Sister Meets...Soleé Darrell

Following on from our jewellery focus in The Strong Issue, we chatted with Vancouver based designer Soleé Darrell.

Hi Soleé, first of all could you explain how you first began designing jewellery?

I started making pieces when I was little with beads that I would get at Michael's, and then I would sell them to my mum's co-workers. After I graduated from college I realised that I didn't know what I wanted to do and felt really lost. I had heard about this silversmithing school in Mexico called Sterling Quest and one day I just decided I wanted to go and try it out. So I moved to Mexico for six months and studied with a man called Billy King. It was the best experience of my life. That was three years ago and I've been making jewellery ever since.

What is your favourite metal to work with and why?

My favorite metal to work with is silver. That's what I was taught to work with, so it's what I feel most comfortable handling. There is something that is also very forgiving about silver. As long as you're respecting its rules you can usually end up with an interesting result. I do love gold as well and hopefully in the future I'll be able to use more of it.

You source the most amazing stones, how do you find these and is each stone hand picked by you?

Working with stones is my main love. I think this love stems from learning silversmithing in Mexico. There is amazing lapidary community there and an abundance of beautifully cut stones. Each stone is sourced by me from all over the world. I spend a lot of my time and money hunting for them. It's kind of become an addiction!

The uniqueness of the 'holographic' process you use within your work has been getting a lot of attention – could you explain a little bit about how you do this?

Thank you! This process came about when I stumbled onto this holographic material. I just kind of started layering it onto silver to see how it would look and it worked! I'm constantly trying to remind myself to experiment, especially these days. The jewellery market is so saturated, and everyone is influenced by each other and what they see on Instagram. It's scary to just play around and put yourself out there but I really like these pieces and I'm glad that other people are responding to them.

I'm very drawn to a crescent/moon shape and see them featured in your jewellery often. Is there any particular reason why? 

I've also always been drawn to crescent moon shapes! There's something so simple but powerful about it. It's a symbol that many people have used in many cultures for so long. It just looks so iconic and I love the way it looks on people's skin. My whole collection that's coming out next month is inspired by space and the idea of this world coming to an end and reaching out into the unknown. so I've been working with circles and orbs and crescents more than ever.

"Without the strength and knowledge of the women in my life I would have nothing. My business and my life would be nonexistent."

You've recently embarked on 'body jewellery' like your lip cuff (which I love,BTW) is this something you'd like to explore more?

Yes! I'm so happy and shocked that so many people responded so well to this idea. Again, I'm just playing around and trying out new things, so I'm excited to explore this idea more. Other cultures have alway embraced facial jewelry in a way that western culture never has. I feel like this time in our society is the most boring when it comes to self expression in jewellery and I hope that following the examples of other brighter and bolder cultures can encourage others to step outside of their comfort zones.

On your Instagram you talk a lot about the strength of the women in your life – does this influence your work in any way?

I love women! I'm proud to be one and I'm proud to know them. My relationships with women have always been the most rewarding and encouraging. I'm constantly reaching out to the woman in my life as a source of inspiration and just to bounce ideas off. Without the strength and knowledge of the women in my life I would have nothing. My business and my life would be nonexistent. They keep me curious, honest and brave.

What is your biggest source of inspiration? Feel free to name a few.

The most inspiring thing to me is travel. Whenever I get back to my bench from travelling, ideas just fly out. I love seeing other people's space and the way they express themselves. I'm constantly on the Selby or Stylelikeu. And all the women artists I'm constantly meeting and getting to know! They keep me going.

What would you like next for Soleé Jewellery? Where do you see your brand in five years time?

Wow, I definitely don't ask myself this question enough. I know it sounds very simple but in five years time I hope that I'm still making jewellery that resonates with and comforts people. I hope that my business is still growing in a healthy way. I hope that I have an accountant (big girl moves!) and that I am able to do even more than I am now.

Finally, our latest issue is The Strong Issue – so what does 'strong' mean to you? For me the ultimate strength is fully knowing and loving yourself and also to be able to truly forgive. All skills I'm in the process of learning.

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