In conversation with jeweller and sculptor Holly Ryan

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Holly Ryan treats jewellery as an organic extension to the human body. Her shapes and form are simple in composition and have a unique and visceral appeal.

Her artistic vision recently extended to sculpting where she works with different materials but the same design principles apply.

She enjoys ocean swims, deep conversations with loved ones and long walks with her dog Hugo. Meet Holly.

On her journey into the world of jewellery design and sculpting
I studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Fashion and launched Holly Ryan Jewellery during my final year of university in 2010. I chose to go down this path because I realised that clothing is far more disposable than jewellery, which can be passed down through the generations. I have never once regretted that decision. 

I started sculpting about two years ago, originally as an interesting way to display my jewels at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Soon after my 2017 MBFWA presentation, gallery owner and director Jerico Tracy of Jerico Contemporary asked to represent me. I have had two solo exhibitions with her gallery now and look forward to my next one in 2020, where I will expand my practice from stone and wood into bronze sculpture also.

On living well
Taking time to be with nature, long swims in the ocean, bush walks, hiking, deep discussions with loved ones, the crackling sound from my record player, spaghetti vongole, caprese salad and red red wine.

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Rituals for creativity
Picking up my tools and making something intuitively is the best way to allow my subconscious to do the talking.

A typical day look like in the world of Holly Ryan
I make myself a coffee and then go for a run or a swim to start my day. When I get home, I read and reply to emails and then start making jewellery or sculpting – some days I do both. After work I light some incense, meditate and then pour myself a glass of red wine. I like to play records while I cook dinner and generally read or watch a movie before bed. One night a week I also run a hot bath, put a face mask on and watch a movie in the bath with a glass of wine – it’s the best.

On her self-care rituals
Ocean swims, long baths, walking my dog, running, drinking plenty of water, preparing my own meals and sleeping in on Sundays.

On what she is most grateful for
For my family, my friends and my body – it gives me the ability to do the things that I love, which we often take for granted.

On advice to her younger self
‘Your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest – thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wild flowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated’ - Beau Taplin.

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On why the future is exciting 
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life so interesting and the future so exciting. 

Favourite places to escape to
My mountain. I grew up on the side of Mt. Coolum and have been climbing it my whole life. When I am home, I climb it almost every day. I always try to make it to the top before the sun is up, so I can watch it rise. It makes all my troubles slip away. I also have a favourite little beach cove and I love solo visits to the headland where my parents were married. Staring out at the ocean is very meditative for me.

Songs currently on repeat
Amen Dunes – Miki Dora, Mazzy Star – Fade into You, Beach House – Lemon Glow, Wilco – Impossible Germany, Ariel Pink – Baby, Neil Young – Bandit, Devendra Banhart – Fig in Leather, The Touré-Raichel Collective – Azawade, Nick Drake – Pink Moon, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Julie’s Place.

A book that had a lasting impression
1984 by George Orwell, Just Kids by Patti Smith, The Pearl by Jon Steinbeck and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

Her favourite self-care and wellness products
Chanel Hydra moisturiser, Aliangé Probiotic Masque and Jellyfish Peptide serum, the charcoal masks by Blak, Clarins cleansing milk with Alpine Herbs and Dermalogica Microfoliant for my face. Detox tea by Orchard St. and tumeric tablets daily. Plus The Ayu oils for my body, to nourish my skin and for the scents – my favourites are Smoking Rose and White Oudh. 

Words to live by
Always stay true to yourself, trust your gut and follow your intuition.