"Designing for me is about story telling, imbedding pieces with meaning, carrying the idea that each piece has its own journey for the person who wears it." For Kirstin Ash of her eponymous brand, the sentiment that jewellery carries has always been a cornerstone of the brand.
As all great things do, Kirstin Ash began as a side hustle. A way to channel her creativity while supporting the Naturopathy studies she was undertaking at 21 years old. From a hobby rooted in passion for the kiwi creative, Ash, alongside her brother, realised she was sitting on more than a side hustle - and so the brand was born.
Now, it is realised for what it is: an offering of fine and semi-fine jewellery crafted with form in mind and a holistic dedication to the earth. Influenced by elements around us, created with the intention to leave as light of a footprint as possible, Kirstin Ash has hit its stride. Below, we speak with Ash on sustainability, exploration as inspiration, and telling stories through jewellery.
Tell us about how Kirstin Ash was born.
A collision of creative expression and tenacity really. The brand was born from tinkering, it started off as a pure passion - as was pretty typical of the early 2000s - then became a way to fund my naturopathy studies when I first moved to Sydney from New Zealand at 21. I’m very much a creative brain and found an anchor in my brother Nick who brought layers of commercial savvy to my creative vision and together we realised we could build a brand.
I know sustainability is important to the brands ethos. Why, more than ever, do you feel it’s important that brands implement more sustainable practices within their companies?
I think it’s about consciously offering consumers a solution to minimise their footprint, and putting this at the forefront of your business. Understanding your impact, the influence you have and implementing small, meaningful and consistent changes becomes progress over time. This has certainly been and continues to be a journey for us, moving through the facets of our business to build this into our foundations.
Jewellery is often all about sentimentality, how does designing for a lifetime of wear influence your creative process?
It’s such a beautiful thing, the sentiment jewellery carries has always inspired me. Designing for me is about story telling, imbedding pieces with meaning, carrying the idea that each piece has its own journey for the person who wears it. This is part of how the brand has evolved, and has been the catalyst for our solid 9K and 14K solid jewellery offering. Knowing that pieces may be passed on through loved ones over time, that’s pretty special.
What are you inspired by at the moment?
So many things! Always music, it gives me space to sit and allow my mind to wander, this is a space I’m most comfortable in. My mind works in a creative way, bouncing between ideas and concepts, it just isn’t linear. I’ll often come into the studio first thing and show the team a video I caught on my morning walk of a wave undercurrent, textural cliff or sun rise which has spiralled into a creative concept or design. Light, shadows and textures are a constant source of inspiration for me, if I find I’m in need, I'll step outside.
In essence, at the moment I’m inspired by capturing small moments to take a breath and appreciate something, just because.
How do you tell stories through jewellery?
This is my favourite part. I am very holistic in the way I design jewellery and every collection starts with a concept, something that is very personal to me, something I am experiencing or inspired by. I often can’t make any progress until I feel connected to this, then I can delve into the detail. I work from ‘big’ to ‘small’ and this is how I weave stories through a collection.
Which Kirstin Ash piece do you wear every day?
I wear the Botanica Bangle every day, a classic contoured shape that I just love. I often couple this with a chain and some classic hoops, the Molten Hoops from our latest collection, In Between have been my go-to lately.
My style is more reflective of elevated, everyday pieces.
You’re siblings who run a business together. How do you balance work time with family time?
They occasionally weave into one another but balance has always been important to us so we have become pretty good at prioritising family time. We love to go on adventures together, travel - when we could - eat good food and find inspiration through these journeys. We have such a similar vision for the brand, but opposite skill sets, we’re lucky, we make a great team.
What are you looking forward to?
Like the rest of the world, I would love to be able to travel again. I can’t wait to jump on that next flight out, have the freedom to explore different cultures again, and just be able to be spontaneous at will. This is such a point of inspiration for me and I can’t imagine how refreshing this will feel. We were lucky enough to shoot our latest campaign In Between, close to my hometown in New Zealand, to land in another country felt both surreal and amazing.
Explore Kirstin Ash's collections, here.