What I Know About Style

Laura McDonagh, Portobello Design Market

Portobello Design and Art Market


Jewellery designer Laura McDonagh on why she loves Portobello

Who or what sparked your love of jewellery?

I have always enjoyed wearing quirky jewellery but by making everything seem possible, Jenny MacDonald of Kensington & Chelsea College ignited my love of designing and making jewellery.

Which materials do you most like working with and why?

Painting anodised aluminium or blowing glass bubbles are wonderful antedotes to the precision of working with gold or silver and mean that I can design larger pieces that although bright, colourful and contemporary are light and easy to wear.

What’s it like being part of the Portobello Art & Design Market?

I love the buzz of having a group of artists together adjacent to the main Portobello Market. Despite the recession, people still appreciate interesting pieces of work, so I feel really privileged to be included. We differentiate ourselves by selling work that we have designed and made ourselves, so our clients can take home unique pieces at affordable prices.

You also live in the area. Does it inspire your work?

There is always so much going on in Portobello, and so many different sorts of people that you can’t help but be inspired.

How would you describe your personal style?

My lifestyle is dominated by animals and sport, so my style is definitely casual.

Is jewellery a luxury or necessity?

Obviously a necessity. Although I suppose food and water should get a slightly higher priority.

What is your top tip for a tourist in London?

Use the buses as much as possible as you get a great view of London life and understand the layout in a way that you don’t when you only use the tube.

Where do you usually grab lunch in Portobello?

Such a selection. I often get lunch from The Grocer on Elgin but for a longer lunch I love going to the Electric Brasserie. In the evenings I favour Uli or Ripe Tomato on All Saints Road.

Who would you most like to design jewellery for and why?

Stella McCartney – she is local, designs wonderful clothes, is a hard-working mother who also loves animals.

What’s the most extravagant luxury item you’ve ever bought?

A beautiful handmade antique side-saddle I had a few years when it was really painful for me to walk or stand but I could still gallop around the countryside if I rode side-saddle.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have started to use Argentium silver which is as pure and hard as sterling but is tarnish resistant. I continue to develop new catches and ways of wearing the same piece of jewellery in different ways.

What’s your favourite piece of jewellery?

Probably a glass and silver bangle that tested my technical and design skills and was chosen to be displayed in the V&A. I don’t wear it very often but it lives on my desk and I love looking at it. Otherwise my interchangeable geometric pieces are a great favourite as I can take just one necklace away for the weekend and change it to complement my outfits.

What’s your philosophy on life?

If everyone helped whoever they could without expecting to be paid back the world would be a better place.

Portobello Art and Design Market, Acklam Road, under the Westway, London, W10; www.portobelloartmarket.com; Open every Sat 10am–5pm

Laura McDonagh; www.lauraandjacques.co.uk; laura@nottingval.com;07768 727 729

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