“The universe is so fucking amazing,” says designer Lyn Balzer, as the spring sunlight slashes across the studio. She’s discussing the inspiration behind her new jewellery line, Cosmic, created by herself and collaborator Tony Perkins for their label, 2.
Balzer cites the “incredible perfection” that occurs outside of our atmosphere, as does Perkins. “Quartz stones smoked with titanium and 24-carat gold-plated rocks come from us exploring space,” says Perkins. “The colours, the richness, those Hubble telescope NASA images blow my mind!”
Aside from being designers, the creative pair have finessed the art of finishing each other’s sentences. While they’ve “been together for an eternity” Balzer explains that, jewellery design is a relatively new development.
The craft each and every item in the 2 range by hand in their small studio. The number of pieces they make in any one collection depends on the availability of each stone and more expensive pieces may only come in fours. “We start from the materials first rather than an idea,” says Perkins. “We might find an amazing stone and then come up with a design from that.”
Cosmic features kangaroo leather, shards of stone, waxed cotton, gold weaving and titanium metallics. Perkins claims that when you wear one of their pieces, you need to be prepared for people to come up and touch you. “It’s all about the feel, the texture and the weight of things,” says Balzer. “That tactile quality. It is something really human and delectable.”
The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – accepting imperfection in beauty – stimulates the pair’s approach. “We like that a stone has a hole in it,” says Perkins.
Balzer agrees: “We don’t want to treat gemstones in a fine jewellery way; we don’t want it overly cut or overly fussed over. We love beautiful things that are a bit wrong.”
Balzer and Perkins collaborated with close buddy Jonathan Zawada – an artist and designer known for his use of geometrical forms – to find resolution between the rawness of stone and the simplicity of silver. “We’ve created this collision between organic round shapes and the mathematical squareness of cubes,” says Perkins.
Perkins claims the pair still don’t see themselves as jewellery designers. In an upcoming trip to Japan, the pair will exhibit a wide range of products in a number of different mediums – including a new line of beautifully delicate cotton shirts – all in one space.