Jean Riley X Silk Laundry Interview

Jean Riley Jewellery, a unique and vibrant brand in the world of accessories, has been making waves with its captivating designs and custom pieces. Joel and Josh, the talented artists and creators behind the brand, recently held a Pop Up Store in Brisbane to showcase their stunning collection during the launch of the Magic Mushrooms line. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the inspiration behind their creations, the influence of Joel's grandmother on the brand, and their aspirations for the future.

SL: Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came to the world of jewellery design? Where did it all start?

JR: Jewellery started for me in 2010, I studied traditional silversmithing while in school. This wasn't for me at the time, and I left to explore the creative industries world after school and fastforward to 2018, I started what we call Jean Riley today.

SL: Your grandmother, Ms Gloria Jean Riley, is a huge part of your brand. Are you able to tell us a little bit more about her?

JR: My Grandmother was my best-friend and biggest fan throughout my whole life, just like most grandmother's are. She owned an antique store locally to where we grew up so that definitely sparked my interest for all things eclectic and unique. I didn't realise at the time being so young how much it would mould my art style, she will forever live on in each of the branding aspects as she passed away sadly in 2020 from Dementia.

SL: Can you tell us a bit about your latest collection, featuring the mushrooms? 

JR: Our capsule mushroom collection was inspired by the magical world of Fungi and the important role it plays in our ecosystem, another area that is so delicately dear to my brand ethos. Reborn, rejuvenated all aspects that I feel everyday running Jean Riley, 2023 is a big year sentimentally for me and my business so it was only fitting to align this love of mushrooms with Silk laundry.

SL: As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from? What inspires you and your creations?

JR: Each moment of my life is always mixed into the collections, from memories with my grandmother, to sadness & break-ups. This might sound strange but I have learned that each emotion evokes a different part of my artistry.

SL: Is there something that you try to communicate through your designs?

JR: Absolutely, Each piece will be connected to a year, a memory or a certain time in my life. I also am working on ways to incorporate other social issues that need a voice.

SL: What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special? 

JR: My Favourite piece would have to be the Benjul Flower, I lost my nan a few months before this piece was designed and it represents a moment in my career as an artist where I stopped doubting myself and built the garden I am still building today, so this piece will always hold a special spot in my heart. I don't keep pieces around for long ;)

SL: Who would you love to see wearing your pieces? 

JR: I would have to say Aussie Icon, Kylie Minogue

SL: What is next for Jean Riley? How can we support you and your work?

JR: A lot is to come from the evolution of my art & brand, I am working on some fun collaborations. Creating a community is my biggest push for 2023. Silk laundry has done so much and I appreciate them for welcoming me into such a special brand who I have admired for years. You have helped me get out of that nasty artist comfort zone.

A Jewellery Making Workshop with Jean Riley view here.