Designer Leila Du Mond explores the intimacy of light and form with her jewelry brand, Cyril Studio.
October 19 2017
"There’s a fluid, sensual quality to my work. The forms want to be touched, to feel the body against them. Jewelry provides a directive for that interaction. The wearer intuitively understands they’re meant to bring the object to their body."
Favorite Breakfast: Coffee with milk, bordering on milk with coffee.
Current Favorite Book: Tied between The World of Light by John Stewart Collis and Bluets by Maggie Nelson.
Favorite Country / City for Inspiration: Paris, always
Cyril Studio is a new jewelry brand founded by designer, Leila Du Mond. Launched just this year, Leila's work casts a distinctively luminous light on the traditional craft of designing with organic materials. The beautiful collection perfectly captures the timeless aesthetic of sculpture jewelry and highlights the spiritual connection between an object and the human body.
Maren: Tell us about your beginnings – who is behind Cyril Studio, and how did the idea come about?
Leila: Cyril Studio emerged as a natural extension of my studio practice. I’ve long been enamored with glass as a medium, and was interested in isolating the qualities I find most seductive – the luminosity, fluidity, and tactility [of glass]– and translating them into something precious that can be carried with the wearer every day.
Maren: Why is jewelry your medium of choice for artistic expression?
Leila: There’s a fluid, sensual quality to my work. The forms want to be touched, to feel the body against them. Jewelry provides a directive for that interaction. The wearer intuitively understands they’re meant to bring the object to their body. It’s more natural to communicate the invitation to touch and engage through jewelry than through larger scale sculpture. And there’s an inherent intimacy in having something so close to the body and being able to carry it with you.
Maren: You say you are “informed by the everyday sublime”, drawing inspiration from “museum aesthetics” How did you come to be inspired by this?
Leila: I define the everyday sublime as quiet moments of clarity and magnitude; when assumed knowledge is peeled back like the rind of an orange, exposing the ripe flesh underneath.
It’s gazing at a mountain and seeing beyond a forest covered mass. Visualizing each ridge as it emerged from the earth, the strata rising and blistering. Understanding that its mass doesn’t end with our line of sight. Its profile dips down, descending deep below the waterline.
Museum aesthetics refers to the visual language employed by museums. Objects on display are decontextualized and reframed. Pedestals, prongs, plaques, patching. These devices offer the illusion of neutrality while conveying a specific perspective. Museum aesthetics are used to guide the viewer through the noise, the rising sea of trees, shifting their gaze to focus in on the mountain’s cross section. The swelling layers of foliage and soil, strata and magma.
The two ideas work alongside each other. The reduced visual language creates a lens to isolate and view the magic in the organic material. They allow the maker to communicate a specific line of sight.
"Museum aesthetics refers to the visual language employed by museums. Objects on display are decontextualized and reframed. Pedestals, prongs, plaques, patching. These devices offer the illusion of neutrality while conveying a specific perspective."
Maren: A great deal of craftsmanship has gone into each of your pieces. What is the process like, from design to finished product?
Leila: I work iteratively and reductively. There’s often some sort of vision that propels me into making. An image of suspended drops of light, like dew drops or dripping mercury. I then use that to define the materials – their physical properties informing the final design. I begin the process of making with rough studies in materials like brass wire, card stock, or wax. They allow me to explore ideas without investing too much time, to see how materials and forms meet––how they can situate themselves on the body. Successful studies are translated into a more permanent material, then compulsively refined and reworked, often five or more times, until I arrive at the final design. Each iteration is an attempt to clarify and build upon the original vision.
Maren: Name some of the designers and artists that you admire the most.
Leila: I was lucky enough to have interviewed Naomi Filmer a few years back and she was as generous and kind as she is brilliant. Her series Suspended Bodyscapes uses the space around the body to describe its form, shifting the perspective through which bodies are viewed and defined. Patrick Watson’s performances are a constant source of inspiration. They use sound, movement, and light in unison, creating a sublime and immersive experience. Gerd Rothmann’s work is so smart and elegant, using the body as both content and context. And John Hogan’s glass sculptures make me swoon.
"I define the everyday sublime as quiet moments of clarity and magnitude...It’s gazing at a mountain and seeing beyond a forest covered mass. Visualizing each ridge as it emerged from the earth, the strata rising and blistering. Understanding that its mass doesn’t end with our line of sight."
Maren: Your jewelry is part of a minimalist ‘slow fashion’ movement. Why do you think this practice has gained such popularity?
Leila: The current shift in fashion mirrors what’s occurred in the food industry. So many of us have moved away from food as a mass produced, industrialized commodity. It’s returned to being our connection to the earth, to our communities, to tradition. I see the slow fashion movement as much the same. It’s a response to the dominance of fast fashion giants like Zara. The consumer is seeking an intimate, timeless, and sustainable alternative.
Maren: What has been your biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
Leila: It’s the endless internet tab syndrome. It often feels like there are so many unfinished thoughts and sentences and ideas, and it becomes impossible to address and develop everything or anything to its full potential. Every thought seems to come with a trail of ands. The only way through it is being pragmatic and patient and dedicating yourself to the task at hand. And lists help.
Maren: What has been your biggest reward?
Leila: The process of creating is long and insular. Emerging from that period and being able to share the work with the world has been refreshing and rewarding. There’s a thrill in seeing someone wear and enjoy jewelry I’ve created, and I’m excited to connect with a larger audience.
Maren: What is on the horizon for Cyril Studio?
Leila: More than anything I’m looking forward to having more time to design. There are two new collections in the works right now, but my mind is already jumping ahead to one of a kind pieces, an expansion into objects, etc. It would be fantastic to collaborate with a glass artist in the near future.
Photography — Viktor Jelinek
Interview — Nickie Shobeiry + Nora Jelinek
Editor — Victoria Bagger
Jewelry Gallery Images courtesy of Cyril Studio