Inspired by everything from flora and fauna to children’s literature and 18th-century English textiles, London-based jewellery designer Clara Francis conjures up two- and three-dimensional beaded works that can only be described as miniature masterpieces. Each piece of jewellery takes between two hours and two weeks to make, and is constructed by hand using just thread and tiny Japanese glass beads. There are no shortcuts in this process, and the results are truly magical.
Using traditional methods in the service of a modern, irreverent and quintessentially British aesthetic, Clara creates jewellery that appeals to the emotions, to the eye, and to the wearer’s sense of fun and adventure.
“My designs encapsulate the traditional elements of beadwork infused with a more contemporary aesthetic… a sense of fairy-tale that I use as inspiration,” Clara says. “Childhood secret memories are relived in a special way. I love seeing people wear my work; I love explaining to people how I have made every piece, and where my inspiration comes from.”
Clara started making jewellery just over 10 years ago, leaving behind a successful career as an actress. Coming from a family of jewellers, Clara educated herself in the ancient craft of bead weaving. Through exploration and experimentation, she developed her own unique style of beadwork inspired by nature with a heavy dose of pop culture thrown in to the mix.
She has recently launched her first bridal range having got married herself last year and been hugely inspired by creating her own bridal headdress.
“I wanted something intricate, delicate not too glittery but still having the ability to catch the light beautifully. I want my pieces to look like they could have been discovered in my Great Grandmothers’ jewellery box but have the freshness of a modern day piece.”
Clara’s jewellery has been featured in British Vogue, ELLE and Grazia, been worn by many celebrities including Alexa Chung, Victoria Beckham, Kirsten Dunst and Kelis, and been snapped up by some of the world’s most exclusive boutiques, including Harvey Nichols. The Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned her to make a piece for their Cherry on the Cake Exhibition, and she has also collaborated with designer Tracey Boyd as well as Topshop and River Island, creating diffusion ranges for them.