My name is Therese Lyons, and I’m the designer and maker of Ena & Albert, a handmade jewelry label based in Sydney, Australia.
I’ve been a lifelong maker, always keeping myself busy with crafts like dressmaking, hand sewing, crochet, drawing, jewelry making, embroidery, and more recently, weaving. I studied textiles at university; I knew I was in the right place when our first lesson was how to knit. About six years after uni, I found out about this thing called polymer clay. As it turns out, it was love at first roll. The freedom I had to make my own colors, roll my own shapes, and create textures was thrilling.
After a lot of encouragement from friends and some lovely strangers, I decided to open an Etsy shop. My first few sales came slowly, and they were mostly from family. In an effort to promote my shop, I started posting photos of my jewelry on Instagram and attending markets, along with constantly working to improve my technique. One day, a retail store contacted me saying that they wanted to stock my products. That’s when I knew this could be something more. Since then, I’ve gone from working a full-time job to working part time. It seems incredible that I’m paying my bills from what has always been a hobby.
My work is predominantly inspired by textiles, including embroidery, quilting and weaving. I find and collect inspiration on Pinterest, and usually I have a secret board or two filled with visual references for pieces I’m working on. Sometimes one image inspires an entire collection; other times, a combination of images inspires a single piece. When I’ve got the beginnings of an idea, I sit down with a lump of clay and start rolling. I make every bead in my necklaces by hand. The process is lengthy – it involves kneading the clay, mixing my own colors, creating unique shapes, and adding texture – but I love it so much. The satisfaction I get from stringing up a necklace with beads I’ve made is hard to describe.
In the future, I’m hoping Ena & Albert will continue to grow, and that one day I’ll be able to work on it full time. I’ve got lots of new pieces planned for the year, including a range aimed at a younger audience that I’m excited to share. I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality and presentation of my work, and hope to build on that as well.
All photographs by Ena & Albert.