Celebrating a decade with her namesake label, RUSSH friend, jewellery designer and sculptor Holly Ryan has recently opened the doors to her new curated headquarters. Featuring her very first showroom and workshop, the space was custom built and includes some of our favourite vintage furniture finds and artworks.
Here, we chat with Holly on an incredible 10 years in the industry, her approach to styling and customising, the Holly Ryan recycling initiative, maintaining a sustainable brand and why her current state of mind is in 'deep reflection'. We also have an intimate look at the new showroom and workshop space interiors that feel just like home. See the full shoot and interview below.
10 years is an incredible achievement. How does it feel to be celebrating an entire decade of your namesake label?
Thank you! At first it just felt, I don’t know, incredibly surreal perhaps. But now, as I sit by the fire I just built outside the cabin I’ve been staying in for a week (a pause to reflect and find gratitude), I feel empowered and proud and grateful and full of both love and excitement. I feel inspired for the future of the brand. I don’t really want to expand but to focus on building a ‘well-oiled machine,’ so to speak. To earn the trust and respect of my new team, to grow together, to ensure what we have in this new space is lasting and enjoyable as well as incredibly efficient. I just want to focus on the now for a little while, because the now is pretty great.
You recently opened the doors to your new headquarters, featuring your very first showroom and jewellery workshop in one. Tell us about the space?
The space was custom built by Northern Beaches carpenter, Sam Creecy. We designed it together and collaborated in the most beautiful way, creatively and mindfully. I was lucky enough to find someone to create my dream space who shares the same beliefs ethically, morally, environmentally, and with a focus on responsible and sustainable practices (no small feat haha).
Sam used recycled hardwoods as finishes, all no VOC mineral and plant-based enamel white washes and natural pine oil varnishes. Sam also employed a technique called ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ where timber is burned as way of preserving the timber, giving the oval tables a black finish, which is absolutely stunning.
What are some of your favourite interior and design features of the new HQ?
There are so many features of the new space that I absolutely adore. The lounge suite is a 1960s mid-century modern teak design that I had re-upholstered in a cream boucle from Vampt Vintage. This lounge suite was my starting point. I wanted the space to feel warm, bright, open and like an inner-city oasis. Sam’s sister Madi took care of all of the interior plant design, which truly does transport you from the hurried and hectic Elizabeth Street in Surry Hills.
What was your approach to styling and customising your new space, were there any inspirations?
I think I opted for a minimal colour palette because it feels calming and natural. As always, anything I create is art of nature driven – mostly a combination of the two. It makes sense that this space is no different. Natural jute rugs, white washed, black or dark brown timber or leather, floor length and sheer white curtains and an abundance of greenery.
Why was it important for you to evolve into a seasonless approach this year?
As a jewellery designer I have never believed that the pieces I create should be season-driven or ‘seasoned’ at any stage of their lifecycle. I have always aimed to create timeless designs, handcrafted to order from high quality sterling silver or solid gold. For this reason, when Fashion Week was cancelled this year, I saw it as our opportunity to break away from a mould that we never fitted into anyway. I will now release ‘offerings’ every couple of months featuring considered designs that I feel are ready. Rather than overproducing collections for the sake of an already oversaturated fashion schedule.
Talk us through the recycling initiative you’ve introduced to HollyRyan.com?
I have always encouraged my clients and friends of the brand to curate a collection of pieces that they will wear forever and to renew or rework those that no longer do. If something has lost its lustre, we offer an in-house repair service and also invite customers to return the pieces they no longer wear for a store credit. We can breathe new life into the materials – as materials such as solid gold and sterling silver maintain their value – and the customer can choose something new.
This means my designs will not end up in landfill and it helps to create a more circular economy. One where we recycle and upcycle, rather than creating endlessly. This is responsible fashion.
What are some tangible ways to make your brand more sustainable?
Creating responsibly is a journey, rather than a destination and we are always striving to improve our processes. To me, creating sustainably means not overproducing and working ethically means having respect for the makers. I believe that waste is a design flaw and, as designers, we owe it to consumers to create considered pieces that are made transparently with circularity in mind.
How do you stay creative and motivated during this time of global unrest?
I actually feel like, during times of unrest, we are forced as creatives to think further outside the box and to innovate and move with the times. I have always fuelled my creativity with my emotions when I am struggling the most in my personal life. I always focus that energy into my work. Hence the title of my last solo sculpture exhibition being ‘Exhale’.
What other projects are your currently working on?
My next solo exhibition of sculptures opens on the 3rd of December at Jerico Contemporary. This show is a whole new direction for me and will see me fuse my two creative pursuits – metalsmithing and sculpting. The show will be darker. It will feature bronze and the Japanese art of wood burning ‘Shou Sugi Ban’. As always, the works will be a visual representation of my experiences and feelings, in direct response to the absolute shit show that is 2020. Huge emotions!
What is your current state of mind?
In short, I am in a period of deep reflection. I am learning how to be still again. I’ve been living life at such a fast pace this year and have had plenty of opportunities – which I am so grateful for but have also found overwhelming. I am learning how to unlearn the importance we have placed on being ‘busy’. Because that busy-ness has been distracting me from seeing the bigger picture, distracting me from seeing what’s most important. However, in this period of reflection I have found new ways to be present (not constantly focusing on the NEXT thing), to be grateful and to enjoy myself without all of the fuss. It has been freeing and uplifting. This year has been a huge period of growth for me and I am feeling those changes within me daily.
What are you hopes and dreams for the future?
I hope I can stick to rehear-ing my affirmations, writing, re-writing and focusing on my manifestations in my life that I am seeking to become my reality and no longer a dream.
What do you appreciate the most right now?
I am most appreciative of my wonderful team, my best friends, my family, my health and for silver linings. <3