Australian jewellery label, Cameron Studio, makes products that are refined and handmade in Melbourne. Fronted by Glenn and Bec Cameron, the brand creates products designed to build character over time. Working with locally sourced materials, Cameron Studio designs are handmade using the ancient lost-wax casting method, showing a level of craftsmanship reminiscent of a time gone by. Focusing on clean lines and timeless silhouettes, Cameron Studio’s approach to design is subdued and minimalistic with subtle references to skateboarding prominent in the brands back catalogue. We caught up with Glenn at his studio on a typically cold Melbourne Tuesday morning and delved into how he got into jewellery design, the processes he uses and his blindly loyal dedication to Tottenham Hotspur.
What got you into jewellery design, Glenn?
I’ve been designing and making for over 15 years. I started a menswear label straight out of school with a friend, which taught me a lot about the industry and managing a brand. After a short break, I started experimenting with jewellery. I spent a few years learning the basics before putting together my first collection for CS.
Where do you begin when starting a design?
Each season is loosely based on a theme, whether that’s a particular person, place or subculture (Ricardo Bofill inspired 30 SILOS, skate spot Pier 7 was our namesake third collection etc), it varies season to season. The theme informs the design of each piece but in an understated way.
Can you give us a little insight into the process(es) behind Cameron Studio?
I build each range from my chosen reference point and spend a lot of time refining each piece to make sure they’re functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. This process involves manipulating and testing samples. I continue to develop the overall campaign while working back with Bec.
At the moment we release two main collections a year, but are looking to move away from that traditional model. I’d like to keep experimenting with product other than jewellery and explore collaborations with people I’m interested in – often those not in the fashion industry.
On that, what techniques do you implement in your work?
Most of my pieces are made using the lost wax casting technique, which is a really old method that allows me to develop the kinds of textures I like to work with. This involves hand carving my designs in wax, creating a resin mold and then a metal duplicate that I file, sand and polish (or not polish) to get the desired look. I also incorporate a little soldering if needed.
The purpose of CS jewellery is not to dominate an outfit but to take a back seat and be appreciated by the wearer and those who are looking.
What materials do you work with predominantly, and why?
I mostly work with solid Sterling Silver and Gold, both 9k and 14k. When starting the brand, the intention was to create high quality product that ages well, so I don’t use any plated metals as these wear poorly and sort of lack substance. I want CS rings to build character with time and be considered beautiful even with dints and scratches – ultimately all jewellery that’s loved will become marked.
Recently I’ve used bronze for a few accessories that were perfectly suited. Next season will feature some homewares made from this which I’m really excited about. Again, the aging process is cool to watch.
Tell us about some of your past inspirations.
My greatest ongoing inspiration is skateboarding. I’ve skated for over 20 years and it consumed my life for a long time. Although it's rarely called out, skating has inspired all CS collections to date, in the shape of a ring or texture I utilised – a few seasons ago I used the vulcanized sole of a Vans skate shoe to create texture for a band, which turned out really well. Next season’s campaign features our male model in a vintage Powell Peralta Steve Caballero T-shirt from the early 90's.
Having said that, skating is pretty played out in fashion and often used as a prop without much authenticity, so I hope my love and dedication comes through my art direction and designs in an honest way. Of course there are some amazing brands run by skaters who to me, have earned the right to reference and monetize the culture through fashion – Noah, Biana Chandon, Supreme etc.
Let’s go back to the start. What was the first piece you made/who was it for etc.?
The first piece I made was part of a jewellery course project, where I used a rock form to create the top of a signet. Looking back it was such a bad, clunky design but at the time I was pretty happy with the final piece. It was for my girlfriend, I’m sure she still has it collecting dust somewhere. Over time I honed my skills to make pieces suited more to the style that I would wear. Similar to today’s designs, these were minimal, classic and easy to wear.
What do you think is the purpose of jewellery? Where does it fit in with an outfit?
I like the idea of CS pieces going relatively unnoticed. The purpose of CS jewellery is not to dominate an outfit but to take a back seat and be appreciated by the wearer and those who are looking.
Tell us about your latest collection, PATINA.
PATINA is all about appreciating how objects change and wear with age, and enjoying this imperfection. A number of the designs are intentionally scratched or dinted, including a few oxidised signets that slowly lose their blackened finish to reveal the solid silver core. In this way, these pieces develop characteristics unique to each wearer.
I want Cameron Studio rings to build character with time and be considered beautiful even with dints and scratches.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished designing our AW21 collection and finalising the campaign. I intentionally kept the range small and am really happy with each piece. As mentioned I’m producing a few objects for the home, so hope to release these online soon. Expanding our category offering and exploring collaborations are a huge focus for CS at the moment, hopefully these are well received.
What’s your daily process like in the studio?
A day in the studio usually involves a bit of everything; concept development and design for the upcoming season, finishing product at the bench, photography, order fulfilment, correspondence with customers and stockists…it’s a balancing act between admin/production/design. Bec looks after business operations while I handle all things creative; I also do CS photography under studio offshoot Quiet Please, which I’ll grow when I have the time.
We hear you’re a bit of a football fan…
I’m a die-hard Tottenham supporter, so let’s not talk about it…
And finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in the jewellery world?
I would encourage designers to not to be intimidated by the jewellery world. Starting out I found the industry to be pretty old school, but if you persist and ask questions along the way, you’ll find some very helpful, knowledgeable people.
If looking to start a brand, I’d suggest honing in on what exactly interests you and why you want to play with this. This way you’re more likely to build something authentic, with meaning and not influenced by trends. Lastly, don’t neglect learning the business side of things as this is so important. As a creative it may not feel natural – it certainly didn’t for me – but it’s crucial to a brand’s success.