Things&Ink chatted to Lucy “Tomatoes” Wilson who created jewellery brand Bloody Mary Metal.
This is an edited version of an interview first featured in The Launch Issue of Things&Ink magazine published in November 2012.
If you like what you see, Lucy has offered T&I readers a 10% discount code, simply enter BMMLOVESTHINGS&INK at the check out… we know what we’ve got our eyes on (Bone Wrap and Defend Blaze rings, oh yeah)
PHOTOS: Grace Isobel
How did you become a jeweller? I started an apprenticeship with Phil Orton, with a view to creating my own company, eventually. I seemed to pick things up fast and loved being creative. I was soon taking wax blocks home with me at night to carve my own designs. I kept at it, until I had my own mini-range and then Phil allowed me to cast them into silver. The reaction to my designs was pretty awesome, and a girl in New York bought two of my first designs straight away. I continued designing and creating, and over the last few months things have really taken off. I can already see the growth in Bloody Mary Metal (BMM), from the start back in March (2012) up to now. I’ve got so much to learn, I don’t think the learning curve will ever stop, but I’m loving working with my hands, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with the brand so far.
What inspires you? I’m lucky that I love my work, and I’m in control of it. So the things that inspire me in day-to-day life are often the things that inspire my designs. My love of heavy metal is a massive influence in my work, and I’d say that in general, “the darker, macabre side of life” is fascinating. Our history, bones, weapons, religion are all really interesting to me. I’m Cornish, so the sea is a massive love in my life – there’s lots of nautical- and pirate-themed pieces in my collections.
What draws you to jewellery? I’ve always loved jewels, I’m a bit of magpie. I love statement pieces, but I also love layering up lots of smaller pieces. I’m really into mixing metals – silver and gold, high shine and matt. Combining colour and texture can look decadent and interesting.
Is your work inspired by tattoos? To an extent. I spent a long time working with some amazing tattoo artists before BMM, so their artistic approaches are bound to be rattling around in my brain when I’m designing. A lot of my designs are, as I mentioned, nautically-themed, which is obviously a hugely popular theme in tattooing too. Anchors from Sailor Jerry through to new-school designs are popular. So there are definitely likenesses to my collections.
Hope and Anchor
What is your favourite piece you have created? I love the Hope
& Anchor pendant. I designed it as a tribute to my dad, who I lost to Pancreatic Cancer. I donate all of the profit from the Hope & Anchor to Macmillan Cancer Support, so every time I sell one, we’re helping another family. It’s amazing the stories people send me when they buy it, their own personal battles. I feel honoured that people are so touched by my design. I also love the 1oz bone – it was my first design and I am so proud of it. The thing about BMM is that it’s basically the jewellery I want, but can’t ever find in stores, so I wear most of it.
What did you do before BMM? I guess selling tomatoes on the London farmers markets was a pretty big part of my life. I did a degree at drama college too, and slaved for a few fashion brands. Right before BMM, I worked at Jolie Rouge Tattoo in London. It was the best thing I did. I met some of my best friends and it inspired me to get creative, to do my own thing, and make things happen. All of the artists who work there are amazing. They all have such a distinctive personal style, and they all work so hard. They took me under their wings and encouraged and supported me.
Can you tell me a bit about your tattoos? Well, apart from the usual tiny “didn’t really think that through” stars, my first big piece was down my back, by Dave Bryant. It’s a feather and birds, and I had it done when I lost my dad. A lot of my tattoos are tributes to my family, and most of them signify big steps in my life. I have a full sleeve by Charissa at the Jolie Rouge, which is all linked to my home in Cornwall. My tattoos are fun and bright and will always remind me of people and places I love.
Lucy’s back by Dave Bryant
Do you think there is a relationship between fashion and tattoos? Unfortunately, yes. Working in a studio opened my eyes to the whole “scene” and how predictable it is. I think you should have tattoos of what you love, by artists you love, and have them done for you – not because some pop star has “a owl” tattoo, or whatever. It’s also really obvious when people have just Googled “tattoo design”. The amount of times I saw the same rose vine reference in a year was unbelievable. ❦