If you are looking for a gift for a well travelled friend this Valentine’s Day look no further. Preston based jewellery designer Hazel Lyon takes her inspiration from across the globe, from the rainforests of British Columbia, to the beaches of Southern Mexico to the streets of Preston. She transforms her beautiful photography into lovely pendants. She can also work her magic on your photos, turning them into pendants or rings. How cool is that? I wanted to find out more about her jewellery design business Little Owl by Hazel Lyon.
Tell me a bit about yourself
I am originally from Lytham but lived most my adult life in Edinburgh and the surrounding area. Currently I am based in Preston.
I love a challenge so I’ve turned my hand to many things. Over the years I’ve worked in outdoor education, owned a mosaic design and making business, tried my hand at screen writing and worked in several book and interior design shops. Now I divide my time between teaching English as a foreign language, travel, learning Spanish and making jewellery using my travel photography which is my newest venture. I’ve worked in Mexico and spent a lot of time in the Canadian wilderness. I’m also a mum of two grown up boys!
How long have you had an interest in photography?
I have always loved taking photographs. At seventeen I was offered a position of assistant photographer for a local newspaper which I actually turned down in favour of working in a Lakeland youth hostel. However, it was then I got my first 35mm camera and later I got into trying to develop my own film at home with varying results. I guess though, it really took off when I finally managed to buy myself a Nikon digital SLR a few years ago. I tend to be a little trigger happy so digital is perfect for me…I’ve taken 1000′s of photos in recent years!
Where have been the most interesting places to photograph?
I take photos of subjects that interest me or just catch my eye. I’m as interested in street photography as much as I’m interested in taking photos of huge dramatic landscapes or wildlife. Whether it’s a sofa dumped on the street in Preston or a grizzly bear in the Canadian rain forest, I am inspired. I believe there’s beauty in even the most mundane and in the most surprising places, we just need to take the time to look…and of course carry a camera to capture it, which I try to do pretty much everywhere I go.
What inspired you to create jewellery from your photographs?
Little Owl came about from my desire to be creative between trips. I’d had many comments about my photography which got me thinking ‘how could I use it in a practical but fun way?’ I love bold and statement jewellery so I set about experimenting…photo jewellery was the result! For some pieces I use a lot of post production, playing with colour and effects and with other pieces I keep it to the original that have been taken either in colour or black and white.
The jewellery I make is simple, fun and hopefully affordable. I want to reach as many people as possible so I try to be as varied as I can with the photographs I use. My aim is to make at least one piece that speaks to, inspires, surprises or even triggers a happy memory/emotion in the person looking at them. The photos I encase in resin could have been taken anywhere from my back yard, to the streets and parks of Preston, Blackpool sea front to the high mountains and remote villages of Peru, the beaches of Southern Mexico or the rain forests of British Columbia!
I can also take commissions, encasing a customer’s special photograph into a small charm that fits perfectly onto a bracelet, a photographic, colourful and contemporary take on the traditional charm bracelet. A charm bracelet that tells a story and is unique to the customer. There is no extra cost for this. I just need the specific photograph or photographs emailed to me.
I love your pendants, what else do you make?
I currently make large and small pendants (the small pendants are the perfect size to make into a charm bracelet). The pendants can either be bought with a chain or without. I generally sell them with a 30 inch chain but I can actually make any length the customer requires. The prices include packaging and posting, a handmade little vintage style fabric bag, a label describing where the photograph was taken and a printed on paper ‘little thank you’.
It’s early days but I have plans to make cuff links and badges ‘for him’ and possibly brooches and earrings too. I also intend to make limited edition items.
What are your dispatch times?
I try to dispatch either the same day or the day after I receive an order but that is only possible if I have the piece in stock. I think it is definitely safe to say that a piece will be despatched within 3 days taking weekends into consideration! However if I need to remake the item ordered or it’s a commission it will take longer but I will make the customer aware of this. It actually takes 72 hours to make and fully finish a piece (the resin needs to set hard). So far I have despatched pendants to the UK and Australia and received enquiries from Canada and Greece!
For more information, to look at more designs or place an order check out the Little Owl by Hazel Lyon Facebook Page. Prices start at £8 and payments are via Paypal
All Photos: Hazel Lyon