About Krystalline Black

I am a self-taught designer-maker based in London, and Krystalline Black is my handmade jewellery and accesories business. I have been making things for almost as long as I can remember, but at the moment I specialise in combining traditional high-quality craftsmanship with contemporary digital imaging techniques to create modern icon jewellery with an alternative edge.
All Krystalline Black pieces are entirely handmade, using a combination of modern fabrication techniques, digital imaging and the traditional craft of decoupage.


So… What is “Urban Decoupage”?

Urban Decoupage, Krystalline Black’s tagline, is a kind of portmanteau of decoupage and urban decay. Urban decay, because I have always loved the aesthetics of run-down city landscapes, derelict buildings, stark industrial ruins, and things in a general state of degeneration and collapse.

Decoupage, because that technique forms the cornerstone of the Krystalline Black creative concept. Allow me to explain…

Back when I was a student and first living in London, I worked in a bookshop selling artists supplies and art and craft books. Some of the most popular items we sold were books and supplies for decoupage, decoupage being the art of glueing cut-out paper images onto an object and varnishing over them multiple times until the image appears painted on or inlaid. Popular in the 18th century, the craft is still widely practiced today, and there is an entire industry supplying materials for the keen decoupeur. However, as Jan (the owner of the shop) and I discussed one day, the majority of decoupage appeared still to be rooted in the 18th century, sticking firmly to traditional and classical images such as flowers and cherubs, and giving an old-fashioned and often sentimental, twee character to the pieces. Why not modernise decoupage, we wondered?

This idea stuck with me until years later, when I found myself out of work after finishing university, and decided to fill the time between job applications with teaching myself about digital art. I had been a keen amateur photographer for several years, but the likes of Photoshop were a mystery to me. However, as my skill in digital image manipulation increased, the possibilities offered by combining digital art with decoupage and my long-standing passion for jewellery-making became apparent. It was also around that time that the amazing potential of laser cutting was becoming apparent, and very soon the first Krystalline Black pieces emerged.

More information on my creative process can be found in this blog post.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy browing the site!