It was a fantastic year in the Lost Forest studio for custom requests. I have to say that custom work is definitely my favourite task to embark on; each and every project is filled with such special memories, interesting finds, new challenges in both techniques and creative thinking, and of course the new relationships I build with my wonderful clients. Working for yourself can be lonely and isolating sometimes, and being able to strike up a friendly rapport with someone from another part of the globe is such a lovely and heart warming experience.
To be entrusted with such personal objects, imbued with the spirit of a significant moment in someones life is a huge honour for me as a craftsperson. To create a new memento to be cherished and passed down through generations; producing an object that serves as a miniature time capsule. This is quite simply why I love to work with resin; a magical material, preserving a magical moment.
Below are a few examples of my custom work during 2015. I will provide a little background on each piece, some of which I will refrain from too much detail to preserve the privacy of my clients.
This is the beginning of a wedding bouquet bangle I made for a wonderful client of mine. She commissioned me to create a bangle using her daughters wedding flowers and wanted to surprise her with the finished bangle at Christmas. The photo on the left shows some of the flowers my client dropped into the studio, as she did not feel confident enough to dry them herself. As I have a wealth of experience in flower preserving I was more than happy to begin with the drying process. The results can be seen in the photo on the right.
Above are the flowers being carefully arranged in my miniature flower press. It took 2 weeks to fully dry out these pretty blooms. I have tips on how to do the same in my own flower drying guide.
The finished bouquet bangle. This bangle took 3 weeks to construct. I created an organic arrangement to the piece, to give it a sense of a flower garland wrapped around the wrist. The blues and yellows of the flowers worked wonderfully against the delicate green ferns. I also added subtle gold leaf speckles to add a glint of sparkle.
I used a round shaped mold, with a slightly square profile. It is a 'chunkier' style but was necessary to showcase the flowers in all their glory. My client was also very fond of this particular shaped bangle and was delighted with the end result.
A wedding commission for another lovely client. She wanted me to produce a complete wedding set using her dried flowers - a bouquet bangle, pendant, faceted ring and dangle style earrings. I received her beautifully dried flowers in the mail and began to work on some designs, involving her in the process through emails.
The top left photo depicts the bouquet bangle just out of the mold. The photo to the right displays the globe style earrings and ring before sanding and polishing.
The completed wedding bouquet bangle. The results were truly stunning.
I used an irregular oval style bangle, as it had an organic tactility to it. Although it was a broader style, it still retained a timeless elegance. I arranged the flowers once again in a free flowing design, keeping the large faced flowers to the forefront of the arrangement and adding a backdrop of gypsophila and rose petals. The client wanted a touch of glitter to the piece, so I added in some shards of shimmering gold leaf.
The eco resin faceted band is a beautiful way to wear a little part of your wedding bouquet. Due to its petite size I used my technique known as the 'flower confetti' style, where I shred some petals into tiny fragments and scatter them into the resin like confetti. I used a pink and ivory toned petal here, alongside some broken gold leaf.
I employed the same 'flower confetti' style for the globe earrings too. The earrings to the left continued with the gold leaf, while the earrings on the right have sparkling silver leaf. The colour options reflected the personal preference of the intended recipients - the brides mother, and mother-in-law.
The final item in the bespoke wedding set was an eco resin pebble pendant. I created this one using two layers of resin, each layer containing a variety of the brides flowers. The result has an alluring sense of depth and intrigue.
The completed set was enchanting, and one I was very proud of. It was difficult to pack all the pieces up and send them on their journey after spending 3 weeks creating each one by hand. However, I knew they were going to be loved and cherished by their new owner. She was delighted when she received her package from the Lost Forest -
"I cannot begin to tell you how over the moon I am. I was shaking opening the boxes!! They are the most beautiful pieces of jewellery I have ever seen!! Thank you SO much!!!" - Gemma, UK
The next project was a very special and unusual request. I had a client who wanted me to create a set of glass plates, which had immortalised pressed flowers from her moms treasured garden. I had never made such a piece before but I was thoroughly excited at the commission and was eager to begin learning a new approach to resin.
