Long time no see! I’ve had a bit of a break from posting these interviews so I could focus on my Kickstarter and commission work. Thank you, everyone, who made the Kickstarter so awesome! I hope you really like your Mermay colouring books. ♥ Now, on with the show! Lydia Niziblian is a jewellery designer, making beautiful textural pieces of art.
1. When and how did you start making jewellery?
About 15 years ago I was working in television production and living in London. I really missed doing something ‘hands-on’ artistically, so signed up for the only local course that I could get to, which happened to be making silver jewellery. I only managed a few weeks before a new job made continuing my course impossible, but by then I was smitten. A couple of years later when I was back living in Cardiff with my two small children, I rented a tiny studio space and tried out teaching myself some more basic silver skills. The rest is history.
2. I really love the textures in your pieces.What inspires these designs?
Thank you! I have Aspergers’ Syndrome, part of how this affects me is that my sensory processing is wired a little differently than a ‘neurotypical’ person. My response to smells, sounds and touch are particularly affected. I’ve a huge tactile response to materials, and that shows up in my love of textures. I love using contrasting textures in the same piece too.
On the flipside, some textures I can’t bear, to the point that looking at them is a little like hearing nails down a blackboard. Luckily none of them involve metal! I’m ideally aiming for my work to look like found treasure or discovered artefacts with a bit of a past to them, so my favourite pieces will always look worn, weathered, textured and patinated. I’ve also made a number of pieces that can have perfume added to them. This allows me to incorporate another of my passions! I love perfumes, and am fascinated with people’s choices on how they smell!
3. Do you work in a home workshop or in a co-working space? What has been your experience of this?
I have always rented a studio space, initially even in the early experimenting days because I wanted a space dedicated to it (and where no exploring tiny children could get hurt). I’m currently part of a not-for-profit creative community space in Canton called The Printhaus. There are 18 resident artists including me. We all work in different media, from illustration to textiles to ceramics. There is also an events space and screen printing workshop with around 30 members. I absolutely love it there, it’s friendly, supportive and everyone is incredibly generous with their knowledge, experience and ideas. I’ve been there for coming up for 5 years and it’s constantly evolving and growing. Having other creative people around gives the place a great energy and there is always something interesting going on. Fab stuff!
4. What are your favourite gems and metals to work with?
Oh, what a question! I am usually in love with whatever I’m currently working on. I love opal very much, it’s ridiculously beautiful in all its forms and I love their colour shifts and flashes. I’ve yet to meet a good quality opal I didn’t like! I’m a sucker for a diamond too, I particularly like using beautiful, great quality single stones to stand out against a patinated, heavily textured piece. Again we come back to contrast, and that often means that I’ll go for something with a good colour saturation or light play that provides that contrast against the finish I’ve given the metal.
I work in silver and gold, and both have their good points. Silver is a joy to work with because it is so versatile and high carat gold is also lovely to work with. I often mix metals, particularly oxidised silver and 18ct gold. All the variants have their plus points!
5. Where do you want your work to be in a years time, and how will you get there?
Well, the one area I struggle with is self-promotion and shows, unfortunately, one of the downsides of Aspergers’ is it can come hand-in-hand with overwhelming anxiety as well as difficulty in social situations. It’s something I am working on, but I would like to improve my ability to promote my work confidently. I’ve got the excellent Made By Hand coming up in Cardiff City Hall this Autumn, and am looking forward to that very much. It’s incredibly valuable to get feedback on your work this way, and I’m comfortable enough now with the show format, how I’ll be presenting my jewellery, and what I’ll be showing to actually relax and enjoy it!
That aside, this year has been phenomenal, and by far my most successful to date. I do really feel like I’m heading where I want to be. I’ve been exploring my own ideas in my work, as well as taking on some amazing commissions that have given me a lot of design freedom. Having people recognise jewellery as being made by you, and really enjoying your signature style is lovely. I am having a lot of fun doing what I do and am very busy, there’s not much more you can ask for. More of that, please!
Thanks for reading. Have an amazing weekend.