The haute-fantaisie jewellery designer Christel Bussière makes the glass beads for her dreamlike jewellery collection herself. Focus on the expertise that allows the dream to take shape, an exclusive video to be discovered.
At the start, an inspiration
The creation of jewellery is a passionate profession. An idea lies behind every piece. An idea that can spring from something seen or heard. An image, a piece of music, a material, a colour... To develop one's creativity, one must accept to be influenced by the outside world. Trust your feelings and emotions. Let your personality express itself.
How can one translate an inspiration into an ideal piece of jewellery?
Bringing the idea to life, that is, translating one's inspiration into an actual piece of jewellery, is the most delicate but perhaps also the most exhilarating step. A good technique is to think by associating ideas. You look for words and then translate them into images. Pinterest is a good ally at this stage. You draw lots of sketches until you find the ideal model.
Glass has a tremendous evocative power. After the primitive sketch, you have to choose the colours, patterns and textures that will best express the concept. For a collection of dreamlike jewellery, it then becomes a question of translating the dream into matter.
Numerous practical tests follow
For the artist Christel Bussière, making her own collection, spinning her own beads, contributes to the authenticity of her approach. The final bead must be attractive. Its nuance must be mastered, its shape must be perfect. Even if the material can be allowed an element of unpredictability so that each piece is unique.
Multiple tests must be made until they are entirely satisfactory. The artist has a large collection of coloured glass rods. Having this accumulation of colours at one's disposal is the promise of being able to create with complete freedom.
Let us tell you how a glass bead is born
Glass work is full of poetry. There is something romantic about watching the bead slowly take shape under the flame.
The basic techniques of glass spinning are relatively simple to learn: a few hours of practice are enough for the novice to acquire the basic gestures. However, mastering them takes years of practice! The know-how for bead-making is an artistic craft. Christel Bussière is a member of the Association des Perliers d’Art de France (Association of French Art Bead-makers).
To make a glass bead, you need:
- a blowtorch, to melt the glass;
- artistic glass in rod form, which will be more or less manipulated like a pencil;
- a mandrel: this is the metal rod held in the other hand, around which the molten glass is wound to reach the consistency of honey. This rod will be kept in almost permanent rotation to overcome, and above all control, the effects of gravity. After the mandrel is withdrawn, the space left becomes the bead's perforation; - an annealing oven: essential to control the drop in the bead's temperature; it prevents the glass suffering thermal shock that would weaken the finished bead.
Metal also has its role to play
Most art beadmakers use ready-made components to prepare their beads and make jewellery. Christel Bussière goes further in personalisation. In order to create her original jewellery, she designs the metal elements that make her beads poetic. At her workbench, she saws, files and polishes the rough shapes of these elements. This is her way of infusing her creations with the spirit of haute-fantaisie. A way of making them authentic.
After designing the metal models of her French jewellery, she entrusts the production to hand-picked craftsmen. In an ethical approach, she favours local workshops and reasoned consumption.
Lastly, the challenges of an ethical approach
Christel Bussière is proud of the jewellery brand that bears her name. The step of choosing the materials, their origin, is a long and crucial one. In professional language, this step is called sourcing. It is vital to ensure that the raw materials meet regulatory quality standards, including that the metals comply with standards for nickel and lead.
Afterwards, and this is a more personal step, the artist works with a short supply chain. As a French designer, for example, she has chosen a workshop in Paris to produce the metal elements of her collection. As for the artistic glass used to make the beads, as there is no manufacturer in France, so she chooses materials from the best European workshops.