Harley Woolven, the Australian Sydney-based contemporary jewellery designer handcrafts his contemporary pieces from start to finish with the highest quality grade of Australian sterling silver, each piece is unique, bespoke, and epitomizes the ultra-cool aesthetic that represents his contemporary jewelry design line Black De Ville.
Tell us how you came about to design jewelry and what it was that inspired you to start up your own company? I have always had a strong love for fashion, construction, and the romance that can actually be translated through creation. I was naturally drawn to jewelry from a very young age however found it quite difficult to find exactly what I was looking for.
I think the inspiration to start up was through the idea of design recognition while also adding best I could to the androgynous fashion in Australia which is growing.
Your medium is prominently silver what are the pros and cons of working with such a raw metal? The pros of working with silver are probably endless, from accessibility to durability and also polishing or finishing ability. It is a metal that can easily be worn in a more rough or dirty finish or contrastingly be polished to virtually mirror. It’s a great metal to manipulate and is also perfect to fit that middle color tone to be cohesive with the wearers other clothing.
Cons can include spending hours on a design or a concept and it turns out looking like nothing at all. It’s often harder than anticipated to translate a design whether it be in your head, on paper or even a wax mould into silver… this can cause pretty tedious headaches.
You have an effortless cool aesthetic tell us what defines and sets your designer line apart from others? I think coming in with a point of difference is pretty fundamental when considering collection development. It’s very easy to step on toes of other artists even if its subconsciously. I really wanted to firstly create a strong foundation with a simple core range, but then progress into the direction I’m heading now.
I am a strong believer in brutalism and androgynous fashion. I will do my best to get a piece as obscure as possible while also maintaining wearability. It’s really important to me to stick to the identity of BLK DV and let it move into its own path while adding bits and pieces as I go along.
What or who inspires you and your designs? Initially, the core collection is totally inspired by structured existing pieces currently found in jewelry.
The collections after that, SHALLOW & BROKEN VALLEY were created totally through environmental emersion. I draw strong inspiration from my surroundings at the time. SHALLOW was designed by the water, it draws unconventional lines through transient flow patterns. It has some of my favourite pieces I’ve ever worked on and it really started to project the direction I was wanting to progress BLK DV into.
BROKEN VALLEY was developed within the Australian mountains, it is raw, jagged, large, sharp and dark. It incorporates a lot more color contrast through the metal. It has pieces that really expose the brutalism nature of BLK DV. I want to really tread the delicate line of functional verses unwearable as much as possible.
I think in regards to myself as a designer or creator, I draw influence from designers such as Rick Owens, Boris Bidjen Saberi, and Michele Lamy, to name just a few. For me, fashion inspiration isn’t just a ring or some apparel reference. It’s the detail, the texture, and the story that can be told.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM CREATIVE COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOR? Working with Rick Owens or Michele Lamy would be amazing, both at the forefront of brutalism streetwear. As a pair they really complement each other which has continued to give Rick Owens as a label a level above the rest of the world. That basically answers that, right?
NAME YOUR POISON: Pinot noir & delicate cotton
FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Embers Mezze Bar, Darlinghurst, Sydney
FAVOURITE CITY: Architecturally: Barcelona, Lifestyle: Sydney
IF YOU WERE TO DANCE LIKE NOBODY IS WATCHING WHAT WOULD BE THE SONG OF CHOICE: “Don’t stop me now,” Queen
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IN YOUR STUDIO? Charles Saatchi books.
PROUDEST MOMENT: Being able to say I’ve worked alongside some the best creatives in the world.
BEST ADVICE: People will stare. Do it anyway.
LIFE MOTTO: Assume nothing, expect everything.
Australian abstract artist Boe Sapun is the founder and curator of Ecume Gallery. The Melbourne-based gallery represents both local, international, established, and emerging contemporary art.
The idea of having great art accessible to a broad audience prompted the online gallery showcasing her own work, as well as a diverse range and ever-growing list of talented contributing artists.
Boe‘s passion is in discovering creative minds and understanding the finer nuances of their character which influence their process, inspiration, and art. Follow Boe Sapun and Écume Gallery on Instagram.