KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2016 Winner, Joanna Bury

KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2016 Winner, Joanna Bury

Joanna Bury is a British Jewellery Designer and Maker who specialises in contemporary, statement jewellery pieces formed in a range of different materials, such as sand-blasted glass-like acrylic and precious metals.

Joanna’s design style combines traditional techniques & new digital methods in a unique and original aesthetic; adorning the body with feminine lace-like patterns which echo back to her previous career as a lingerie designer.

In honour of KickStart’s 10 year anniversary, we caught up with Joanna to find out about her experience of being a KickStarter and her journey after.

Q. What have the last 12 months been like for Joanna Bury Jewellery and what have been your most successful pieces/collections?

The last 12 months have been a transitional period for me; I completed a part-time Master of Fine Art (MFA) Degree where I specialised in jewellery design, and during this time I ran my fledgling jewellery business. The culmination of work over the last 12 months has resulted in the development of many exciting design projects.

One project of note was a collaboration with Falmouth University where I created jewellery for an interactive installation titled ‘UNKNOWN’. The installation was intended to break down barriers faced by a new generation of consumers whilst re-designing the future of retail. The visitors were encouraged to mine for pieces of jewellery, the jewellery that I designed, which created a memorable interactive experience.

Q. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from a variety of places on a day to day basis, however there is always a strong connection to the human body, and design that relates to the body. For example, I often work with patterns, patterns as provided by nature and patterns that are designed. A large part of my work looks at how patterns are transformed once they are projected onto the body through the use of jewellery, adorning the body similar to a temporary tattoo.

Q. What was your overall impression of KickStart and how did it help your business in its early stages?

KickStart was a great platform to launch my business, the exposure that came with being part of such a world-renowned trade show was invaluable. It soon became clear that visitors made a concerted effort to come and see new talent at the show. It proved to be a good networking experience where information and ideas were shared.

I received advice from everyone involved in the programme, and I received guidance through my first trade show. It was good to work alongside and share the experience with fellow jewellery designers that were at the same stage in their careers. This sense of community was much needed during the show, and it endured even after the show ended.

Q. How can future KickStarters capitalise on their IJL Journey and the IJL experience? What would be your advice?

My advice would be to come prepared, prepare your jewellery and plan your stand well in advance so you have plenty of rest before the show as the days are long; you should aim to be as equally engaged with the first person to the last person that visits your stand, whether it is day 1 or the end of day on the final day of the show.

I would also aim to unveil a new show-piece design or collection at the show to benefit from the publicity, it also acts as something new to see for those that may have seen your work before.

Q. What was one of your biggest challenging in launching your jewellery brand and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was commercialising my designs to be suitable for the wearer. It proved difficult calculating the cost of time intensive pieces where a non-precious material is transformed into a precious item that people would want to wear and could afford to buy. Commercialising my designs took time to develop, involving lots of experimenting with an element of trial and error. I sought advice from mentors, friends in the industry as well as advisors that were part of the Kickstart programme to ensure I was on the right track.

Q. Finally, what is the proudest moment in your jewellery career?

My proudest moment so far would be curating, managing and hosting my own solo exhibition as a result of my MFA that unveiled a personal project exploring bespoke jewellery pieces, designed and manufactured for a specific person, utilising 3D body scans of the wearer and jewellery that was created to fit the wearer as the ultimate bespoke piece of wearable art.

Heading into it’s 10th Year, KickStart 2019 is now open for submissions. Enter here:

To read more terms and conditions about KickStart, please click here

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