Rather than “jeweller” Byron Bay-born Melbourne-based Seala Lokollo Evans prefers being called an “object maker”.
Her label La Sea Jewellery launched in Melbourne in 2017 and is less a jewellery project than an extension of her wider creative practice. Lokollo Evans is an artist and fine arts graduate who started out specialising in privately commissioned large-scale ceramic sculptural work and small metal objects. It wasn’t long before she turned her hand from clay to sculptural jewelley, and she launched La Sea jewellery on Instagram in November 2017 to share with a wider audience the private commissions she was doing for close friends.
The label grew as Lokollo Evans received countless private messages about her one-off rings and pendant designs. Made to order, every piece by La Sea is one-of-a-kind, designed and handcrafted in Melbourne with the wearer in mind. The label is best known for its Memory Rings in sterling silver and solid gold, which Lokollo Evans hand-carves with individual markings and symbols meaningful to the wearer. The idea is that the rings are vessels and the wearer’s memories are always close to the body.
“My father has always been passionate about passing on my ancestors’ stories through music, objects and food to our family,” she says of her connection to the Indonesian Maluku Islands. “He was a jeweller, and when I found my own jewellery practice it spoke to me in a really organic way, as if it was something I have been doing for a really long time.”
Lokollo Evans has long been using clay as a medium to build a connection with her Moluccan culture; clay reiterates a deep bond to the land through the earth. The use of boats or other vessels throughout her work is also symbolic of the importance of maritime culture and the ocean to her identity.
“Realising the importance of carrying a story with you I was inspired to create my idea for the Memory Ring.”
The artist also handcrafts nine-karat solid-gold and sterling-silver pendants, which are available by commission, with a limited number of pieces for sale online.
Beyond the label, Lokollo Evans’s focus is on ceramic sculptures.
She recently collaborated with Melbourne-born, Paris-based designer Lucy Folk on the Ettore Blues collection. Folk commissioned Lokollo Evans to make ceramic pieces – a visual response to the current collection – which launched last year. A limited collection of small sculptural works are now available at the Lucy Folk’s Bondi boutique Playa, and those looking for a piece by Lokollo Evans in Melbourne can visit Monk House Design. A limited collection of ready-made works are also available at Association Shop in Portland in the US.
“I hope to reach my audience with a unique product and honest practice,” she says. “I do not use moulds to replicate the exact same piece. I hope that this aspect shines through.”