to get in a creative flow. The pandemic gave me a lot of time for visual research, I have broadened my knowledge of artists, techniques and architects I find inspiring. Being cooped up was frustrating though, there was tension between having so much time at home to be creative but a real feeling of deflation and a difficulty in engaging with ideas not attached directly to a client’s brief … I think a lot of designers and artists experienced this.
How are you adapting to recent pandemic challenges?
The pandemic was a challenge, we switched the studio to be fully virtual – something I am used to with international clients, although initially it felt a little strange with those based in London. I have been really working to get our virtual presentations to be a beautiful experience; something I plan to carry forward as I work on projects, which will be shipped all over the world. My studio in London is now open for meeting in-person but some clients are enjoying the flexibility of doing some design appointments virtually, and visiting in-person to select gemstones and diamonds.
Where do you find inspiration – then and now?
I find a lot of ways to get inspired, finding new materials, visiting galleries, travelling, being in the city looking at amazing architecture, clothes, colours and nature – just things of everyday life. I never really thought about it before lockdown, but since our freedoms have been so intensely curtailed over the last year that I have noticed where the gaps are in my creative mood.
Tell us about your new Editions pieces.
I have just launched two new Editions, both are classic shapes that I have reimagined in new materials and textures, including a new engraving technique which creates a beautiful bark-like finish all over the surface of the gold – it catches the light in the most amazing way.