We caught up with Mikaela Lyons who has joined us just in time for Christmas.
Mikaela, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be a jewellery designer/maker?
I decided to go to Leicester art college at 16 instead of doing A levels, academic studies were not for me. It was here that my interest in jewellery started. I had two very passionate tutors who introduced a jewellery elective as part of the course and I couldn’t sign up quick enough. This led me to choosing jewellery design as a Degree and then Masters at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery, they couldn’t get rid of me. I absolutely loved it.
To cut a long story short I graduated and went straight into designing for other brands for around 13 years. When I had my Son Malachy in 2016, it was time to follow my real passion and get back to making. When he was around 18 month old I launched my first collection and have never looked back.
Where do you design your pieces?
I actually designed my first Lioness collection in 2015, (I use Illustrator to create my initial designs) while I was still working as a watch designer. It was a passion project, and something that I had in my head for a long time. It was inspired by the prospect of loosing my surname in 2014 when I got married. My surname ‘Lyons’ felt part of me and I didn’t want to loose my identity as the expectation goes to take the mans surname. So we kept our own names and the Lioness was a representation of this. Symbolising equality and strength, going against the status quo. A few years later when our son came along, we double barrelled our names; Lyons-Watt, carrying on both of our histories and identities.
What is your favourite thing about being a designer/maker?
I don’t think I could do anything else, it’s all I know, it’s in my bones. My dad is a carpenter and it’s probably his influence that led my down a creative path. He had a workshop in our garden when I was growing up and I loved spending time in there. He used to take me to B&Q at the weekends which oddly for a child was my favourite shop. For my 16th birthday he bought me my first tool kit.
One of the privileges of being able to make and create your ideas into a tangible thing is knowing and having the control over where your materials come from and the processes you use. Working in fast fashion had never sat well with me, but being able to make products myself following ethical and eco methods is empowering. I wanted to do the right thing with my own brand and lead by example to my son.
What would you say were your main influences for your collections?
The meanings behind my collections have come from my own interests or like the Lioness it came from wanting to symbolise an experience that I went through in the hope that other people can relate to it and also create their own attachments and meanings. Jewellery is such a personal thing and I am (like many others) so sentimental about it. My collections are pretty self indulgent and things that I want to wear myself but can’t find anywhere. I have always been into vintage and heirloom jewellery so this will always have an influence on my work. I think classic jewellery symbols such as the horseshoe are beautiful and timeless and I have enjoyed bringing them into my work.
Which is your favourite piece and why?
This is such a hard question. Don’t make me pick!
I think it would have to be a Lioness, so I’m going to go with the Lioness double coin. It’s a piece that is so easy to wear everyday and layer up over a polo neck in the winter, and it’s a piece that I get complimented on the most when I wear it, which is nice.
Shop Mikaela's beautiful collection today!