Eily O Connell is known for conjuring up gold and silver jewellery treasures inspired by nature. She strives to illuminate absurd beauty in all natural forms with gemstone and enamel additions, favouring asymmetry in each handmade jewel.
Nature's brighter side is reflected in her gold pieces. Each specimen morphs into a new species through the process of combining natural forms and casting them into metal. They are often adorned with precious gemstones and kiln fired enamel.
Eily's more avant-garde, blackened silver work has more of an eerie and macabre feel. Using mans destruction of nature, as inspiration in a bid to illuminate the harm we are doing is a basis for this work. The concept has fuelled some larger work too undertaken on residencies.
Eily grew up in Donegal on the North West coast of Ireland hence sea themes are evident throughout her work. There are constant references to human manipulation of nature as Eily is concerned with our ecological impact and so tries to highlight important issues through pieces and collections. She has done three residencies to date. One in Amsterdam studying moths, one in Ireland studying bees and most recently studying the impact of glacial melt in Iceland.
Her Iceland residency was in 2020 and here she explored the theme through enamelling. She shipped her kiln over and had a solo exhibition at the end. She exhibited the black enamelled "shells" she created which are a reflection on how as sea levels will rise, it will bring great acidity to the oceans and therefore harm all shell life, having a knock on effect to everything. This project is now ongoing for Eily.
Eily sources sustainable materials where possible including recycled metals and fair-trade gemstones. All boxing and marketing materials are recycled. All work crafted sourcing the finest materials in her studio which visitors are welcome by appointment in her Bristol based studio and she loves to make you commissioned pieces whatever you budget. All prices reflect this very small-scale local production made from cradle to cradle by the hands of the designer maker.
Creating wearable macabre treasures that have a mysterious and other worldly presence, I carefully select an assortment of natural forms that each have appeal and intrinsic character. Studying them delicately before deciding how I will encapsulate their inherent attributes by recording them in a metal opens a new world for them, allowing change in their disposition, enhancing their mystic.
Acting as the beholder of such manipulation, I mimic the power we as humans abuse, altering nature’s path. Ultimately, leading to a juxtaposition of allure and a sinister presence lurking through the work.