24 Hours With… Holly Ryan
Sculptor, jeweller and all round beach babe Holly Ryan is the Australian designer whose fusion of ethics and aesthetics sees her using sustainable materials to create her unique, ocean-inspired pieces. Designed from her studio in Sydney, Holly (and her dog Hugo) give us a look behind the scenes at her dreamy life Down Under.
What time do you wake up and where?
Around 6am, either in my attic bedroom which looks like the inside of a cabin (perfect for sleeping in) or at my boyfriend’s which overlooks the ocean, so we wake with the sun.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Kiss my man, cuddle and feed my dog Hugo, coffee, surf/swim/gym.
Do you have any pets?
A golden retriever named Hugo. He is a true gentleman and incredibly attractive. He loves the ocean as much as me and hangs with me in the studio all day. He still believes he’s a puppy and likes to sit on my lap even though he’s five-and-a-half years old.
What does your average day look like?
Ocean first. Whether it’s a swim or a surf, it’s non-negotiable. Everything else changes every day but most days consist of emails, social media, making jewellery, carving sculptures, meetings with PR/sales agents, talking with suppliers, researching, designing, trialling designs, making more jewellery, multiple pots of Orchard St. tea, plant-based meals, walking Hugo, more emails, website data entry, marketing, team meetings with staff, meetings with my gallery, packaging orders, cooking dinner with my housemate Lucy or with my boyfriend, a glass of wine, maybe an afternoon swim, maybe pilates, maybe just collapsing into bed so I can do it all again.
Do you have any rituals?
Ocean swims are very important to me.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
My studio is a home studio in the lower level of my house with sandstone walls and a concrete floor. Nice and cool for our hot Australian weather. I get pretty sweaty at work; it’s a physical job so it’s nice to be underground.
How would you describe what you do?
I’m a goldsmith and sculptor. I work creatively with my hands and try to be as responsible a designer as I can be by using recycled, upcycled and ethically sourced materials in my work.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
I grew up on the side of a mountain right next to the beach, so nature and an active lifestyle has always been important to me. I have a lot of respect for the environment and this beautiful country I am lucky to call my home.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I studied a bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in fashion. I graduated in 2010 and launched my jewellery label that same year. 2020 marks ten years of Holly Ryan jewellery.
Who has had the most formative influence on your practice?
My mother. She taught me how to make jewellery and the importance of being responsible for the things that I make and their impact on our environment.
What are the most important factors in your work?
Environmental impact, sustainability, ethical treatment of staff and suppliers, art, passion and love.
What kind of music do you play whilst you work?
When I’m working alone I listen to calming music. If the team is around it’s more energetic. I have a fairly decent record collection these days - Dad got me into collecting when I was a young teen.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
Title record store on Crown Street, Bondi Beach for a swim, Centennial Park with Hugo, Berkelouw Books in Paddington.
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
Patti Smith Year of the Monkey, Hemingway A Moveable Feast, Eve Babitz L.A. Woman, Joan Didion Play It As It Lays, Tracey Emin Strangeland.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Depends on the collective energy of myself, my man and my housemate. Sometimes we cook together, sometimes one person does it for the team, or otherwise we say: “Fuck it let’s order pizza! We’ve got Pilates at 7am, it’s fiiiiine…” My go-to meal if I’m cooking is rainbow nourish bowls with fresh veg and some seafood.
What time do you go to bed?
Every day is different - could be any time between 8pm and 1am.
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Kiss my man and tell him I love him.
What do you dream about?
Surfing better, designs, foreign lands, the future, my dog.