eloi

An article I wrote about a lovely crafty friend, Megan Bell,
for yet another lovely friend, Maria Jose Hernandez Cos,
and her fashion website, stringmagazine.com

Up two wide staircases and down many angled hallways, along creaky vintage wooden flooring, nestled deep in an ancient Gastown brick relic, sits the triangular wedge of a studio where Megan Bell creates her line of jewelry called eloi. Even on the greyest of December afternoons, the light pours in through the seven feet windows, showcasing all the treasures that fight for attention on her workspace. Rings and necklaces and cameos, oh my!

Megan conceived eloi (pronounced el-wah) in 2006 after graduating from VCC’s jewelry art and design program. The name eloi, so fanciful and pretty, actually belongs to a man. Well, actually a Saint-the Patron Saint of jewelers and metalworkers to be exact.  Megan displayed her pretties for the very first time at Fab Fair, a bi-annual craft show at Heritage Hall run by Nancy Esworthy, a previous VCC grad and enormous supporter of Megan’s work. It was Nancy who chose Megan and her furniture inspired collection for the ‘Best Design’ award at her Grad show, an honor Megan still pinches herself about.

Looking at the collection, which she describes as “simple subtle stuff; tiny things that you don’t see from across the street,” it’s very clear to me why this work would have been singled out. Using sterling silver, wee bits of brass & copper and only repurposed wood, she’s struck a perfect balance, achieving a classic but clean and modern feel to her dainty but striking collection.  

The Lisa ring, layers of patinated squares and rectangles, sits commanding on the finger, a little piece of architecture for the hand. The dome rings rest like a little platter just below the knuckle. The double circle ring, that when sitting on the table looks like a stool for Thumbelina, slides between your fingers and becomes a natural extension of your hand. Inspiration for these pieces comes locally, from the very neighborhood she works out of. “Walking up Homer St., there’s all this great ironwork-things like that are so incredible.”

The leaf rings that unfurl across the fingers are a re-imagining of the Bernini marble statue of Apollo and Daphne whereupon Daphne is turning into a laurel tree. “Hands turning into branches and her fingers turning into leaves; that image is pretty much in my brain somewhere all the time.”

The delicate hand drawn and hand cut pendants-whales, apples, wrens and darling does dangle beautifully from sterling silver chains and would look just perfect with either a fancy party dress or a simple white tee and jeans.

 

The updated cameo, with a unicorn, bird or fly silhouette mounted on wood is a gorgeous addition to a jacket collar or scarf. Far from stuffy cufflinks with images of phrenology busts and scientific drawings of skulls held tight under clear marbles sit ready to personalize the not so gentleman’s wrist.

My favorite piece is the set of rings that look like tiny armchairs hugging themselves. The outside has a textured diamond drill finish that sparkles subtly and the inside pops with an enamel secret of lime, brilliant orange or turquoise. 

Everything in her line has one thing in common-the touchability factor. “If you see a great designed chair you really really want to sit in it and interact with it. I feel like designing for jewelry needs to be the same way. You should want to pick it up and put it on.”

In Vancouver, the city she calls home right now, where the DIY community is so strong yet so welcoming, she reveals with a smile, “Hands down, if I could do this every day, I’d be over the moon thrilled. To quit my day job would be outstanding. The only thing I want to do, other than eat snacks and make felt crafts, is make jewelry.”

The eloi line ranges from $50-$200 and is available at www.eloi.ca
and Dream (11. W Cordova Vancouver, BC)
Custom orders available upon request.

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