Pieces Of Me… Bleue Burnham
“My route into design was predominantly through a desire to create. This desire was contextualised next to my interest in style and arts which led me to design jewellery as a medium which not only contributed to stylistic expression, but also to sculptural and conceptual art.”
- Bleue Burnham
This series is a dedication to the things that are most important to us. To the heirlooms (and memories they hold) that we wear on repeat; that we’ll cherish forever; that become part of us.
In homage to the fine jewellery designers whose pieces bring us so much joy, we’re taking a closer look at their lives through an intimate lens, gaining a sentimental snapshot of their personal stories and what’s most important to them.
This episode spotlights Brighton-born Bleue Wickham-Burnham, whose eco-conscious, artistic collections bring a high-key kaleidoscope of joy. Handmade from recycled precious metals and encrusted with technicolour sapphires, each piece is a timeless beauty which deepens our connection to the natural world. Get better acquainted with the creative behind nature-inspired masterpieces which colour us (and the planet) very happy.
"My Burnham Signet with clear and multi sapphires."
"Fly fishing on the River Test. "
"I have just shot the campaign for our most recent SS23 collection."
"Winter at Hampstead Heath men’s ponds."
How did you begin the brand?
The jewellery-making officially started after a friend taught me how to make a ring and which took me on a journey of practising, refining, and expanding my skills whilst demand for my jewellery grew. Then, I aligned the purpose and conceptual framework of the brand with what was important to me, took it to Paris Fashion Week, and it went from there!
Who or what inspires you? What drives your creativity?
I’m inspired and driven by the beauty of human connection to the natural world, and by my desire to unite genuine naturalism with luxury.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A photographer. I still love photography and shot all our original campaigns. I stepped away for a couple of years, but I have just shot the campaign for our most recent collection: SS23 / THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS PART II.
One thing you can’t live without?
Family, friends, and community.
What piece of clothing/accessory/jewellery makes you feel most like yourself?
My Rose Garden Signet. This was one of the first pieces of jewellery where I truly felt like I was achieving what I wanted to with regards to making. And it still plays a key role in our collection! Browns has exclusivity on the multi sapphire colourway, which is my favourite.
What is your greatest piece of treasure?
I have some custom Blueroom House-Pod speakers which my Dad painted. They were painted for MTV in the ‘90s and he got to keep a pair. The concept is based on having no hard edges within the speaker which gives it a richer sound.
Which piece of jewellery do you wear the most?
My Rose Garden Signet and my Burnham Signet. The Rose Garden holds personal sentimentality for the reasons I discussed above and works with all outfits. The Burnham Signet is another ring that has sentimentality to me.
It was part of my GRANDMA’S HOUSE collection and a semi-replica of a ring that was my Grandmother’s (who I never met). I took the ring apart and made a mould, then added to this so it aligned with our philosophy and style of making. This entailed removing claws from the external halo, setting in BB style, and adding thickness and texture to the band.
"I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up and still love photography."
"Brighton & Hove beach on a summer’s morning."
Wilding by Isabella Tree or Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Two incredible tales of the wonder of the natural world.
A Good Year. It’s a little bit cheesy but it’s heartwarming and reminds you what the important things in life are.
Which three albums would you take on a desert island?
Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On
Frank Ocean - Blonde
Matthew Hallsall - Fletcher Moss Park
Goldie - Inner City Life
Bach - Cello Suites No. 1, 5 & 6
Sorry, I couldn’t keep it to three! These are exceptionally beautiful bodies of music which would keep me happy while on a desert island. Other than jewellery and clothing, music is my most enjoyed area of the arts so having the right soundtrack is very important.
If you could live in any era, what would it be?
I’m very happy with where I am but, if I could experience another era, I’d live in the ‘60s and travel to experience culture and wildlife in their pure forms.
Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy sports such as tennis, trail running, swimming, walking and fishing. I also enjoy eating at good restaurants, gardening, and spending time in the natural world.
Where's your favourite place in the world?
My Nan’s house and Hampstead Heath. My Nan's house has a wonderful garden and is where I grew up and so have the past three generations of my family, so it’s a very special place to us.
Hampstead Heath is my favourite place in London. The scenery is beautiful, the air is cleaner and it’s nice and relaxing to stroll around. I also swim in the ponds all year round which is one of the best ways to start your day. This winter, the water temperature got down to -7 degrees Celsius which is the coldest I’ve ever swum.
"I’ve shot all our campaigns (including this one)."
"Summer at Hampstead Heath men’s ponds."
"Beautiful Xerochrysum bracteatum (or strawflower)."
"A snapshot of our new THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS PART II collection."
What makes you laugh?
Most things. I’m very easily amused and grew up in a family where you had to be able to take a laugh!
What makes you cry?
When I laugh too much.
Do you have any phobias?
I’m petrified of spiders. I try to overcome and face this fear every now and again, but it never works.
If you could ask anyone a question, who would you ask, and what would you ask?
I’d ask Michael Palin, Monty Don, Rick Stein, Robin Wall-Kimmerer, Isabella Tree and David Attenborough if they would be interested in having a dinner party. Imagine the conversation. This would be incredible.
What do you need more time for?
An event you wish you'd witnessed?
The natural world, undisturbed.
What's your idea of happiness?
Family and friends, good food, the beach and sunshine.
Interview by Sophy Davis Russell
Pieces Of Me… CC-Steding
Artist In Residence: Dawn Bendick
Come Dine With Me… TSAU
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