A SMALL DRAMA IN COLOUR
I once bought a book called 'Colours' by Victoria Finlay. I had gifted it to someone who would later become my husband. He used to be a scientist and I was the artist but we came together through our love for painting. He was all about colours while my art was black and many shades of grey, but never colourful.
So when I came across ‘Colours’, I bought it for him as a reminder of that night I lamented about my colourless art. In the book, Finlay travels the world to discover the origins of colours and the life that was lived by each colour to give it its meaning today. She tells of the journey of blue, the lapis lazuli found in the Middle East where even wars were fought over it. There was ochre that is used intensely by the aborigines of Australia, and a very specific shade of it that is only found in the south of France. Or the reds, the colour for celebrations in China from weddings to New Year.
Finlay’s travel was unusual. It was a journey of discovery which eventually gave new meaning to how she saw the world of colours. Not dissimilar to Finlay’s experiences, I myself have been on such journeys in the past years which ultimately influenced my own creative work. I started galavanting around the world at 18 where the worldly intricacies and cultural oddities kept me intrigued and moving. Unbeknown to me then, the influence of colours was already instilled in me.
I eventually arrived in London and through the circumstance of falling in love with a buzzing city and an equally curious man, London became my home. In 2014, with a London dwelling and a London life, it seemed predetermined that I would create a London brand yet be inspired by the greater world that I have seen and experienced as a traveller, a collection of leather bags and accessories at Studio Candice Lau.
A previous career of 10 years in graphic design, experiencing the fast pace and multifaceted advertising industry kept me on the path of design. My work and passion in design grounded my style in minimalism and geometry. But a new found zeal for leatherwork that I had learnt through the London College of Fashion and the Alri Workshop in Hong Kong, and constant practice of the craft throughout the past years had me bracing for a new and exciting adventure into creating my own brand of leather bags and accessories. I have asked myself why over and over again to understand why I feel the intensity and sense of excitement with my work. And it is by integrating my skills as a designer and the love for leatherwork, and making use of the skills I have trained so much on that has made this the most meaningful experience of my career.
The collection is influenced by my observations of people and their attire throughout my travels in namely cities which I have lived; Sydney, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and London. As well, the multifaceted meaning of colours around us. I find that it is often through a single, perhaps colourful accessory that one wears in an armour of more often then not black attire that enables the hidden dynamic and unruly self to slip out. Hence my collection offers that subtle dynamism yet in amongst the small drama of the colourful collection is elegance, design and staying true to my craft of leatherwork. As such each bag remains to be individually handcrafted using Italian leathers and British Millerain canvas in my London workshop.
So far, I have worked with the likes of Lacoste, Pilsner Urquell, The Sweet Shop, Farrells Architects, House of Eleonore, Heals Furniture and House and Garden Magazine amongst others.
My NEW COLLECTION
The new collection is inspired by a recent journey to Asia and it is a celebration of a new and emerging creative identity in a new era that is forged in cities like Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It is a personal study of the dynamic undertone of individuals in amongst the billions of inhabitants. Their ingenious method to disrupt the norm in secretive yet playful ways. The new collection salutes to what is seemingly an obedient exterior with strong block colours and angles, but compliments their rebellious individuality with my own hand drawn motifs on the product's interior. Staying true to Studio Candice Lau’s ethos, the bags are individually handcrafted in my London workshop using Italian cow hide and British Millerain canvas.
In her career as a leather craftswoman, she has worked tenanciously to create not only a distinct style in her work, but also the recognition of her craftsmanship. She has an accolade of awards that merits her practice from a recent QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) scholarship to further her leathercraft training, two times awardee of the Cockpit Arts and the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers Award, as well as highly commended as the Maker of the Year 2017 from the Heritage Craft Association.