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Interview with Katherine Brunacci

Home > Designer Interviews > Katherine Brunacci

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Katherine Brunacci (KB) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Katherine Brunacci by clicking here.

Interview with Katherine Brunacci at Sunday 30th of April 2017
Katherine Brunacci
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
KB: I started designing and making jewellery at the age of 15, whilst I was still at school. I always had a love of antique jewellery (and a large collection) and wanted to develop my own jewellery pieces which incorporated design features from the past that I could adapt in my own special way. Whilst studying my Bachelor of Fine Art and Masters I explored these ideas further. I think I have always wanted to become a designer. Naturally I tend to view objects and think of strategies on how I can improve their function or form.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KB: I started my company, ‘Gallery Fifty Four’, early in 2010. It began as a Contemporary Jewellery Gallery located in Tasmania, Australia. The gallery featured designs predominantly by myself and 5 other artist jewellers. In 2011, I chose to have the gallery only represent my design label ‘Katherine Alexandra Brunacci’ "KAB". All pieces under my label are manufactured and designed by myself. I have two collection launches a year, with each piece in the collection being of limited edition.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KB: The process of creating something new.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KB: I like designing jewellery, as this is where my passion lies. I also am very interested in fashion design.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KB: 'The Lantern' necklace to date is my most favourite design. It is a design that I created and has so much potential. I also like that the future owner of the piece has a personal connection with the object and collaborates with me the designer and maker

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KB: The first item I designed for a company is 'Gemel'. A simulant enamel gemstone.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
KB: My favorite material is gold. I love its warmth, strength, durability and colour variation. I also like enamel, due to its colour versatility.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KB: I constantly feel creative. I can get inspiration from the most obscure things and it strikes when I least expect it

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KB: Function and aesthetics, I don't think with jewellery you can have one without the other. A piece can be very aesthetically pleasing but as jewellery, is meant to be worn, it has to be durable and feel extremely comfortable to the wearer.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KB: I feel many emotions whilst designing but I think the main ones would have to be; frustration, happiness, anger, stress and contentment.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KB: Happiness, contentment and satisfaction.

FS: What makes a design successful?
KB: A design is successful when it performs as it should and works well for its intended purpose.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KB: Function first, a design should at least function in the manner that it is claimed. I then look at the object aesthetically, as I think this contributes to and enhances a design. I also think it is important to see how well a design works for its intended purpose.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KB: To make our environment easier and more beautiful to live in.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KB: Design is evolving for our physical environment. The future for design as I see it, is that only the very best designs will survive, as we approach limitations on natural resources in the future. Also the future for design is very exciting with so many developments in materials and production techniques.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
KB: I have just launched my last exhibition, which showcases my latest jewellery range. The exhibition took place at Gallery Fifty Four in April 2017, Launceston, Tasmania. I plan to have another one in October of this year at the same location.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KB: My inspiration comes mainly from historical references. I feed my creativity through reading books, listening to music, visiting museums and I have a collection of antique jewellery, which I examine for their manufacturing attributes. My main sources of inspiration are: medieval jewellery and decorative objects.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
KB: I think my design style is still evolving. I'm continually exploring and researching new ideas with each collection launch. Characteristics of my designs are the incorporation of colour, and blending traditional shapes with modern shapes. I do like to embellish pieces especially with motifs that I have sourced from my travels or gem stones or a combination of both.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
KB: I have just moved to London from Australia. In Australia I did’t think the cultural heritage of Australia had any affect on my design. I think the major con for designing in Australia is where we are geographically located, being a great distance away from design capitals located in Europe. I am very much looking forward to exploring London and surround European countries

FS: How do you work with companies?
KB: Not with companies but I have worked with other artists, fashion designers and film makers in collaboration

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KB: I think that a company has to choose a designer based on the merit of their design, but also choose a designer who is totally passionate about their product and can compromise and adapt the product to suit the companies needs.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KB: I begin by research, reading through my books going to galleries and doing a lot of walking to clear my head. I then put pen to paper and start sketching and working with images that I have found through my research, modifying, chopping and changing them. When I have a basic design idea sketched out I will make a prototype. It is at this stage that I finalize materials and find any inherit problems with the design. Once I have created the piece I will then begin to modify it again to see any potential for a series to be created.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
KB: My Jewellers forming stakes, A Gillows mahogany sideboard, Rega Record player, 'Lalique' Everest vase, 488 Lowhead road (My Home).

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KB: Most of my days are spent at my gallery / boutique. I am either in the workshop working on the next collection / designing, whilst my mother is front of house manager in the boutique. If I'm not manufacturing, I'll be working on design and PR strategies for the company. After work I like to spend time with family and friends. I don't really have much down time. I'm constantly designing pieces in my head and looking for inspiration everywhere. I do enjoy walking and try to walk either in the mornings or in the evenings.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
KB: Always keep designing. Enter as many design competitions as possible. It’s a good way to meet people, get your name out to a wider audience and judge public reactions to your work. Don't be afraid of rejection, ‘Success is how well one deals with failure’. Don't be deterred if not everyone loves your design, criticism is good. It is important however to learn how to sieve through constructive and non-constructive criticism.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KB: Positive: The process of designing. Negatives: 50% of the public will like your design and 50% will not.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KB: Design what you like.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KB: Understanding what the customer wants. It is important to work well with a client and put your ego to the side.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KB: Books, books and more books and imagery that I have sourced from everywhere. Whilst designing, the trusty pen and sketchbook are my main tools. I have also started working with Adobe ideas, which allows me to modify images that I have sourced for inspiration and work with them for my design.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KB: When I am designing for a collection I try and allocate some time every day towards it. However I find that I do design very sporadically and if I’m being productive I will focus all of my energy on designing.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KB: This varies, from initial idea to the finished piece, can take from as little as a week up to a couple of months. There are still designs from years ago that I'm still working on.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
KB: How do you come up with your ideas? What is your design process?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KB: Opening my own Jewellery Boutique by myself two years ago. It has been a very steep yet enjoyable learning curve.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KB: I am unable to answer this as I respect my clients confidentiality.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KB: I love working with historical pieces of jewellery and adapting aspects of them. I love the feeling that I am working with a piece of history and adding my own special touch.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KB: Keep on designing and exhibiting. I would love for my creations to have greater global exposure.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KB: I work solely by myself but have just started on some collaborative projects

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
KB: At the moment "The Lantern" pendant is my main focus. I have a few other aspects and ideas for this design that I would am exploring

FS: How can people contact you?
KB: Via email: kbrunacci@gmail.com instagram: @kabjewellery

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
KB: No, but thank you.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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