To the left is a snapshot of the pressed flowers submerged under the curing resin. The right photo shows the flowers carefully arranged by hand before the resin pouring stage.
Above are the two completed plates. I was thrilled with the results. It was a fantastic learning experience for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I loved creating the arrangements. It was a real pick-n-mix of pretty flowers, all awaiting their final debut.
I intended to keep both plates essentially the same design, however I also wanted to give them both a certain amount of individuality and tweaked the flowers slightly to give them their own personality.
Each plate also had a subtle scattering of gold leaf flakes to add a little twinkle. My clients mom now has a beautiful memento of her garden, forever in bloom and colour.
Now for a sweet story tinged with some sadness. I was contacted by my client to create a wedding set for her friends using the feathers of her pet birds. The birds were best friends, but sadly one of them passed away. She wanted me to make a memorial set celebrating the life of the two feathery besties; their feathers forever captured in a moment of eternal flight.
The largest piece in the set was a beautiful eco resin globe necklace (see in centre). I used the largest of the yellow feathers and molded them to the contours of the globe. I added in the blue feathers of the other bird and molded them also to create an organic flow. The effect was really touching; two feathers of two little friends suspended on an eternal breeze, embracing one another one final time.
I created globe style cufflinks for the groom (see left), featuring some tiny yellow and red feathers and one single blue feather from the other birdie. I added some silver leaf speckles to compliment the tone of the stainless steel bases, as well as giving the globes a hint of sparkle.
For the bride, I made a pair of dangle globe earrings. I used the vivid yellow feathers, along with gold leaf shards to create a stunning pair of earrings, which perfectly matched her globe necklace.
My client was very happy with the results of this bespoke wedding set -
"They're absolutely stunning!! Thanks so much. They'll be over the moon. You have amazing talent!! A million thanks Gillian!"
When she presented the set to her friends, she recalled their reaction -
"I was at the wedding on Saturday and got to see your wonderful creations in real life as Niamh and Luke wore them as their wedding jewellery! Niamh said she cried when she saw them first! " - Claire, Ireland
A flower arrangement card I made for a client to show how her wedding flowers would look once inside the resin. It is at this stage only when changes can be made to the layout of the flowers. It gives the client a little visual as to how the design will flow around their wrist.
I created a thin faceted bangle for her, keeping the green leaves to one end to add a playful dynamic to the design. The pink elongated flower took centre stage, with gold leaf speckles adding a touch of magic to the scene. This is the bangle just out of its mold, awaiting sanding and polishing. To the right is a globe style earring, which has captured the pink and white 'pom-pom' style flower buds and gold leaf.
Above is the finished bangle. The results is a truly elegant yet glamorous piece of bespoke jewellery, encapsulating all the wonderful memories of her special day.
An example of a flower card I used to lay out my clients dried flowers. This method gives me a better understanding of how the flowers can work within the resin and which compliment one another in a design.
Another flower card layout for a special wedding commission.
For this wedding commission, my lovely client wanted to showcase her wedding bouquet in a statement bangle. The chunky faceted band was the ideal style to use, allowing plenty of space to add in large rose petals, leaves, buds and orchids. I created a miniature rose garden within, with gypsophila linking the larger flowers. I decided to add in some sprigs of maidenhair fern from my own collection to unify the design as well as adding some more 'greenery' to complete the natural aesthetic.
My client chose rose gold leaf speckles, which float in amongst the flowers and create a warm shimmer. The deep facets also add another dazzling dimension to the piece.
The finished bangle after a few weeks work. The bangle is simply stunning and is one of my most favourite pieces I've created so far. You get a real sense of meandering through a long forgotten rose garden; the warm air permeated with the heady scent of the sweet roses.
My client also agreed with me and was delighted with her new bouquet bangle-"Oh, Gillian, it is GORGEOUS!!! I'm so excited! I absolutely love it. Thank you so much!!" - Lani, United States
This pretty petite globe necklace was commissioned by another client who wanted a delicate memento for her friend who got married. She was worried the flowers had lost their colour and beauty, as they had been drying out for several months. However, once I accessed them, I found some blooms that were perfect to be used in resin, such as tiny purple lavender buds.
