Cécile Gilbert is a French designer/maker living and working in Brighton, UK and she launched Tiki in 2012.
Her main medium is polyester resin, which she combines with oxidised sterling silver. Each piece is inspired by the glamorous Bakelite jewellery of the 1920s and 30s, she creates bold pieces in luscious colours with a glossy finish.
Here she talks to us at House of Coco to tell us more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I launched Tiki in 2012. I’ve always loved the beautiful Art Deco Bakelite jewellery from 1920s and 30s. I wanted to create a contemporary range which would reflect the same qualities in shape, tactility and colour, whilst adding a 21st century sophistication.
What’s your background?
I am pretty much self-taught. I began working with reclaimed Bakelite which ignited my passion for working with cast plastics. I was lucky that my local art college in Brighton ran a part time resin and plastic course. I enrolled, learned the basics and experimented for a couple of years. During this time I developed my own cutout and recasting techniques. I then took evening classes in silversmithing in order to create quality fitments to finish my pieces.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
I am the only person in the company. Each piece is entirely handmade by myself, from original moulds, through casting, sanding and polishing to the application of sterling silver fitments. I also mix my own pigments to create an original colour palette.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I only wish I had tried trade and retailer fairs a bit earlier. But I do believe that things happen at the right time and at the right place.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
For many designer-makers, including myself, making is the easy part. The business part is the hardest and is a continuous learning curve. I am slowly getting the hang of it.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I used to dj and run club nights in Brighton in the early 2000s. My dj name was Tonic Nonsense.
2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I am very excited about 2015. My work has been gaining regular exposure and I am planning to keep on going with elegant designs and quality finish.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Exhibiting at my first trade show earlier this year is probably the highlight. My work attracted attention from renowned jewellery shops, galleries and museums which proved to be fruitful.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
I am currently involved with a number of jewellery shops and galleries all over the South of Britain. This year I will be exhibiting at trade fairs in the North, which will hopefully create exposure for my work in this part of the country.
Where can people find out more?