What a Touch by VLS!Sunday, September 15, 2019
Ceramicist Victoria Leigh Silvera is the creative force behind Touch by VLS — a collection of contemporary ceramic houseware and lifestyle pieces. Her use of playful Caribbean colours, sea creature shapes and thoughtful design has endeared her to both the design community and collectors. The last six years have been a whirlwind of activity for the designer. The highlights include:
2013 – During the Branson Centre's Pitch 2 Rich competition Sir Richard Branson himself in an unprecedented move granted Silvera (and another participant) a US$ 10,000 loan.
2014 – She prototyped and copyrighted her first wooden and ceramic chandelier and was awarded with the first prize in Industrial Design by the Jamaica Intellectual Properties' Authentic Jamaica competition with an award of J$250,000.
2015 – Silvera received the loan from Branson and was able to import the first tonne of raw material and purchase a kiln and transformer.
2016 – Touch by VLS saw a 15% increase in gross profit and was finally in the black!
2017 – Journeyed to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania with the African Caribbean Pacific group of countries and the European Union's (ACP-EU) Underdeveloped Minerals Programme and trained with the African Minerals & Geosciences Centre. There she learned from the best in ceramics. Later that year she crossed the Caribbean Sea with over 500 pieces with the aid of the Caribbean Export Development Agency(CEDA) and Design Caribbean to attend Carifesta in Barbados.
2018 – Applied for the Direct Access Grant Scheme (DAGS), an initiative led by the ACP-EU and CEDA to help leverage exports from the Caribbean. Silvera was accepted into the programme and was awarded Touch by VLS' largest grant to date.
2019 – DAGS took Silvera to the Architectural Digest Show in New York, where she got a taste of competing on a global stage. She arrived back in Jamaica just in time to receive a shipment comprising a pug mill, slab roller, wheel, and over two tonnes of raw materials.
Silvera is gearing up to launch a new collection, Starseed, at the end of this year. The items will be created from wrought metal, ceramic material, wood and glass. Although many elements are being used, they are cemented by a universal language of abstract carved shapes. Starseed will be magical!
“I have found a way to marry aquatic sea references and a minimalist style. Starseed is heavily inspired by my meditative time in Tulum, and my connection to nature, spirituality, and sacred geometry. Playing with different geometric shapes, new carving techniques and materials makes for a more futurist take on my style. The composite copper, cedarwood and ceramic chandelier, Diana, was the genesis for the collection. It was taken to the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York to showcase the new direction for Touch By VLS.
“I am hoping to expand and to take my pieces all over the world to share Caribbean Modernism. I want to pass on beauty and synergy to other cultures and other generations. I hope you'll join me on that journey so together we can pierce the firmament because the sky is no longer the limit,” Silvera said.
To keep up with Silvera and be made aware of when Starlight drops visit touchbyvls.com. To purchase or commission pieces, contact Victoria Silvera at 876.436.6259, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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