Natural, unique and soft to the touch, jewellery made from superbly tactile materials such as woollen or cotton yarn is given a distinctive character through meticulous craftsmanship. Two Europe-based makers show us their unlimited potential.
Greek designer Loula Klimi expresses her passion for natural materials and handcrafting techniques through the creation of a series of crocheted and knitted jewellery. Founded seven years ago, her label Loulalalou has attracted a global following, especially in Europe and Australia, that appreciates her simple, organic yet contemporary creations.
Woolly bib necklaces, rustic boho bangles and fun knitted brooches in earth tones evoke a warm, relaxed vibe that reflects her understanding of the materials and her urge “to play with yarns, fabrics and textures and create things that could be worn”.
“I prefer to use pure natural materials and try not to use synthetic ones. That’s why my jewellery is made from cotton or woollen yarn, natural linen cords and wooden or glass beads,” she said. Apart from fulfilling her goal of making natural and eco-friendly jewellery, she simply enjoys the feel of the materials while she is creating.
The history of her creative endeavour goes all the way back to her childhood, when her mother taught her how to crochet and knit. “I appreciate their versatility and ability to create the forms I want in my projects,” she added. “I really enjoy the fact that there is no need for any special equipment for my jewellery. I need only two tools, a crochet hook and yarn, and with them I can make so many different things almost everywhere!”
Thin crocheted bracelets in various hues, long necklaces crocheted from linen cord, as well as a grey bracelet adorned with silver glass beads are her customers’ favourites, the last being her best-selling item. On the other hand, the artist-creator is particularly fond of her crocheted tube necklaces. “They give me the opportunity to create organic forms and play with shape and colour combinations.”
Items from Loulalalou are priced from €10 to €50 (US$11.65 to US$58.25). To add a different texture to the mix, Klimi is developing a ceramic and crochet collection using pottery clay.
From romantic bracelet cuffs with a charming folklore character to opulent and sexy monochrome items embellished with gleaming beads, these intricate pieces are painstakingly designed and woven together by Katerina Dimitrova, a crochet jewellery maker based in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
Her love and passion for the Japanese crochet technique “amigurumi” – its importance signified in her label – brought her to the world of handcrafted jewellery. A wide variety of materials are used in her pieces, including natural stone beads, crystals, glass beads and microfibre thread, but cotton thread is her favourite: “I like to crochet with cotton thread the most – it is soft and gentle to the touch and does not cause any allergic reactions,” said Dimitrova.
Among her worldwide customers, those from her home country appreciate the crocheted cuffs with Bulgarian embroidered motifs the most, while bracelet cuffs with beads and crystals are best-received in other parts of the world. Prices range from US$40 to US$110 per item, depending on the complexity of the workmanship, such as the techniques involved, and the time required, which ranges from three or four days to one week.
“I use different techniques for my bracelets such as free form crochet, Turkish oya crochet, crochet with beads and embroidery,” she explained. “Because of the free form crochet technique, all my cuffs are unique and even I can’t reproduce them exactly. My idea is to create unique jewellery pieces so that everyone who owns one feels special.”
Apart from her signature crochet bracelet cuffs, Dimitrova also makes rings, earrings, necklaces and anklets using similar materials and techniques, the results being equally enchanting.