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Rosita Bonita is designer Rowenna Harrison, who creates illustrative, printed-leather statement jewellery – her trademark rose, blossom and shell design earrings and necklaces have more than a hint of retro glamour.
Rowenna studied illustration and – undecided how to best utilise her love of drawing and crafting skills – went on to manage a vintage shop, fulfilling her passion for rifling through piles of clothes, and dressing up, all the while absorbing interesting design details. In her spare time she made her own jewellery and people liked it. Her first collection was a hit so she left her day job. Seven years later she now works from her little studio in Margate.
Inspired by nostalgia and day-dreaming, Rowenna’s collections all feature familiar imagery – old-school roses; fruits, blossom and foliage from vintage crates; or shells that might have decorated a travelling mermaid carnival exhibit. Her designs reflect her love of dressing up and its transformative and mood-enhancing possibilities.
“Designing always feels like a treat.” Rowenna says. A collection forms in its entirety right from the beginning of the process, right down to how she envisages photographing it. She scribbles in her notebook, and “spends days on the internet, collating massive files of pretty pictures” she says. Rowenna then draws, and draws, and draws, until she feels that it’s “right”.
Leather features heavily in her work; the material is cut to shape by laser or knife and then screen-printed or heat-embossed with metallic foil. Rowenna casts metal and resin from her own metal or wax models. She prints small batches of each different component at any one time, resulting in a studio full of boxes and tins “bits” ready to assemble when she needs to. She has a hands-on approach to materials and technique, experimenting with printed pieces and different chains, until she finds a configuration that works.
Rosita Bonita’s alluring creations ooze style and personality, no dull jewellery is allowed here.