We get up close and personal with the delicious Jessica de Lotz…
How would you describe yourself?
Thrifty, a magpie – pixie, ambitious. My dad says I am like a mole creatively ‘burrowing away.’
Tell us a bit about your job and why you love it.
I set up my business in 2009 having graduated from CSM the year before. I’d already very much established my interests and direction of my work so I was eager to get going.
I get very involved in the story telling element of my work so the initial making process of each collection is very personal to me but I have several invaluable assistants that help out on the bench from there on. I love nothing more than finding myself lost in a foreign flea market or brocante, surrounded by antiques, curios, love letters and treasured trinkets. My serendipitous finds then fuel my creativity. I collect and gather, knowing that somewhere along the line I will take inspiration from these ‘things’ and will somehow breathe life into them. The final outcome will be a new treasure, that will be fuelled by the past but reappreciated in the present.
Designing and making jewellery gives me the opportunity to create beautiful objects that preserve memories and behold sentimentality. Jewellery is a very personal investment that lasts forever. I like to think that I will always be a part of the journey & ultimately, the history of each piece, from it’s nurtured beginning to eventually becoming a treasured heirloom.
Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?
Helena Bonham Carter is a fan already and parades around in my Red Resin Apple Necklace quite often. The icing on the cake, would be to see Helena Bonham Carter arm in arm with Tim Burton wearing several of my cheeky Winking Dolly Eye Rings.
If I am allowed to include the deceased in my answer, Shiaparelli!
Which pieces do you find yourself wearing all the time?
I layer my jewellery – More is always more! I am never without a stack of Personalised Wax Seal Bangles jingling away, my Red Relished Necklace and Handcuff Necklace.
I used the intertwined ‘NJ’ wax seal that we stamped on all our wedding stationary etc to make myself an 18ct yellow gold bangle. This piece holds very special memories for me.
What reactions do people have to your jewellery?
Depends which piece you mean. The personalised wax seal pieces are my signatures and best sellers and these are generally universally liked across all ages . They are decorative and antique looking in style, albeit with a modern twist but certainly far from minimal so this doesn’t suit everyone. Something like the Winking Dolly Eye Ring or Red Relished Apple necklace is a ‘different kettle of fish.’ You like them or hate them. The Dolly Eye Ring in particular has received people openly declare that that they are scared by it. They are clearly one of those who hate it! I secretly giggle as truly and honestly, I like to create a response from some of my pieces. I don’t expect to sell as many of these ones anyway but they are interactive, playful and compliment all my signature wax seal pieces.
When I bring out my Light Switch Rings and demonstrate how they fit into the light switch cases, people look at me as if I’m a magician!
What kind of woman wears Jessica de Lotz Jewellery?
Self assured. Appreciative of elements of nostalgia and story telling. I don’t follow trends or care much for them but confidently do my own thing and I hope that my customers, become collectors of my jewellery to satisfy their desire to own something precious that lasts forever, not for a quick fix fashion statement.
What or who inspires you?
I collect antiquities and bizarre curiosities of which inspire me to imagine the stories behind them, and create pieces of jewellery which place them in a context, most clearly seen in my collection called ‘Until the Daybreak.” From this collection, the Light Switch Rings and my first wax personalised seal piece was born.
I have further developed my A to Z wax seal service into a bespoke crest and monogram service called “Jeweller for Life” in collaboration with my brother Benjamin. We create a contemporary family crest or monogram for each client, which I incorporate into a range of wearable jewellery.
What’s your most treasured possession?
After 6 years of Nathan & I ‘dating’ he popped the question and blessed me with his mother’s engagement ring, that she had offered him to give me. Nathan’s father died when he was younger and his mother, Joy remarried so I feel very privileged to to have been given this beautiful ring. The fact that his aunt is also a jeweller and made it, was just the icing on the cake! This is my most treasured possession.
If you could design jewellery in any decade which would you choose?
Through the tributes that I make, lots of my work is inspired by the concepts behind mourning jewellery. The craftsmanship acquired to make Victorian jewellery is astounding so this would be my era of choice.
What was the last exhibition / film / concert / play you went to etc….
The best exhibition i saw recently was Tim Walker’s – ‘Story Teller’ at Somerset House. His work encompassed everything that I love about playful surrealism.
I was at The Turner Museum in Margate this weekend but wasn’t greatly taken by the main exhibition. Located in a very old fashioned sea side town, (home to Tracy Emin) I actually like the museum’s somewhat imposing modern building. I’m sure the residents beg to differ though!
The last film I saw was ‘The Sessions’ at The Curzon which was incredible moving. My tears got the better of me towards the end. The last play I saw was just before Christmas when I treated the divine, Miss Clarice Price Thomas to a see Michael Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty at Saddler’s Wells. I love it there!
EC One have a Lyrical collection inspired by song lyrics, what’s your favourite song lyric?
In terms of designing a collection around actual lyrics, i’m not sure as I have to say, i’m not one to listen to lyrics too closely but I know what song always make me very happy and dance around my workshop and it is ‘Twistin the Night Away’ by Sam Cooke. In fact, any Sam Cooke or Fleetwood Mac. Both remind me of fun times.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would it be?
On Pyramid Lake (Jasper) in Canada floating on a canoe with Nathan, surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
If you could have one wish granted…
I wish that my nanny, Winnie was alive. When she was still with us, I was that bit too young to appreciate her fully and learn all the wonderful lessons from her that I feel my sister’s did. Even so, I can proudly say that she was an incredibly capable and admirable women and ultimately the pillar of our family. Thanks to Nanny, she has left a very close and happy family to continue her legacy,
What do you do when you’re not making / designing?
I love the escapism that I get from Bikram yoga and next month, i am trying my hand at taxidermy. It’ll be an ethically sourced squirrel of course. I can’t wait!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Meatballs at Polpo
Other than jewellery do you have any hidden talents?
It not exactly a talent but i think that i have a positive, happy energy.
What trends will you be rocking this season?
I have always been a fan of wearing (probably too making different monochrome prints) in an outfit, brightened by flashes of red ~ obviously, usually in the form of my Red Relished Apple necklace.
What’s your biggest fashion regret?
Probably being a little too thematic in my dressing. The first time I met my sister’s husband, I was head to toe dressed as a sailor. Original sailor’s shirt, red wool trousers and even a captain’s hat. I am sure that my best friends could give you far worse examples though but maybe, just maybe I am slightly holding back asking them.