FOUNDER & Designer of LOST FOREST
Welcome to the Lost Forest. My name is Gillian Corcoran, and I am the designer, maker, flower preserver, photographer and daydreamer behind Lost Forest; a high-end eco-friendly jewellery line based in Dublin, Ireland. Since 2012, I have created a well renowned and much loved international brand that celebrates unique design with an organic and environmentally friendly process. I was the first business in Ireland to begin using a natural eco resin in my professional jewellery making, and I created a distinctive concept of preserving Irish nature within each piece. Unfortunately, many other businesses have tried to imitate both my style, unique terminology, descriptions and design concepts. However, they can never re-create the quality and refinement of my work, and my authentic design process. Lost Forest is the original and best Irish botanical jewellery.
I have always been very creative from a young age. My imagination is where I would drift in and out of magical worlds. This is a trait I never let slip away and it still holds me in its grasp today. My stories and creations for Lost Forest are all products of these daily daydreams. My fascination with the natural world began early in my life. My Grandmother was a devoted gardener, and my weekend visits were often spent wandering through her never-ending secret garden, which showcased nearly every flower imaginable.
As life took its course, I later re-discovered my love of nature; and with a keen interest in fashion accessories, I decided to combine these elements to create a personal business (ad)venture. My childhood fascination had grown into an adult obsession. At the time, bio-based resin was a relatively new material. Consequently I had to teach myself everything about it. After many years of study and practice, I am now a master craftsperson in this magical medium, and my skills are recognised by the largest and oldest association of design professionals in Ireland - The Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI).
My inspirations behind Lost Forest are foraged from my daily excursions. I remember, quite vividly, gazing at fallen autumn leaves trapped beneath a clear puddle of rain. I instantly had a creative spark to re-create this ethereal scene, and pine resin was the perfect water-like material to capture it. My jewellery evokes these fleeting moments that are found within nature; the leaves caught beneath a puddle; the morning dew drops resting on a rose petal; or the spring raindrops dancing on wildflower meadows. The Lost Forest protects these delicate scenes and allows the wearer to be adorned with enchanting drops of nature caught on gold or silver chains.
A defining feature of my style is the combination of broken metallic leaf with real flowers, feathers, moss and shells. This design aesthetic is an original concept attributed to Lost Forest. My inspiration behind the use of metallic leaf, especially sparkling gold leaf, was ignited by my appreciation of Byzantine Icon art. I studied these magnificently decorative paintings in University, and their allurement has never left my imagination. My Lost Forest creations, much like the gold icon paintings, venerate the subject, in a heavenly and bewitching light - a natural icon. Scatterings of metallic leaf are also incorporated in some pieces; reminiscent of the sparkling sun dancing within water drops, ponds, and puddles. Lost Forest transforms an ephemeral moment in nature into an eternal decorative treasure.
LOCALLY & SUSTAINABLY SOURCED
Every natural element in my creations are personally collected by myself from the enchanted Irish woodlands; wild windswept mountains; sun speckled meadows, and tumultuous Irish shorelines. Whether it be a daily park or mountain walk, a weekend holiday, or in my own garden; I am constantly seeking a new addition to my vast botanical collection. This part of the job never seems like hard work, and is one of my favourites. I never know what I may find, but when I do, it is such a delight to know it was sourced within Ireland by my own two Irish hands.
These natural inclusions are sourced with a conscience. I am very mindful of how I pick and choose my flowers; they're always from my local surroundings and are picked with a sustainable approach. I often spread wildflower seeds every spring/summer on my walks, giving a much needed boost to the local ecology and to aid the pollination process. Feathers are found naturally shed, and therefore sourced only occasionally. I have a deep respect for nature and it is my intention to always honour Mother Nature's creations in the most meaningful manner as possible. My pine resin pieces are my ode to her exceptional work, and a lasting testament to the fine details, patterns and unique characteristics that often go unnoticed in today's fast paced society.
I like to document my finds using paper cards; detailing the flower, a few facts and its location and date. It's always gratifying to look back at my collection and be able to pin-point the time when they were collected. Each and every flower in my stock cabinet has a little story to tell, and that's a pretty endearing quality that you will not find in a mass produced item of jewellery.
Each piece is entirely handcrafted by myself, and this process can take 1-3 weeks depending on the complexity of each design. Firstly I create a design inspired by nature, and I use specimens from my library of dried botanicals. These elements have been carefully and expertly preserved by myself over weeks and months in order to retain their original colour and form.
The next stage in the process involves chemistry mixed with pure alchemy; casting and setting the item within pine resin. The inclusion is skilfully placed and arranged within a handmade silicone mold. After a week of curing, the object is removed and the rough edges are sanded using various grades of sandpaper to achieve a smooth and neat finish. Finally the resin jewel is polished to a high shine. It is a labor intensive process but one I love.
An intrinsic element of my work is to produce original unique designs while maintaining an eco-friendly approach. Pine resin is an environmentally friendly and sustainable material. The resins components provide high performance characteristics while lowering the overall environmental impact as it is made from bio-based materials, in this case from pine oils. Therefore, the resin is devoid of any harsh chemicals and petroleum. Pine resin is a perfect alternative from traditional materials as it is hypoallergenic; making it ideal for those who have sensitive skin or have allergies to nickel and metals. It also contains advanced UV stabilising technologies to retain the inclusions colour as well as preventing yellowing of the resin, which can occur in traditional low grade epoxy resin. I have developed my own refined casting methods, which result in a hardwearing and inherently strong composition; producing clear glass-like resin.
Fall in love with Lost Forest
With every Lost Forest treasure you purchase, you will receive a unique and tiny piece of wearable art. All my items are made with great care and love; for you to enjoy for many years, and to pass down through the generations. Each Lost Forest jewel is lovingly gift-wrapped in an eco-friendly gift box stamped with the intricately decorative Lost Forest logo, and tied with gold speckled string; a perfect parcel protecting a hidden botanical beauty.
Over the years, Lost Forest has been featured in many renowned fashion publications both nationally and internationally. Lost Forest has also been exhibited in Dublin, Germany, France and Spain. I am proud to announce that my little business has been shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious IDI (The Institute of Designers in Ireland) awards 2017. Lost Forest was selected along with 70 other professional designers and design houses out of over 400 entries. It is an overwhelming achievement after the many years I have devoted to my craft.
I hope many more people will fall in love with Lost Forest over the next few years, as it is an exciting journey for us all, and one I'm happy to share with each and every one of my wonderful customers and supporters. ~ Gillian