My Interview With Diana Sherling Founder of Lily Flo

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to become a jewellery designer / maker

I started to design and make only 5 years ago, but my love of art and craft is deeply ingrained in my childhood and family. Both my grandmothers and mother were crafters, art lovers and designers, whilst the men were all entrepreneurs;  I was brought up in a world of art, culture and travel, so it was always in my blood. Whilst, I studied Ancient Art and Archaeology throughout school and university and then successfully pursued a career in advertising, London’s creative arts enabled me to enjoy a very modern, technical approach to product design and its intrinsic part of today’s culture. 

When I turned 40, I was travelling more with work and being on the leadership team of ad agencies was all consuming, I just questioned whether I really wanted to lead that life, certainly having 2 small children and a hubby that I never saw! My passion for painting, craft and design only increased and really made me want to lead a different life; a life where my skills were my currency and I was in charge of my own destiny.  I chose jewellery from my love of ancient art and design, my mothers’ exuberant collection and I just wanted to get my hands dirty learning ancient and modern skills. I went back to college, at the City Lit and I’ve been there ever since learning more and more collection research, technical drawing, goldsmithing, gemsetting and digital jewellery skills to improve my knowledge and professionalism as a designer and maker. 

Where do you make and design your jewellery?

I design and make my jewellery in my studio in North London. I wanted to be able to work close to home and so I can lead a life where I am not wasting any time that is not working nor with my family. I have worked in the dining room for over 5 years before my tools and my books have taken over and my hubby is building me a purpose built studio at the end of the garden.  

What is your favourite thing about being a designer?

My favourite thing about being a designer, is actually researching and designing. I have such a love of art, history and architecture, fashion and product design as well as music, poetry and film that I am never stumped for ideas. I love the design process of taking a group of ideas and influences that hang together around an emotion and add to it beautiful magic for me to draw and paint, and then formulate them into pieces and a collection. There is always a positive message, core to being a beautiful woman at the heart of every collection. Each collection has to have an emotive crux that deeply connects to my customer and my job is to make beautiful, delicate and deeply feminine pieces for her.

What would you say are your main influencers for your collection/s

Really there are 3 core influences to how I design and the reason why I make the way I do:

  •  art history (particularly the Impressionists)
  • craft (I like to take inspiration from other crafts and inspire them into my jewellery) 
  • fashion (the pieces need to be versatile and wearable so that my customers love to wear them and they become their second skin).

  • What is your favourite piece in your collection and why

    I would say my favourite piece is the Stardust Scattered Stars Necklace with diamonds. It’s a piece that before I started to make, I always wanted to have; a necklace, made of solid pure gold, with little diamonds, that sparkled round your neck to feel girly, dainty and feminine, in order to feel powerful, confidence and go-getter at work. I always believed in the power of fashion and style to give you confidence to achieve your dreams in your life and work. That was the core reason why I wanted to design - to support and help emotionally an army of women to rock the world!

    Then the reality of making this and making it well has actually taken years of learning and practice. Nor many jewellers at all venture to solder on chains - its very precarious and difficult - a lot of melting goes on and its taken a lot of learnt skill… and then I create the discs using an ancient technique of granulation where you melt tiny pieces of gold into balls and then I hammer them flat and then polish each tiny piece before I solder them onto the chain. Polishing can take much longer than any of the making. Then a further 2 courses at the City Lit later, I was able to make my own mounts and set the diamonds. Due to the size and placement around the necklace chain, as well as being an ethical jeweller and not wanting to waste anything, I created my own techniques to make the mounts and then set the diamonds.

    All of this, means that this necklace emotionally celebrates all the things I’ve learnt and taught myself, perseverance and commitment to my craft and future and acknowledges my achievement as its one of my very best selling pieces.