Rowena Hunter is the founder and designer of Shape Lab. She specialises in designing beautiful light polymer clay earrings in her little home studio situated in London. Soft summer pastels and deep winter rich colours are her style. You will see a lot of her pieces feature brass charms which really set off the earrings and give a different dimension to each piece and guess what?! Each and every single piece is unique as each is lovingly handmade!
Tell us how you started your accessory brand?
I started Shape Lab as a hobby during lockdown as a form of escapism and to enable me to totally switch off from everything that was going on in the world! To me, jewellery making is very therapeutic and calming!
We would love to know a bit about your sources of inspiration.
I was inspired to start working with polymer clay through a pair of earrings I was given as a present from a friend. I loved the style and wanted to make some more for myself. That is really how it all started. Sources of inspiration come from everywhere, but I find I'm mostly inspired when I'm working with the clay and being creative. This is when my head goes into overdrive and my hands can't keep up with the ideas in my head!
Rowena has always loved accessories since her childhood. As a little girl, she used to love getting dressed up in costumes for plays. She even worked in a theatre for a number of years in the costume department working with accessories within costumes.
“I have always been creative and loved the arts and theatres”
Do you have a signature style? Tell us more about your most popular designs.
I enjoy working with the medium of clay as it's so pliable, forgiving and there are such a number of possible ways of working with it.
We would love to hear about your creative time in the studio and how you connect with your clients.
My studio time can happen in short sharp bursts, or it can happen throughout a whole day until 2am! I am definitely a night owl and I think this stems from working in the theatre for years. I would return home from work and work until 3am on a creative project! I connect with my clients primarily through Instagram; however, my brand has mostly picked up interest through word of mouth which has been fantastic!
Do you have a muse?
I wouldn't say I have one specific muse but there are a number of artists and designers who inspire me such as Tom Dixon, Chris Rivers, Sonia Delaunay, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Valentino, I'm attracted to the way all of these artists/designers play with shape and their fantastic use of colour!
What skills are necessary to be a successful designer? Do you have any tips for the aspiring artists who want to start their own accessory brand?
Be you! It's great to look to other artists/designers for inspiration but essentially your best work will reveal itself when you are true to yourself. This is when your own style will emerge and when you will enjoy your work the most!
Last but not the least, which of your designs is your favourite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
One of my favourite designs is my original 'Ray of Sunshine' earrings. This style is bright and happy which immediately lifts your mood when you put them on! They're fun yet elegant at the same time and go with everything! I gave them this name due to brass sun ray but also due to the period we were in in lockdown, when everyone's spirits needed lifting!
Here are some Shape Lab earrings styling advice from the designer for her clients:
Wear Shape Lab pieces with complimentary colours.
Patterned pieces look great with a plain top so that the earrings take the centre of attention.
The plain pieces can go with almost anything, but preferably wear a colour that will compliment your earrings and set them off!
London Accessory Week Team