XMP & Isabel Moore Interview:
by Michael Kruger
It must be around 6 years ago now, when on a holiday to my homeland of South Africa that I met a charming young lady with an air of creativity about her. Although we’ve not really seen each other since, I’ve kept in contact and have also been keeping an eye on designer Isabel Moore! As you know I try to keep my exposés local to the Middle East region, but you’ll also know that from time to time I do a feature on someone in a far away foreign land whom I believe deserves it and who’s work I love!
Isabel can be described as a true creative; with tapping her talents into fine art painting, jewellery design, and fashion design as well as being a musician. For this feature, I’d like to concentrate more on her jewellery designs, which uniquely have now even crossed over into garment designs too.
So lets catch up with Isabel and learn more about what she does and where her inspiration from!
XPM: Hi Isabel. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. So, lets start by saying you are now based in Ibiza. There is this global misconception that Ibiza is just this huge Spanish party island, but I believe there are two sides to the island, a more tranquil side too? Before we get onto you and your work, tell us a little about the island you call home and why you base yourself here?
IM: Thanks Mike, Ibiza surprised and impressed me the first time I came here 8 years ago as the island has a really special rustic village charm to it. Nowhere is perfect, but Ibiza boasts a cosmopolitan scene, good weather and has been a point of musical and artistic inspiration for many people. The island is well connected and close to central Europe and has so many beautiful corners and natural places like caves and coves to discover… The light and the colours are beautiful here, we have very contrasting summer and winter seasons, and living here has been a great opportunity to study the ancient roots of the vast Mediterranean heritage in this small island… and if you want to go out, there is a lot to offer in the way of nightlife entertainment.
I have a good sales point for my art-work in the Las Dalias Market, and that is what allows me to dedicate myself to my artistic projects here.
I have also met a very good friend here, and a couple of years ago we started working on our musical project Deep Horizon together.
For as long as I can remember I have been into art and music - using one to distract me from the other, and here in Ibiza I have found a way to realise both of these projects.
XPM: So, I remember you telling me all those years ago when we met for the first time that you studied at Central Saint Martins in London. Anyone who knows anything about art schools will know of this college’s reputation. Some of the worlds top creative talent hail from there. Tell us a bit more about your education. What you studied, how it has held you in good stead today and what you ultimately gained out of being there?
IM: Central St Martins was a fantastic experience, being a student there allowed me to eat, drink, sleep and really live for the work I produced… Intense study allows you to reach a new level of understanding of what exactly art is, how to develop ideas and think conceptually - and of course learn how to receive criticism!
One of our study themes was Protection - a project that sparked what I do today with the chainmaille.
I since studied History of Art via correspondence with The London Art College and very much enjoyed the course and criticising artwork - the more you study what others have done, the more you can learn about and evaluate what you do yourself and why.
When we first met you were doing a lot of fine art paintings, very good ones at that. [see the editors pic along side] this interview. Are you still painting and if not, why not?
IM: I am still painting, but not only on canvas or paper! I have recently started a new project customising and decorating clothing, using various dye techniques, chainmaille, and paint. Im currently working on a collection where I can get back to using a paintbrush, but without being confined to a canvas…Each of the customised pieces is a one off, so the work is exciting and every piece of clothing gets treated like a drawing/painting would.
Lets move onto your jewellery, which I love by the way! Looking at the various pieces you play and use metals in your work. Essentially what materials are you using for your jewellery and fashion pieces and any reason for this?
IM: Metal-wise I work with Stainless Steel because it is high-strength, non-corrosive and non-allergenic. The philosophy behind the Isabel Moore label is all about providing beautiful and high quality products, so using Stainless Steel for each design element we are able to give a lifetime workmanship guarantee on most pieces, as our aim is that your product if looked after, can really last.
Depending on the piece the decoration varies, but Swarovski Crystals are our main resource aswell as Stainless Steel chain, semi-precious stones and shells.
Your pieces vary from bracelets, earrings, necklaces and then also take the shape of belts, bags and clothing pieces too. Tell us what inspires you with regards to the designs? Where does it all come from?
IM: The inspiration comes from the materials themselves; the chain, the mesh of rings and their limitations - how they hang, and how they can be combined together and used along with other materials. Sitting down and just starting to play around is what gives me inspiration. Then again, many products are also inspired from wanting something practical, such as the Jean Belt and Zenith Bracelet - 4x4 tough accessories you can wear with anything and always look great.
One of the newest designs the Phoenix Top was created to continue the theme of elegance and fine chain seen in the Phoenix Waistcoat, and really earns its name if you look at the back - you can see that the chain and the shape of the top suggest a bird with its wings outstretched…
A couple of pieces as mentioned before have kind of morphed from jewellery in to more fashion garments rather than jewellery. What seem’s to have become your signature pieces are the waistcoat and Dragonfly top. What made you create these amazing pieces out of pretty much the same materials you’re making your jewellery with?
IM: I have always loved the idea and the history of exploring interesting materials that can be worn, and out of my sheer fascination for the first piece of ring mesh I made, I immediately felt the urge to make wearable clothing from it… The mesh we make is of superior quality and finish, and is remarkably lightweight. We are using an ancient technique and giving it a modern makeover.
Another current project I am working on is a multifunction accessory similar to the Daniella Necklace/Belt as I like the idea of being able to use a product in more than just one way… The challenge of creating something practical that can be used in various ways that also is elegant and beautiful in each instance is inspiring, and being a perfectionist I won't let it rest until its done.
Notwithstanding its original use, we see something strong, intricately etherial and elegant in chainmaille. I think that the elegance, durability and shine of exquisite jewellery should not stop there, it can and should be made wearable on a larger scale.
As a designer and in fact any business, it’s not always to get yourself “out there” and gain some exposure. This interview may help some, but how are you finding the market closer to home in Ibiza and in fact perhaps in
Europe too? Is it a difficult market to break into? What are your main challenges?
IM: Exposure is important, and am thrilled on being invited to X-pose the Isabel Moore label a little! Challenges definitely include taking time away from the creative process and setting aside time to go out and do more on the publicity front.
We will be in London next winter looking for one or two places where we can showcase our work, as we intend on gaining a little more traction each year.
I see you’ve set up a really fantastic online shop on your site. I guess this goes a long way into making your designs more globally accessible. Do you ship all around the world and have you had any purchases from any weird or interesting places?
IM: Yes and thankyou! We are very happy with our online store, and like the work it will continue to expand and evolve. Having our basic collection exhibited and available in a few clicks makes all the difference, especially as we are based on a tiny island and most of our clients live elsewhere. We ship all over the world, no limitation. Not only that, but anything is possible - if the idea of shipping to a fixed address is inconvenient, a charter to a private boat or inaccessible terrain can also be organised, nothing is impossible for our much appreciated clients! Ibiza is a magnet for eccentric people, and we have been known to air-lift in emergency waistcoats to private yachts for special events!!!
So from the comfort of your sofa you really are just a few clicks away from our products, wherever in the world you are…
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we may not have covered concerning you jewellery and fashion designs?
IM: No, I think thats about it - I'd just like to say a big thankyou to you Mike and to X-pose Magazine for the feature, it has been such a pleasure!
Well Isabel, thanks so much for sharing your creative gifts with us today. Us at X-Pose Magazine will continue to watch your progress and wish you all the best for the future of your jewellery business!