I also sprinkled in some gold leaf to match the chain and to enrich the composition and add a glamorous twinkle.
I think this pendant has such an understated elegance to it and is perfect for a lady who likes a more delicate style of jewellery.
My clients testimony -
"Thanks so much - it looks absolutely fabulous. I can't wait to see it when it arrives." - Ruth, Ireland
My next project was pretty special and a real treat to work on as I had a wealth of choice of botanical and marine goodies to chose from. My client had a stunning exotic wedding in Montego Bay, and she collected some beautiful little treats from the sandy beaches; and of course the tropical blooms from her bouquet.
To the left is a wonderful fragment of coral, with the most intricately beautiful motif peppered along its surface. I wanted this to take prime focus in the bangle. I used this as my starting point for the design of the bangle. From the coral, I arranged a band of seashells, concealing tiny pearls into crevices and crannies. Every angle of the bangle coyly displays hidden views and creates a very playful design. You can see one such pearl tucked neatly into this speckled shell in the right-hand photo.
The band of seashells and pearls then ran into a tropical floral garden, echoing the location of the wedding ceremony. Coral pink bougainvillea, ferns and ruby red blooms danced within the bangle, creating a riot of colour and beauty.
The design was linked together with a scattering of gold leaf shards to echo the dazzling Jamaican sun piercing through the alluring blue seas.
I also created a bespoke globe necklace for the new bride, using a similiar arrangement to the bangle. I kept a floral theme to the pendant and molded the flowers and ferns to the contours to create a pleasing organic flow.
Pictured here is the eco resin globe necklace and its three angles, illustrating the fluidity of the floral design.
My client also wanted two pebble pendants made for her mom and grandmother, as a wearable memento of her special day. For both pieces I used two layers of resin to create depth to the composition. The pendant in the top right photo has a back layer with a full gilded background of broken gold leaf and a front layer of a single bougainvillea flower. I also added an asymmetrically placed piece of lace from her wedding gown. The second pebble was broader in design and had a back layer of lace and a front layer of a bougainvillea and gold leaf speckles.
The final piece of the set were a pair of dangle globe earrings. I decided to create a complimentary pair for the bangle and I wanted to combine both the sea and floral theme once again. However, space was very limited so it was a challenge to incorporate all these elements without overwhelming the piece.
It is difficult to see in the photo, but inside is a tiny glistening pearl sitting a-top a seashell, they are then wrapped within a floral garland, offering a protecting embrace. It's a real treat to see these earrings up close, and they offer the wearer a little secret that is not immediately obvious. It was very enjoyable and fun to make such quirky yet beautiful pieces, and my client was equally amazed at the outcome -
"Gillian!!!! Oh my goodness!!! These are absolutely beautiful!!! Wow! I am beyond delighted! Thank you so very much!!!They are truly special and fabulous!! They're lovely and unique and such a great memory! " - Leah, United States
This next wedding bouquet piece was commissioned by a client who wanted to give her bouquet a new lease of life, rather than collecting dust in a box,. Her bouquet was filled with ivory toned roses, hydrangea and red carnations. We decided a globe style necklace was best suited for the project, as she wanted to retain the roses full form.
I carefully placed a single ivory rose bud in the centre of the globe and positioned the red carnation petals and gold leaf speckles around it, enrobing the rose in a jewelled ruby cloak.
The end result was a beautiful romantic keepsake. A fashionable and wearable memory of her wedding day and a world away from a forgotten dusty old box!
This pretty wedding set is a perfect example of a romantic gift for a bridal party. My client requested a globe necklace and earrings for herself, cufflinks for her new husband and a pebble pendant for her mom. Pictured here are the pieces straight out of their molds before the sanding stages.
This pebble is such a classic and simple design. Its delicate beauty is a real show stopper, so I kept the composition very minimal - one single raspberry coloured rose petal and shimmering gold leaf. It was attached to a silver bail and chain for a contrasting look.
