Vancouver based Jewellery Designer Lisa McEachern wants to remind you of your mortality.
A latin phrase meaning “Remember that you are mortal”, Memento Mori embodies an artistic genre of work that brings attention to the brevity and fragility of a human life. The jewellery’s purpose in the past has been to point out the importance of respecting and embracing this philosophy. I sat down to chat with Lisa about Memento Mori Jewellery, her creative process, and how she got started.
Q. What does Memento Mori symbolize and how did it come to be?
A. Basically the Memento Mori genre sprouted in Europe around the Victorian era because of the death caused by the plague. Fashion became very dark and mourning jewellery was commonly worn to remind its wearer of lost loved ones from mainly aristocratic and royal families.
Q. How did you discover your love for Memento Mori?
A. I was doing research at the Library and came across a vintage hair jewellery book. It was so unusual that it caught my attention. The symbols used in the jewellery for sorrow, such as the weeping willow, skeleton, and time pieces, were so beautiful that it instantly sparked something in me.
A. I’m inspired a lot by antique and vintage fashion with a contemporary spin. I like to make pieces that evoke a certain sentimentality or appreciation of a simpler time, such as the kite piece..who flies kites anymore when you’ve got TV, ipods, Nintendo, Wii and Facebook to keep you occupied?
Also , I draw inspiration from my love of art and history, music and dance. You’ll also fiind a few pieces are an expression of a different concept such as The Power Tie, my tribute to the 80’s, and the Ballerina.
Can you talk about your process and the steps you take to produce the final piece?
A. I start off with many, many sketches of one piece until I narrow it down to a few. The majority of the pieces are sculpted by hand first in wax, using tiny tools and files and then casted. I then make moulds of the piece so I can reproduce them.
Q. You must have a lot of equipment!
A. Guess again! I take my casting to a contractor, which costs a bit more, but that way it saves me from purchasing large equipment and creating more waste.
Q. Are you big on recycling?
A. Yes! I use 100% of my materials and reuse and remelt scrap metals and make that nothing goes to waste. All of the equipment I use is very minimally wasteful since I don’t use big machinery or any harmful chemicals for the production such as toxic polishing chemicals. Also, I use organic cotton muslin bags as opposed to boxes for my packaging.
Check out her website for more info. For any inquiries you can contact Lisa directly:
778 866 2245
Photos courtesy of http://www.mementomorijewellery.com/