Harley Woolven, the Australian Sydney-based contemporary jewelry designer handcrafts his contemporary pieces from start to finish with the highest quality grade of Australian sterling silver, each piece is unique, bespoke, and epitomizes the ultra-cool aesthetic that represents his contemporary jewelry design line Black De Ville.
Tell us how you came about to design jewelry and what it was that inspired you to start up your own company? I have always had a strong love for fashion, construction, and the romance that can actually be translated through creation. I was naturally drawn to jewelry from a very young age however found it quite difficult to find exactly what I was looking for.
I think the inspiration to start up was through the idea of design recognition while also adding best I could to the androgynous fashion in Australia which is growing.
Your medium is prominently silver what are the pros and cons of working with such a raw metal? The pros of working with silver are probably endless, from accessibility to durability and also polishing or finishing ability. It is a metal that can easily be worn in a more rough or dirty finish or contrastingly be polished to virtually mirror. It’s a great metal to manipulate and is also perfect to fit that middle color tone to be cohesive with the wearers other clothing.
Cons can include spending hours on a design or a concept and it turns out looking like nothing at all. It’s often harder than anticipated to translate a design whether it be in your head, on paper or even a wax mould into silver… this can cause pretty tedious headaches.
You have an effortless cool aesthetic tell us what defines and sets your designer line apart from others? I think coming in with a point of difference is pretty fundamental when considering collection development. It’s very easy to step on toes of other artists even if its subconsciously. I really wanted to firstly create a strong foundation with a simple core range, but then progress into the direction I’m heading now.
I am a strong believer in brutalism and androgynous fashion. I will do my best to get a piece as obscure as possible while also maintaining wearability. It’s really important to me to stick to the identity of BLK DV and let it move into its own path while adding bits and pieces as I go along.
What or who inspires you and your designs? Initially, the core collection is totally inspired by structured existing pieces currently found in jewelry.
The collections after that, SHALLOW & BROKEN VALLEY were created totally through environmental emersion. I draw strong inspiration from my surroundings at the time. SHALLOW was designed by the water, it draws unconventional lines through transient flow patterns. It has some of my favourite pieces I’ve ever worked on and it really started to project the direction I was wanting to progress BLK DV into.