A real treat for you for the bank holiday: be very inspired by the work and wonderful home of Rosita Bonita. I totally love her busy, colourful, collector style...
Rosita Bonita makes striking and unusual jewellery, which she sells through one of my favourite online shops and big supporter of new creative talent, Culture Label.
From left to right: gold leather rose lapel brooches, £59; gold foil embossed printed horseshoe pin badge, £19; gold leather heart earrings, £39
And looking at her home you can really see where she gets her inspiration for these pieces.
Where do you live? In a lovely rented flat, but I’ve been here for about six years so it feels like home.
What does it say about you? We don’t have a living room. What used to be the living room is our studio, so I suppose that reflects how much of my life is work!
Tell us a bit about you and your designs... I started producing jewellery under ‘Rosita Bonita’ in 2009. It’s a fusion of illustration and jewellery design. I print designs onto leather shapes and assemble them with chains and findings. I make everything here in my home studio. I have also produced limited editions of framed artwork (from my jewellery collections) and hand-printed and stretched lampshades. My design work is heavily influenced by the things I collect and surround myself with.
What do you collect? I’m a big fan of jumble sales. I tend to buy a lot of printed ephemera, picture frames, jewellery, clothes, tins, toys and trinkets. I love to make collages out of the various bits I've collected. I have a big box-file full and every now and then, when I have a spare day, I’ll get everything out and spend hours laying things out to fill a frame. It’s often my reward after a deadline. Some things I have for years and years until I use them.
What don't you collect? I always go with my gut instinct. there are no other rules.
What are your rules for arranging all your stuff? I’ll often use colour as a common thread, or a theme (eg. teeth, spain, cats). sometimes this is perhaps a little tenuous (to other people), but feels right to me. little stories/moods pop up when you put certain groups of things together, even if it’s a bit abstract.
Talk us through some of the things in your home... I’m very attached to all my things. There is a picture of a Victorian circus pop-up book (well, half of it) that I’ve had since I was very small. I only realised a few years ago what a strong effect it had had on my visual tastes. It’s beautiful – it unfolds into a whole big top ring, with the crowd and performers all folding down.
Next to it is one of the first big collages I made (see above), which includes cigarette cards of soldiers uniforms, various postcards and flyers collected in different places over a number of years, and some holiday photos. That’s next to a photo of my new-born boyfriend with his mum and a beautiful chameleon postcard, which also represents him.
The red plastic mermaid comb (above and below) is one of my favourite objects. I found it in a jumble sale. My new collection is about mermaids.
I have a few of my lampshades around the house. I made the first ones to light a market stall I did last summer at some festivals, and had such a good response to them that I made some more for a pop-up shop I did at Christmas. I’m now just making them on request. The one on the mantelpiece (below) has a print of a nymph in a clam shell, that I print on the pouches for my jewellery. That's next to my collection of flamenco Avon perfume bottles.
Where do you shop? eBay is a source of many of my treasures. Fantastik is a great shop in Barcelona (they ship to the UK) full of the world’s finest trash trinkets from China, India and Mexico etc. I recently got a great little tin bandit badge, and they do some lovely homewares. I also go to a lot of charity shops and jumble sales. My faves are the Saturday flea market on Kingsland Road, for vintage postcards and photos, and the Sunday jumble at Princess May school, Dalston (both northeast London), for unexpected delights.