Pictured are all the items being packed up for their onward journey down under. The globe encapsulated strawberry and cream toned rose petals and gold leaf. They looked almost good enough to eat! The earrings with their 'flower confetti' style completed the sumptuous bespoke set.
"Oh my god Gillian, just received your package - amazing. The jewellery is fab - I knew it was going to be but seriously everything especially the packaging was amazing, I can't believe how much thought and effort you put into it.
I almost didn't want to open them because they looked so good! Really really impressed.
I love love love the globe I think I'm going to wear it all the time! And I can't wait for mam to see hers, she will love it.
Thank you so much much for all your work - I will be recommending you to all my friends. Thanks again x " - Laura, Australia
This project was another interesting challenge. I was commissioned by a client who wanted her wedding bouquet made into two petite globe necklaces and some tiny beads to wear on an existing bracelet. The globe in this photo was created using the 'flower confetti' style, where I sprinkled the vivid orange, blue and ivory petals into the resin with some shards of rose gold leaf. The client wanted a silver chain as a contrast to the rose gold. The result was a very dramatic yet delicate piece.
The next stage was the experimental part of the project and the one I was most looking forward to - the tiny beads. She wanted three beads made to gift to family at Christmas. Each bead contained the same flower design as the globes and I completed the look with a shimmering copper grommet to compliment the rose gold leaf.
I was delighted with the outcome. The beads had such a sweet and fragile beauty and will definitely be a design I will be pursuing and perfecting in the new year.
This was an interesting little project I did recently for a lovely client of mine. She wanted a faceted ring made using a guitar string, lapis lazuli stones and silver leaf. I had never worked with any of these materials before, but I was looking forward to the challenge.
The string was a tricky element to work with due to its recoil in the mold. I managed to work it into a three bar loop and sprinkled in the lapis lazuli into the resin, allowing it to drift on its own accord. I was quite anxious when I demolded it but I was treated to an unexpected surprise and I really loved the outcome. A very eclectic piece of jewellery that is certainly a conversation piece.
Client testimony -
"Wow! It's amazing, I love it, it fits perfectly! Thank you sooo much for your time and effort." - Pauline, UK
Now for a custom piece based on a existing design in store. This ring was created for a sweet client of mine, who wanted the 'Golden Blackbird' faceted ring with a guinea fowl feather instead.
The result was just beautiful; the polka-dot pattern is such a striking motif. I will be offering this as an alternative in the new year. For now you can purchase your very own here as a special Christmas offer.
Client testimony -
"Thank you Lost Forest I'm so excited to I've received my early Christmas present to myself! This absolutely stunning Eco Resin ring was kindly customised by Gillian with a beautiful Guinea Fowl feather and gold leaf.
I love it so much I'm trying to decide what I'm getting next!!
Amazing quality and such a lovely person, thank you." - Gabby, Australia
An earring commission made a welcome change recently when I was able to create some bespoke dangle earrings for a client who wanted new designs based on older earring styles from my Design Archive.
The first re-vamp were these vibrant orange Queen Anne's lace dangles. The older design was in a square shape, but I decided to use an elegant tear drop style, and kept the resin completely clear of any metal leaf in order to allow the flowers take centre stage.
The second pair were based on circular style dangles with a background of hand gilded gold leaf and a single hot pink hydrangea in the foreground. I once again used the tear drop shape and I think the finished piece looks even better than the original design. The intensity of the vivid pink and glittering gold leaf even played havoc with my camera lens, which could not cope with the luminosity! However in real life both pairs looked stunning and may even be a style that I will bring into the store in 2016.
Client testimony -
"My fabulous earrings arrived today. They are absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the care and your attention to detail." - Deirdre, Ireland
Another example of a customised piece is this set which I created for a customer who wanted a silver leaf version of the Queen Anne's lace globe necklace and matching earrings. I adored this version of the necklace that I also offer it now as an option in store.
I hope you enjoyed browsing through each project and hopefully they have sparked your imagination to create your own Lost Forest treasures with me in the new year! I'll be accepting custom requests once again from the 4th of January 2016. I'm already looking forward to lots of new and exciting ventures.
– Gillian x