Meet: Lucie Davis
Lucie Davis graduated from Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins in 2016.
Her graduate collection included Touching In Touching Out, a set of false nails with the tag from an Oyster card embedded within them, which allowed the wearer to pass through the London Underground ticket barriers without having to rummage around for their card. The nails were created in response to a brief that encouraged students to find wonder in even the most routine activities. Her creation attracted attention from press across the world.
Lucie has also designed a ring that is only activated while doing the washing up. With the use of ‘magic sponge’, she created a ring that expands when it touches water, holding the crystal in place in its setting as it does so.
What was the most important thing you were taught while studying at UAL?
I have been very fortunate to have learnt so many significant things by such inspiring people along the way whilst studying at UAL that it is so difficult to choose just one. But I do remember carrying a little list in my head of what I found to be rather useful and it became my UAL mantra by the end of my third and final year at Central Saint Martins! I guess they were to just be brave, be open to possibility, challenge yourself, really question things, look at the world with open eyes, savour every moment in the workshop, learn to trust yourself (a gut feeling is a real one!), have faith in your ability and learn to sometimes just ‘go with it’. Also talk and really engage with your peers, tutors and people because sometimes just a simple word can spark off an idea! And finally, to be you– I was taught that it was OK and good to be different.
How do you think your time at UAL has impacted your life and work?
It has impacted my life and work in so many ways. UAL helped expose me to so many opportunities and introduced me to an incredibly huge network.
I was given the chance to deliver projects with and for companies that gave me a sneak preview into how the working world works, which really helped to prepare me for the future.
Ultimately, my time at UAL is one which I am forever grateful for – it’s taught me that you really never have to stop learning in life and in work.
I have received so much support and positive feedback from UAL that I feel inspired to push myself and my ideas further, and to always keep going. I am excited and filled with anticipation about what might come next.
You have had a very interesting career since graduating – can you talk us through your journey from graduation to where you are now?
So much has happened in such a short space of time, it all seems like somewhat of a blur! But ever since the UAL Summer degree shows, I was very lucky to have won the ‘MLG Your Nova’ Award for Fresh Creative Talent, and also one of my design pieces from my graduate collection (‘Touch in and out: Oyster card acrylic nails with embedded an RFID chip) actually went viral! It was something really amazing but totally unexpected – I still can’t quite believe it!
From this, I am very thankful to have got some great coverage and a lot of interest in my work which also led me to meet so many amazing people along the way. As someone who can be quite timid at times, it gave me the encouragement and confidence I needed at just the right time when I was about to embark on my journey into the real world. I am now working as a designer in residence for Tiffany & Co. in New York – and it still feels like a dream!
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think I can look back at my time while studying at UAL and say I’ve found it all rather rewarding as a whole experience. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to reach out to a wider audience in new and surprising ways and it’s all really been extremely worthwhile. I feel rather lucky to have been allowed to be part of it, with such inspiring peers, tutors and although it has not been easy –I can say I wouldn’t be learning if it was.
In terms of a really magical moment I had, I think it was seeing my own designs being sold on the shelves of Topshop for the Freedom Jewellery at TOPSHOP X CSM student collaboration competition. But what truly makes me happy and perhaps what I have found to be the most pleasing part of my work is when I’ve heard someone laugh, watched someone smile or provoked some kind of positive reaction with my designs – it really just makes all the hard work worthwhile! Also getting people to think a little differently – to both see anew and reflect on how much remains yet to be unseen is another invigorating and rewarding aspect of my job.
Where do you find inspiration today?
The encouragement I received from my tutors to source inspiration from outside the realm of jewellery has ultimately taught me that as an artist and designer, anything can spark off an idea or my imagination. So I get a lot of my inspiration from everyday experiences and also just by looking at patterns and things that surround me, those that we have always known yet don’t always notice. Some might say I have a somewhat magpie attitude to inspiration, by seeking it from multiple sources – I can trace people’s everyday mundane movements, absorb familiar imagery from popular culture or even research and unearth iconic moments in history. I just take it all in and observe with a critical eye and an attention to detail, building up a scrapbook from which I can draw on.
It’s a really important part of the creative process for me. I very much like to take time and energy into really researching my subject, drawing and observing. I hate knowing if I have ‘missed something’ vital or essential. Also, I rarely have a moment in my mind when I can switch off, and nothing carries me away and broadens my knowledge more than reading or visiting exhibitions, galleries or shop experiences. I find that if I’ve lost my way, research and visits have helped me to reconnect.
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve always liked to keep an open mind which is a little daunting, but also there’s something rather exciting about not knowing where your journey might take you! At this moment, I’m currently a designer in residence for Tiffany & Co., but as well as that I’m also working on a few other exciting projects. I enjoy working with all kinds of disciplines and I think my work shows that, despite being within the subject of jewellery. I’ve learnt to embrace not knowing where my approach might take me right now. I’ve been very lucky in the sense that I have had so many great opportunities over the past few years.
Whether it’s art, designing, illustration, the world of contemporary jewellery, commercial or graphics/advertising – I embrace this multi-disciplinary approach to things. I am interested in expansive new outlooks and new ways of doing things and multi-sensory experiences. I like to keep open-minded about what the future might hold for me and my career and find ways which can help make it the best it can be.