Sara Bran : gold-lace maker.

Gold-lace maker.

It was during the international Art fair Salon Révélations at the Grand Palais in Paris that we met jeweler Sara Bran. Settled in the South West of France for twelve years now, she creates one-of-a-kind jewels in her workshop. Her gold laces – as she likes to call them – are tiny extraordinary treasures. Real pioneer of jewelry, she tells us her story.

Date: 8 November 2019
City: South West of France
Artisan: Sara Bran
Sara, can you tell us how you became a jeweler?


At first, I was a stone sculptor. I also drew and painted a lot. I did it for ten years. I was also very interested in jewelry. It is actually by breaking a detail of a sculpture and turning it into a pendant that I started making jewels.

Was it the turning point in your shift of career?


It was…After that first jewel, I made a second one, and a third one: my creations encountered a certain success and I rapidly had my first collection order, through a gallerist.

What was the journey of your apprenticeship?


Very quickly, I had to work with metal elements. One of my friends – a jeweller – taught me the basic techniques. For the rest, I taught myself. I realized precious metals such as gold and silver were very fitting medium for me, even more so than stone. These materials allowed me to push further my graphic, artistic and technical research as well.

It took years of research and experiment to get to my current level and to develop my unique know-how as a gold lace-maker.

Can you tell us more about that technique?


I specialized in metal manual cutting: it is what we call the bracket saw technique. It is a basic skill traditionally used for crimping, or said otherwise, to create the structure of a jewel. I, on the other hand, use it to solely work the metal in order to create 3D structures and work on the light.

It took me many years to master this technique because I wanted to develop alloys, and I also wished creating souple, solid yet very thin pieces that could be wearable.

At first, I made jewels inspired by existing textile laces, and then I started embroidering and composing my own laces and patterns.

“I had to succeed in replicating the finesse and the flexibility of lace into metal, which seemed counter intuitive and almost impossible! I liked that paradox.”

Where does your infatuation for lace come from?


I find the world of lace making fascinating. It is about light, thread and frame. Its pattern can be found everywhere: here under the dome of the Grand Palais as well as in a mosquito net or a leaf…

I was also very enthusiastic about the challenge this technique represented: I had to succeed in replicating the finesse and the flexibility of lace into metal, which seemed counter intuitive and almost impossible! I liked that paradox.

Your work is extraordinarily meticulous. What happens when you “mess up” a piece?


The idea is to not mess up. To do so, I need to create an environment that allows constant great technical skill. That is what is difficult.

When you have been working on a piece for over a hundred hours, you cannot start over. The creative aspect, as well as improvisation cannot be replicated: that’s the quintessence of unique pieces.

Are you the only to perform gold lace-making?


Today, I am the only one to do it. My asset is my versatility. Not only did I push my technique to a level of excellency but I also am versed in artistic creation due to my past as a sculptor. My eye is sharp and my hand grandly trained over the years. It gives me the capacity to be original and ingenuous. My numerous researches also gave me a number of precious references.

What type of research have you led?


I conducted a lot of research on various ornemental registers, in particular on laces: Belgian, French, British, floral, baroque…

I also collaborate regularly with Museums within the frame of my research. I recently had a monographic solo exhibition at the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles in Rouen. It was the unfolding and the accomplishment of ten years of work! I showed my archives, drawings, some pieces as well as their prototypes, all of that in the exceptional context of the museum.

Do you collaborate only with museums?


I also work with luxury brands. Amongst others, I’ve worked with Piaget and Guerlain. These collaborations can be tricky because we have to succeed associating our know-how, our visual indentities, the codes of a brand… It is a long process, sometimes complicated, but interestingly challenging and always bringing about beautiful projects!

Did you enjoy discovering this craftsman ?

Contact her!
· Credits · Text : Aurélia Monge – Photographies : Yohann Deslandes, Etienne Delacretaz.
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