Velvit Welcomes LaLaYeah

Agathe Bodineau of LaLaYeah talks the ins and outs of jewelry design, her fascination with crystals and rocks, and her love for leather jackets

Velvit met with self-taught jewelry designer Agathe Bodineau for some insight on her artistic background, her inspirations, and her goals as an artist.

Bodineau at her Montreal studio, by Hugo-Sébastien Albert.

Velvit: When did you know you wanted to start creating jewelry?
Agathe Bodineau: Not right away in my professional life, actually. I studied Fine Arts, not jewelry making, specifically painting and drawing and print media. Jewelry came after, a bit of a surprise as a result of playing with materials and techniques, as I am a self-taught jeweler. It became more and more serious within years, and I think I'm a better jeweler than I ever was a painter, so it makes total sense in my life now.


V: What would you be doing if you weren’t creating jewelry?
AB: I had been working in art galleries and making jewelry part-time for years before doing jewelry full time, which is still fairly new for me. I would never see myself outside of the designer world; I'd probably go mad.

V: What is the first piece of jewelry you were ever gifted or the first piece you ever purchased?
AB: I think I was given a small gold band as a child, but it was probably not something I wore a lot. Funny enough, I wear very little jewelry on a day-to-day basis. I have never been into really girly accessories and I don't remember liking jewelry that much until I got interested in contemporary fashion and independent designers as a young adult. Then, I discovered things I could connect with and became fascinated with pieces (jewelry) as sculptural objects, not necessarily always in connection with the body. I like to think of my own pieces that way too, sometimes.

V: What is one article of clothing you could just live in forever?
AB: A good leather jacket! I have about 10 leather jackets and I can't get enough. I could live in a good motorcycle leather jacket forever. Oh, and good classic boots, too.

V: Is there a certain item you own that is connected to a strong memory?
AB: I usually don't have very strong attachment to objects, which is maybe paradoxical because jewelry markers work to make desirable objects. Maybe because I moved a lot in the past, I feel like things around me have been changing all the time. I still have some great designer clothes, probably the first designer pieces I acquired, bought years and years ago on sale for a fraction of their value. They remind me of the revelation I had about the quality, the fabrics, and the process of how things are made in comparison to cheap mass production.

V: How did you find your voice as an artist?
AB: I reached the point when the pieces I make are true to the idea I had of them before they were made. It sounds simple, but it is kind of a big deal. Aesthetically, I also feel my work is coherent now, which is probably what takes the most time to develop. I would say it took a few years to achieve.

V: What themes do you pursue when creating your pieces?
AB: The exploration of the materials is the center of my practice. My pieces are centered around minerals, as much the rawness and the roughness of common rocks as the precious and the shine of more traditional stones. I have been casting, molding, and reproducing rocks and crystals in a lot of my pieces. Whether in resin, silver, bronze, or with the actual mineral, I am never bored of the shapes, surfaces, and connotations. I also really like oppositions, in texture, materials, or processes. Lately I have been using plumbing pipes and fittings for a lot of my pieces, paired with precious or semi-precious minerals.

V: What is your newest collection most inspired by?
AB: Rocks! I have been using more and more casts of found rocks, like the Coal ring, for example, found on the train tracks. I have also been casting minerals in other materials, like silver and resin.

V: Professionally, what is your goal as an artist?
AB: To be satisfied by my production without any compromises to the designs. That's pretty much it. Being able to live from it is amazing too, but mostly, when I am satisfied with the pieces, it shows and it makes a better collection. Not producing a piece in order to sell is a luxury, but it's one that I want to keep.

V: How does music inspire your work?
AB: I am a very visual person, and most of the time, music will evoke images in my mind while I listen. In that way, some music will inspire or align with my work. The universe of rock and roll really inspires me, the styles and codes around it too. I definitely prefer music that is a bit on the harsh and/or dark side.

V: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give someone who is pursuing a career in jewelry design?
AB: Develop your own language while being very conscious about what is happening around you and what other designers are creating and making. Connect with the community of designers. And yes, it is very hard, but extremely rewarding.

For more information on Agathe Bodineau and LaLaYeah, visit our Artist profiles and shop our Velvit boutique.