The Elegance of One
"It's been non-stop," shares jewellery designer Bianca Michelle Bovell as she sits down to an exclusive interview with SO. It's no idle boast. With a week to go before her first 'real' show she's understandably under pressure. "Designs BiMi," she tells SO, "is a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces of unique copper, sterling silver, brass and wood pieces. It includes homeware and jewellery pieces created through a series of intense techniques, like chasing and repousse, forming, casting and forging." It's language that has become commonplace for Bovell whose design journey can be traced back to her days at Hillel Academy where her love for technical drawing was fostered. Her thoughts post-high school and on enrolment at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Georgia, were in her own words "to complete my Master's in Architecture." Adding a jewellery design class as an elective proved the turning point. Bovell discovered her true calling.
"I continued to take other jewellery design classes, while still continuing with my architecture degree. I soon realised what I really enjoyed doing. I struggled for a while with my decision about changing my major to Metals & Jewellery." There'd be family deliberations.
"My mum suggested that I continue with architecture and that jewellery could be a hobby, but I was confident that I could turn my passion into a sustainable venture," Bovell adds.
It's hard to escape the tropical aesthetic within Bovell's work, something she's most proud of.
"I drew my inspiration from Jamaica," she tells SO, before outlining that the first piece she designed was a small copper and brass cuff in the shape of a coconut tree with coconuts falling. She's, however, come a long way since her first piece and is ready to showcase her creativity through her first collection, aptly entitled 'One'.
"One, meaning one of a kind, the beginning, the first," she quips, "there are 30 one-of-a-kind pieces being shown, and approximately 20 of which are being offered for sale."
Telling us of the ideas behind her impending first show, Bovell admits she's desirous of showing the different techniques and areas that she employs. Her passion is almost palpable as she speaks of her favourite pieces: "That would have to be my Heirloom Collection, it was my senior project at SCAD and I worked on designing and making it for months."
A look at this exquisitely designed five-piece set - comprising a gravy ladle, a cake knife, salad servers and a serving spoon - and it's easy to understand her feelings of excitement towards the works which feature carved walnut handles and forged sterling silver.
"My designs cater to those who appreciate fine handcrafted works with a great attention to detail." Bovell's attention to detail is a fact evident in the broad ranges of styles and creativity her collection displays.
Her aesthetic is clever, bold and balanced with the perfect measure of chic; and if she keeps at it, we're guessing Jamaica will in short order lay claim to yet another celebrated artisan.