Every month we feature a ‘Pick of the month’ from the Gift Shop on the blog to find out more about the suppliers of the beautiful arts and crafts, jewellery and handmade products that we stock in our Shop. This month’s pick is the popular Manolo jewellery which has just been relaunched as Materia Rica. We love their individual style and wanted to find out what’s behind their story and what inspires them.

What’s the story behind the creation of Materia Rica?

Materia Rica is an ancient concept and a new brand at the same time. It emerges to meet the needs of present day people. For those looking for crafted, responsibly designed and manufactured accessories.

It all began with Manolo — an older brother to Materia Rica and our former jewellery project. Back in 2010 Marta Chojnacka’s drawings and tales took shape and Manolo was born. And, from London pop-up markets, it set off for homes and galleries in all the corners of the world.

The team behind Manolo grew fast and London merged with Barcelona. Many things changed. But artists were (and are) still worker bees and Materia Rica sprouted. Its raison d’être: to see your feelings and emotions arise with what we do. This is the biggest achievement of our proud small brand.

Tell us a little about your work and the materials you use.

The work we do is great fun! We get to work with great people and find inspiration on every little everyday detail.
Marta and a small team of designers are responsible for all designs and trends.

Once ideas are drawn and tested; pictures are digitised, final designs take shape on a screen and walnut pieces are laser cut in our workshop.

When that’s done, it’s when all the magic happens. Each jewellery piece is painted, polished, mounted and varnished by hand — which makes them all unique. Our first class products and mainly our skilled craftswomen are our best quality warranty.

At the moment all collections are made using responsibly sourced black American walnut. All metal components are fabricated in the UK or Spain and they are all ant allergic. There’s no nickel on any of our metal pieces.

Who designs the jewellery and what is the inspiration behind those designs?

The designs are at present always based on Marta Chojnacka drawings and the inspiration comes from everywhere! The pattern from an unusual leaf, the shape of a stain glass window or more abstract concepts such as freedom.

Marta has such a crazy desk when she’s working on a new collection — scraps of paper with colourful sketches, a palm leave, a scarf with a curious pattern, a picture of an inspiring place… and crayons everywhere, even inside her teacup.

As this is the first time you are showcasing your work within a gallery and museum, what does that mean to your company?

This is the first time Materia Rica is being shown in a museum :) We are really excited about it. We feel our products live well with the audience you receive at The Lightbox - We both share a similar aim.  To a raise your feelings with what we do.

A selection of Materia Rica jewellery is available to buy in our Shop. 

Support us and artists and designers like Materia Rica by buying just a card. Find out more about the 'Just a Card' campaign here.

Image credits: Art Deco Necklace by Manolo, image courtesy of Mimi Kim © The Lightbox; Joan and Marta in their Barcelona workshop © Materia Rica.