I love finding hot local designers. It’s like finding that unique treasure in your backyard that you never expected. Wearing something made by a local designer makes you feel holy (because you’re supporting your local economy) and exclusive (because you’re wearing something others aren’t) and overall rather pretentious to be honest, buuut in a good way! In Vancouver, I have a hard time finding local designers I can honestly like. There are many designers in the city, but speaking in stereotypical terms, they are rather generic and granola-esque – I’m talking throwing together recycled cotton and cashmere into a patchwork and pricing it like low-end couture. Not really my thing, but I tend to have better luck when it comes to Vancouver’s local jewelry design scene and one recent pleasant surprise was jewelry line Marian+Hazel.
Perhaps its the rugged raw beauty of the West Coast and its plethora of gorgeous natural forms, but many jewelry designers here are obviously taking cues from Mother Nature in their lines. With a formal education in glass making, Amanda Parker, the genius behind Marian+Hazel, has since become a student of nature, taking note of its free-flowing, soft forms and manifesting its continuously peaceful lines in her line of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and home decor.
If one word could be used to describe Marian+Hazel, it would be serenity. The shapes are imperfect, hand-crafted. The color palettes are monotone, or milky pastels on delicate silver and gold, evoking a feminine feel. After poring over the Marian+Hazel archives, I think it is Parker’s S/S 2012 necklaces that encapsulate what I suspect to be her design philosophy.
Consisting of stacked colored clay rings, the S/S 2012 necklaces are simple enough that I could make them, but upon closer examination, I began to appreciate how each slight wobble in the ring seems carefully deliberate and effortless. I marvel at how simply and easily the necklace hangs on the model’s neck and imagine about how pleasing the soft “clink” of the rings sliding and falling into one another would be, emulating the soft patter of rain. Parker’s designs are zen-like, with an effortless simplicity that seems plain at first glances, but speaks volumes.
Marian+Hazel is sold online via Etsy and Cargoh, and is stocked across Vancouver at Barefoot Contessa, Brick & Mortar Living and Forsya. Parker also travels her line across the country at various craft and handmade arts fairs – check out her blog for details!