If you’re anything like me, you’ve been eagerly anticipating the new bug collection since it was announced. The pieces themselves will no doubt be gorgeous, but the innovative way it is being released is just as intriguing. I wanted to know more about what inspired that process, and what goes on behind the scenes when Birds n Bones pieces are being made.
I asked Zoe Cope some questions about her fantastic new studio space, the collection, and her new friend Bjorn. Stick with us to the end for sneak peeks of the new collection, and info on how to join the Forge Collective and get early access.
Courtney: So I hear you upgraded to a new studio! What lead you to that decision, and how did you manage the move and an upcoming new collection?
Zoe: It’s so awesome to have an on-site off-site studio! Previously it was in my dinning room, which did have great light, but was open to both the living room and kitchen. Having it in the garage is really lovely because it’s still at my home, but now is its own entity so is a great space to have clients over now that it’s more private. I can also hammer whenever since I don’t have to worry about sleeping housemates ;)
One of the highlights of having a business partner is that when one of us isn’t able to work, the other (so far) has been able to pick up the slack. Ashley was great and I spent the month of June moving, having my parents visit, and then settling in to start the garage makeover. The space was dirty and really had just been for storage and not intended as a studio or workshop. It was really fun spending time working on the floor plan, sourcing new safety/health equipment, figuring out beautiful yet smart ways to hide storage and divide the space, and then also finding pieces to make the showroom area.
Beautiful images by Emily of Hunting Ground Films
C: What is your favorite thing about your new studio?
Z: I am in love with the Highland Cow wall tapestry I got to divide my studio from the shared storage part of the garage. We named him Bjorn after one of our favorite characters on Vikings hahaha. I got him and the marbled fabric that covers extra storage from Society 6.
C: What inspired you to do an entire collection based on bugs?
Z: We actually had the idea to do this collection about two years ago. We then ended up doing SIMPLEX because we thought it’d be smart to offer simple geometric pieces that are beautifully crafted, but I think it didn’t hit super well with our audience. We knew we wanted to get back to our roots and make a collection from cast natural forms. Bugs seemed like the perfect next step because there are so many varied sizes and shapes so we had lots of options for translating into adornment.
C: One of my favorite aspects of the brand is how you always incorporate a bit of fantasy with your natural influences. Will we see more of that with this collection?
Z: Great question! We decided to incorporate labradorite bullet stones in some of the Darkling and Weevil designs. After Ashley made the initial mold, she then sawed off the booty of the cast samples and soldered bezels to the boom so a stone could be adhered. Now the designs kind of resemble lightning bugs since the booties almost glow depending on the light, that’s the magic of labradorite.
We also felt soldering the castings onto our usual smooth, half round ring bands just didn’t speak well enough design wise. So I had the idea to solder them onto cast twig ring bands. I collected twigs from my neighborhood and then we got them cast in bronze so I could do initial fabricating into rings (much easier to do in metal as opposed to the actual twig), then molded those up, and now we can cast a few different twig ring designs.
C: Was it difficult to get castings of such delicate specimens? Did you have to modify any designs because of that?
Z: Definitely. Even prior to the initial mold making, Ashley had to pick off the legs of the bugs because they would had been to delicate to withstand the mold making process. Most of the designs on these Mini Collections took two rounds of mold making because we wanted to have molds of the final fabricated pieces so the whole process can be as efficient as possible.
C: It was briefly touched on in Interview with a Bird Pt I, but tell us more about why you decided to release this collection in such an innovative way.
Z: This new release process is really fun and different for us. Instead of working on the collection in private and releasing it all to just hope for the best, we are doing short run mini collections and we’ll determine the final designs based on which items sell the most. This lets us listen to our customers and is also special for them since every piece won’t make it into the final collection, they might end up with something limited edition. We have an in depth explanation video here.
Our first Mini Collection premiers for newsletter subscribers on August 11th. They will have early access until the 16th. The collection will be available for everyone from the 17th – September 6th. We decided to start with our Darkling Beetle designs and have 1 brooch, 5 necklaces, 2 rings, and 2 earring options. You can get the early access code even after the 11th when you sign up for our bi-monthly (kick ass) newsletter.
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the Darkling Beetle designs:
Look-Book Photos by Aubrey Janelle
C: Wow, those are stunning. I cannot wait to see what else comes from this collection. Thank you, Zoe!
We hope you’ve enjoyed pulling back the Highland Cow curtain and seeing a bit of the behind the scenes process. Make sure to check back for the future release of more mini-bug collections, and to get your weekly dose of Forge Collective sorcery.