The Alkonost is an independent London based jewellery brand. Founded by Kimberley Dawn, she produces unique, handmade sculptural jewellery. CreativPaper caught up with Kimberley, we talked about Russian mythology, hope and creativity.
Kimberley, There’s a strong organic theme through your designs, Talk us through that?
I like to challenge the idea of what beauty is. To me beauty is using something already ignited by beauty through nature itself. I then take that form and generate something new. As I use moulds from real bones in the design of my work, it is like giving it a new life and purpose – a reincarnation into something that can be timeless. In todays world I think it is a good way of showing how you can use something that is around you in nature to create things stylish yet sustainable.
Who is the ideal customer for The Alkonost?
I feel as though the designs connect with people in different ways. The use of bird beaks is almost a metaphor for peoples journeys in life not running smoothly all the time, with sharp twists and turns – yet still they find their way to glide through the air like an elegant bird. I want my jewellery to speak to people to give them empowerment and the assurance to be exactly who they want to be .
The name ‘The Alkonost’ stems from Russian mythology, Tell us more about that?
The Alkonost, according to Russian mythology, is a creature with the body of a bird but the head of a beautiful woman. She makes sounds that are amazingly hypnotic. Those who hear these sounds forget everything they know and want for nothing more. She lives in paradise but comes into our world to deliver a message of hope. Unlike her counterpart Sirin, she brings good, not evil.
The world of mythology fascinates me as it makes the world of the impossible, possible. The content of this particular story in its relation to birds and the good message the Alkonost brings are both prominent features in my work. The combining of a human form and a bird brings to me the notion of strength and freedom. I think it is important for your work and your brand to stem from something that inspires.
What challenges do you face during the creative process of your design work?
As a creative person it is important to finish things. Imperfections and mistakes can lead to our own version of ‘perfection’. The struggle can often be that your imagination is limitless, yet when that collides with the hurdles and frustrations of completing a piece, it can be hard to get past that. All you can do is your best and let mistakes and fails strengthen you and lead you to a better creative process and achievement.
Are there any designers living or passed that inspire your work?
I am constantly inspired by beautiful designers and individuals around me. Katrin Spranger is a designer who particularly inspires me. She explores the use of natural materials with strong narratives or concepts and the outcome is truly stunning with a dark edge. She is a person who makes one challenge ideas which I hope to achieve in my work.
Another artist outside of the jewellery world who inspires me is the musician and artist Grimes. Her persona in going against the grid and her grunge styling is someone I imagine representing my brand. Most importantly I respect the strong sense of freedom she expresses through her work.
What materials do you use in your work?
The main content of my work is silver. In a world of fabricated jewellery it is important to keep a sense of the value of craftsmanship. My designs are handcrafted with moulds made from real animal bones, combined with wax carving. This allows the original natural form to be transformed with the addition of my own imagination - becoming a unique piece that is raw and refined at the same time.
Photographer: Nicole Gomes
Makeup Artist: Hannah Williams