Just like a magpie, Blaithin Ennis constantly seeks gorgeous and unusual objects and materials to inspire her work.
As the creative force behind her own jewellery line, Blaithin has carved herself a reputation as one of Ireland’s most exciting young designers. Influenced by her extensive travels and fuelled by a collector's passion for the exotic and unique, she's launched her most exciting range yet. Georgina Heffernan caught up with Blaithin to find out a little more…
Please tell us about your background in jewellery?
Blaithin Ennis: I graduated from NCAD in 2011, where I specialized in Embroidered Textiles. Coupled with my studies and a wonderful internship in the accessory department of New York based designer, Diane Von Furstenberg I found my niche. I loved the idea of creating fashion pieces where attention to detail and choice of material are paramount. My jewellery making all stemmed from my degree collection of accessories entitled ‘Desk to Dinner’ where I pare my designs down to make simpler, ready to wear pieces.
What is your design process?
Creating simple and unique shapes are very important to me, alongside the use of unconventional materials.
What have been some of your favourite jewellery pieces and why?
From my current A/W collection ‘Topaz’, my ‘flat-ring’ and ‘four-strand’ earrings are two are of my favorites. From the larger pieces, the ‘Karelian’ and ‘Karelian Belt’ are two pieces I love, worn very differently but create totally different looks. My ultimate ambition when I design is to keep the modern woman in mind. I try and create unique, pieces that will look beautiful and elegant yet they can be worn easily, whatever the occasion!
Karelian by Blaithin Ennis
Would you ever consider collaborating with a fashion designer?
YES! I adore the work of John Rocha and would just love to collaborate with him. His work is so simple yet striking and his choice of fabric, just unique. I also think Eilis Boyle and Natalie B Coleman are fantastic designers and would also love opportunity to collaborate with them.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I got a great opportunity to work with Juliana Walters, proprietor of Place Boutique, John Street, Gorey. Juliana herself is an art graduate and eminent stylist who has worked for Selfridges and Vogue. She has mentored me and given me both the confidence and opportunity to showcase my work in her beautiful boutique. This gave me my first introduction to the world of retail. To be perfectly honest, to have a customer come into the shop, admire my work, try it on and then part with their money for a piece is so gratifying. But to see that piece being worn at a wedding or in a restaurant is just the ultimate! I am now stocking six outlets in Carlow, Limerick, Dublin and Wicklow.
Which jewellery designers do you admire?
Well, my inspiration for a long time has been the worldwide brand ‘Pandora’. The Pandora charm bracelet is one of my favorite items with which to accessorize. I love the fact that I can manipulate it to fit any occasion formal or casual, yet still express my individuality. My favorite Irish jewellery designers would have to be Christina Brosnan, Melissa Curry, Alan Ardiff and Filip Vanas.
What is your ultimate ambition, where do you see yourself in the future?
My ultimate ambition is to continue to build the Blaithin Ennis brand where value for money, reliability and elegance are synonymous.