From the research for her designs to the birds at the bottom of her garden, jeweller Jasmin Scott is never far from inspiration for feathering her nest.
The delicate creations Jasmin Scott designs for her brand Jasmin Sparrow Jewellery have a timeless elegance that transcends fashion and of-the-moment trends. Ethically sourced, sculpturally shaped and often made from recyclable materials, her unique pieces are a study in simplicity and fine detail. We met Jasmin at her West Auckland home, where she runs her business, raises her children Archie (5) and baby Lola, and enjoys regular backyard sightings of ducklings and pukeko.
So, Jasmin, tell us a little about the life you and your partner Oli Bradford have made. Oli and I met in Wellington and lived there for a few years before moving to Waihi Beach, then Auckland; we’ve been here for about five years now. I run my business from home full-time while raising the kids, which is a bit of a juggle. I’ve recently hired my first employee to assist me, which has made my life a lot easier.
I started Jasmin Sparrow Jewellery when Archie was a baby; I had a studio set up and would be in it whenever he slept during the day. Working from home means I’m able to spend a lot more time with the kids than I would if I had a regular job, but it also means I have to be quite disciplined. I dream of one day having a little studio-slash-showroom so I can separate my work and home life, but for now it works really well for Oli and me.
What do you like most about your home? I love that we live so close to the city, yet it feels like our retreat away from it all. We live on almost an acre of land with beautiful trees and a little stream – it’s very peaceful. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid and I think it’s great for the imagination, so I always encourage Archie to play outside.
How would you describe your and Oli’s interior style? We just surround ourselves with things we love and hope that it all fits together, though I’m still not sure it does! We try not to buy too much and fill our home with nice things without overdoing it. I like to think most of our possessions either serve a purpose or hold a memory.
I think we have quite similar taste and tend to appreciate the same things. Oli takes real pride in his plant collection – I’m not allowed to touch or water them.
You’ve collected a lot of treasures on your overseas adventures – do you have any favourites? I love bringing things home from my travels and surrounding myself with those memories. Our parents travelled a lot too, so we’ve ended up with a few of their beautiful pieces as well.
I visited Morocco two years ago and wish I’d gone there towards the end of my trip, rather than at the beginning. I bought rugs and cushions and a whole lot of beautiful ceramics, then lugged them around Europe for a few weeks! The rugs and cushions were so heavy I eventually decided to ship them back, but I held on to the ceramics and kept them in my carry-on luggage for the remainder of my trip. And I only broke one! It was silly and impractical at the time, but well worth it in the long run.
What’s the secret to finding fantastic homeware locally? Second-hand and antique stores – always. Auckland’s Helter Skelter has some great second-hand pieces and I like The Vitrine for beautifully restored French furniture. For newer pieces, Father Rabbit has an excellent selection – we got our couch from there – and I also love Douglas and Bec and Simon James. Tony Sly Pottery in Raglan is a must for ceramics.
An ethical approach to sourcing materials and crafting your jewellery is at the core of your brand – does that apply to the way you curate your home’s interior too? Definitely. I love buying pieces directly from the people creating them and enjoy meeting different artisans when I travel and seeing how the pieces are made. I buy directly from local artists and ceramicists in New Zealand too. We’re lucky to have a lot of talented friends who we support, but if we’re not buying directly from the source, we tend to buy second hand and always choose quality over quantity; I hate waste.
How do Jasmin Sparrow pieces begin their life? I feel like I’m always designing. I’m constantly coming up with ideas and being inspired by little things, so I make sure I always carry a notebook with me. If I’m feeling stuck and have a deadline to meet, I’ll often go to the library or watch old films for inspiration. I try to avoid the internet and social media during the design process.
What was the thinking behind your latest ranges, Fine and Oui Oui? The Fine collection was intended to meet customer demand for a lower price point with delicate, affordable pieces. I like that they can be layered and they also sit nicely next to some of my bolder designs.
Oui Oui was inspired by a trip to Paris and the French way of dressing. I think they take a very ethical approach, investing in quality pieces rather than giving in to seasonal trends. That’s very much what this collection was about: focusing on timeless designs that won’t date. In fact, all my collections are designed around that philosophy.
Interview Lisa Morton
Photography Larnie Nicolson