interview with lili murphy-johnson
Inspiring young jewellery designer Lili Murphy-Johnson has created a stir with the unveiling of her first collection of pieces. Why, you ask? Because Lili’s jewellery is designed to reduce the stigma of menstruation by presenting itself as a no holds-barred collection of works that imitate the real-life stains and emotions that are involved in menstruation.
Bridget Conway had a chat with the British designer about the inspiration behind her unique collection.
First could you tell us a bit about where you grew up and what you studied/are studying?
I grew up in London, I lived in New York for high school when I was 16 years old till 18. I moved back to London to study at Central Saint Martins Foundation year in art and design, and then carried on at Central Saint Martins on their BA Jewellery Design course. I graduated earlier this year.
What about jewellery design inspires you the most?
I have always been really interested in the human body, and have always really liked making things, I like that jewellery design is making objects and art that is worn by people. I find it inspiring that people enjoy wearing jewellery, that it can change the way the feel and behave.
What prompted you to create your pieces that are inspired by menstruation?
When I was working on my final collection at university, my own PMS was the initial inspiration for the project, I was finding the irritability and anxiety before my period to hold my design process back so I decided to replicate the way I was feeling into jewellery to get my project started.
How do you feel your jewellery reduces the stigma of menstruation?
I think having menstruation out in the open gives people an excuse to talk about periods, if someone wears one of my pieces and can feel proud of menstruation in some way, it all helps to reduce the stigma.
What challenges have you come across in the creation of these pieces?
There were quite a lot of technical challenges, a lot of the processes I used I learnt whilst making the pieces. Etching the ‘carefree’ pattern onto the panty liner cuff was very difficult to get as I wanted it. I also founded it difficult to edit down the collection so it was coherent and made sense, my research into periods went all over the place and it took a while to figure out what it was about menstruation I wanted to show.
Why is feminism important to you?
Who do you hope will wear the pieces and what do you want them to feel when they do?
I hope anyone that would like to celebrate menstruation would want to wear them, I hope they would feel like they were embracing a part of the female body that is usually hidden.
What are your plans for the future of this collection/your career as a designer?
For this collection I am carrying on designing different pieces about menstruation, using classical jewellery making techniques and materials.
Could you add anything else about where we can purchase the pieces or about how we can learn more about you?
I am currently setting up a shop on my website www.lili-mj.com, and there is information about my collection and past work on there too. If anyone would like to purchase or commission any work they can email me at [email protected]!