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Designer Spotlight: CJ O'Neill

Reacting against our throwaway lifestyle, CJ O’Neill rejuvenates discarded objects (plates, in this case), creating unique pieces, adding to their stories, rekindling old memories and creating new ones, all while encouraging re-use of materials in innovative ways. This series of pieces (“Feeding Desire”, below and “Heart”, beneath that) draws inspiration from the cities of New York, Vancouver, Manchester and London for the patterns and quotations cut and marked on the pieces. The words are open to interpretation, and, depending on the context, can mean something different to just about everyone. We love the combination of green materials and thoughtful, artful process that creates something meaningful and unique.

Says O’Neill, “My fascination with pattern has been important from an early age — an interest in hidden meanings, layers and secrets allows me to explore various trains of thought. Aesthetically, the work appeals with simple, familiar forms, and layers of pattern merging — beyond the aesthetics lies references to my influences and thoughts. A feeling of calm, a quiet nostalgia, a sense of contemplation and thoughtfulness; these are all important to my work.”

“New Heirlooms,” (below) the new collection of her work, might be the most perfectly named collection of dishware we’ve ever seen. As with her other work, it’s recycled from old dishes (heirlooms, you might say, for some people), given a second life with a stenciled splash of color (making them “new”); it’s then passed along to a new home, making them “new heirlooms” for its new owner. Brilliant; of course, it’s always better to reuse and renew than use virgin materials, so the pieces definitely earn their green cred. We love the way she uses colors and matches them with the old patterns; her work is meant to continue the story of functional objects, and the new dishware “rekindles old memories and creates new ones”. Find your new heirloom at CJ’s website [www.cjoneill.co.uk].