Colleen Baran is a jeweller, artist and designer living and working in Greater Vancouver. She has exhibited in galleries and museums in 11 countries and been published in a few more. Recent publications include the books 500 Wedding Rings (Lark Books), 500 Plastic (also Lark Books) and Kirtsy Takes a Bow (which was in InStyle’s 2009 Christmas gift guide). She’s also won awards for jewellery and photography, both locally and internationally.
Why did you get into jewellery design?
I first started making jewellery 17 years ago and my passion and enthusiasm for it are still as great as ever. I’ve been interested in art and design since I was little, for as long as I can remember. I explored many media: jewellery, photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, writing, cooking and clothing. I enjoyed them all, but of everything, it was jewellery that always intrigued and excited me the most. I love the fun and functionality of it, the durability of metal and its potential life as an heirloom. And jewellery makes people happy, which is a definite perk.
Tell us a bit about your company.
I’ve been working under my own name Colleen Baran for the last few years but may be better recognized locally as See:Be. Each piece of jewellery is designed and handmade from start to finish by me in my studio. They’re made with care and attention to craftsmanship. Most pieces are made of 100% recycled silver combined with a focus on eco-friendly studio practices, packaging and supplies. I love playing with possible shapes for rings, focusing on pieces meant for both form and function; working with open shapes; two finger rings; and multiple piece sets. Effortless but interesting, rings that are bold but still surprising comfortable. One of my rings was recently published in Italian Vogue. Other press includes Western Living, Fashion, Flare, the Georgia Strait, the Province and the Vancouver Sun.
How would you characterize your style?
Modern yet classic design with an occasionally vintage feel. I’m inspired by a love of patterns and repetition, line, balanced asymmetry, shapes that are clean, modern and yet often organic.
Who are your clients?
I’ve sold to people of all ages, ranging from 10 to 70, though most are in their 20s to 40s. Since designs range from clean and modern to ornate and feminine, my clients are wonderfully diverse. My jewellery has sold to people all over the world including countries as widespread and far flung as England, France, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, and even the United Arab Emirates.
What do you think moms should know about your jewellery?
For moms of small children stud earrings are always a great choice. Earrings that hang down and swing will be tugged at by little hands. Some rings are bold and dramatic and more for a night out then a day gardening, though I particularly love making rings and enjoy making large, oversized cocktail rings that are designed to fit with surprising comfort. Since most of my jewellery is made of recycled silver and all of it’s handmade locally, it’s a great eco-friendly option.
Where can people buy your jewellery?
Anything else to add?
I’ve started Green/Eco Jewelry, a group devoted to eco-friendly jewellery and welcome contributions of photos and comments from other jewellers.