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Yasmin Siobhan Belkhayat

by Angie Boyer

Published: January 2018

Winner of The Guild of Enamellers' 2018 Bursary Award

"I love to make jewellery because of how personal it is to the wearer and how it shows one’s personality and flair. Being genuine and authentic to yourself is the key to happiness."

Yasmin Belkhayat is the proud winner of The Guild of Enamellers' 2018 Bursary Award - and deservedly so, her work has a certain maturity to it, even though she is only at the very beginning of her creative career.

Born and raised in South London, Yasmin describes herself as having "a passion for all things sparkly and mechanical," and comments that, "Jewellery is not only a memento of events and landmark achievements in life, but also a playful item of quality that can be passed down from generation to generation. Having always had a creative mind, the fact that jewellery can represent so much and take on such powerful meaning is exactly what drew me into creating jewellery."

Last year Yasmin completed her Diploma in Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design run by the Crafts Council of Ireland based at Kilkenny Campus, University of Maynooth, Ireland. She initially started working with enamels as part of her one-year jewellery manufacture apprenticeship
in London’s Hatton Garden, but truly experimented with techniques and developed ideas whilst in Kilkenny. "Learning from Jane Short was a golden opportunity and a fundamental steep learning curve in nurturing my passion for enamel," she says.

"Enamelling is a really relaxing and rewarding process," she continues. "The immediacy and control with which you can apply and contrast colours really appeals to me. Each piece is unique and demands its own tests and experiments before embarking on the final piece. To see the finished result is so satisfying. I absolutely love basse-taille, the appearance of engraving under enamel. The fact that you can have quite a simple palate of colours yet so much detail and depth really excites me. I also love cloisonné, the exposed metal wires in contrast to the enamel is something that can be creatively used to convey a theme."



Yasmin's recent venture and fine fashion jewellery business Kenza Lomhara, pays homage and tribute to her Irish and Moroccan roots, ‘Kenza’ meaning ‘Treasure’ in Arabic and ‘Lomhara’ meaning ‘Precious’ in Gaelic. "It's exactly what jewellery is to everyone, precious treasure that holds and captures events and moments in time."

Inspiration for designer makers comes from many and varied sources and I wasn't surprised when Yasmin talked about some of the things that influence and inspire her work. "I really love the work of Rene Lalique, the Art Nouveau movement is my favourite. It's delicate, detailed and mesmerising. I also love the work of William Morris, his fabrics and tiles are endless inspiration and local to London, my home town. Nature is an ever giving source of inspiration. And I love the work of Jane Short, whose enamelled pieces are a joy to see in the flesh."

Before studying high end Jewellery at University Yasmin interned at a number of mass production companies and I asked her what she thought was the most important thing that she learnt there. "Working in mass production companies has really taught me to organise and plan my time effectively. It has also shown me how to design something that conveys your style, but also appeals to the consumer. With effective design, technical knowledge and innovation, creativity and quality needn't be compromised."

Yasmin has a talent for what she does and a vision for the future. "Looking ahead to perhaps five years from now, I would love to have my own shop by then. And I want to continue to experiment and develop my enamelling skills, not only within jewellery but creating my own small dishes and coffee spoons. Small scale silversmithing is something I really enjoyed whilst on the Kilkenny course. I would also like to give back to the community and help other young jewellers and enamellers to develop and grow."

A great aspiration to work towards, all helped in the immediate future by The Guild of Enamellers' Bursary Award package which will give Yasmin the opportunity to experiment further with her work and to expand her knowledge of all aspects of enamelling. "Winning the 2018 Guild of Enamellers Bursary Award means a lot to me. Not only will I have the opportunity to further my experimentations and learning process, but I will also be able to network with a vast range of interesting and like minded people. Attending the Guild's annual conference in April is truly the cherry on the cake, having heard great things about it, I look forward to experiencing it firsthand. The learning curve is now much steeper and will hopefully lead to some exciting ideas and collections to be generated."


"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 146 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.