Interdisciplinary artist Beatrice Carlson. Image supplied.
French interdisciplinary artist Beatrice Carlson has been based in Auckland for the past 16 years and has shown her work in New Zealand as well as internationally. Beatrice has a fashion design background holding a Aiguille d’Or-Golden Needle in fashion design/pattern making in France and after spending a decade in corporate apparel design she has been focusing exclusively on her art practice since 2015. The talented artist has been a finalist in the World of Wearable Art Awards 10 times and Beatrice’s work has evolved from large pieces in perspex to a recent jewellery collection using Sterling Silver as a medium.
We caught up with Beatrice to find out more about her collection, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Being in a bubble the past few months has made me rethink who I am and how I could translate it now. My work as a jeweller is a lot more personal, using my French origin and moulding it into my New Zealand life. Working with my Etching press (I am also a printmaker), I emboss metal as you would with paper. My printmaking practice carries over into my jewellery practice.
The embossing features 40-year-old French lace from the time I had my own lingerie brand in France. It relates to my fashion design past. I also emboss leaves: Lemon, Kowhai, Maidenhair vine. Shapes are simple, everything is about the imagery. I add a bit of Gold for preciousness. But, most importantly, the Greenstone comes from Hokitika.
I talk about Aotearoa, I talk about my French ancestry and how precious the connection is between them both.
What made you become a designer?
My two grandmothers were couturieres (seamstresses) and one of my great grandmothers was an embroiderer, so it’s in my genes! I still have old linen she embroidered for her wedding trousseau… at least 110 years ago!
Jewellery by Beatrice Carlson.
What inspires you?
New Zealand colours, landscape, floor and fauna I see during my every day walks.
My French ancestry and my past as a fashion and lingerie designer.
I always like to “use the body as a canvas to talk”.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I am a perfectionist. I prefer quality to quantity. I like simple and soft shapes that enhance a beautiful print or a weave. In the same way, sustainability, NZ sourcing, non-toxic are key in my jewellery practice. The shapes of my pieces are organic and simple, so as not to distract from the delicate lace embossing work.
The shapes are also soft like Aotearoa landscapes, while the oxidation looks like the black sand of Bethells Beach. When I create jewellery, I “talk” about New Zealand, the lace embossed is a reminder of my French roots!
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
My glasses. I have been wearing them for nearly 20 years and they suit me…or I suit them! I bought them from Theo Eyewear in France. The funny thing is that they were designed in New Zealand by a jeweller, Brian Adam…
Synchro-destiny, I really believe in that!
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Cashmere… scarf, beanie, gloves, sweater, even socks
…and then, jewellery…ah ah ah!
The jewellery you wear shows a bit of your personality: You spend time to choose and buy it.
It can be a statement piece or a subtle touch accessorising your outfit, but when you wear it, it definitely says something about you!
Jewellery by Beatrice Carlson.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being recognised as a jeweller by the most important New Zealand institutions in art and fashion:
I am represented by Te Papa store gallery – Wellington, the Suter art gallery – Nelson, the Poi Rooms – Auckland, Artform gallery – Matakana, Waiheke art gallery and Liz Mitchell.
What can’t you live without?
My husband, he is a wonderful New Zealander… Andrew has always been very supportive, especially now that I’m a jeweller… maybe it’s only because he doesn’t need to buy me any!
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
A bikini at the beach!
I know, it sounds funny but I love to go swimming when I want and if I wear shorts and a rash top, I can walk to the beach and then back home again, just as I am.
Perfect when the sea is a six-minute walk from your house and you need to have a break from making jewellery!