“The part I like the most about the collection is its meaning, to think of personal protection pieces as small talismans, those that we usually wear well glued to our skin. Whether it is a piece of clothing, an accessory or a piece of jewellery,” - Alfredo Benítez

Alfredo Benítez is the artist behind ABENVAL – a ceramic studio set up in the countryside of Spain. Since he was a child, he has been fascinated by the world of arts constantly drawing, painting and creating. Collaborating with Silk Laundry for our first-ever jewellery range, he shared some behind the scenes of creating our bespoke earrings, brooches and necklace. 

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your work?

I come from a family where craftsmanship and manual work have always been a constant. It has always been in my blood. Through ceramics, I discovered a new stimulus: the possibility of moulding and creating unique decorative pieces with your own hands.

How did you get started in ceramics?

After 20 years in the retail sector, I decided to turn my career around and start planning more sustainable personal and professional life projects. The premise was to recover time to invest in my hobbies, and to be my own "owner".

Like many, the pandemic helped me to reflect on what I really wanted to do with all my life, so I decided to start professionally in this ancient craft.

Creativity has always been one of my fortes and I saw in ceramics the way I wanted to carry out this new purpose. Although I had never tried it before, it turned out to be the turning point in undertaking this new lifestyle.

Is this your first collaboration with a fashion brand? Have you created jewellery before?

Yes, it is the first collaboration. It was something I imagined when I started ABENVAL, to be able to collaborate with other artists. To enjoy the journey and the process of creation. It is always at the precise moment when you don't expect it that an opportunity arises.

This was my first time making a jewellery collection, however coming from working in fashion, I knew essential features and qualities to ensure that the pieces were both functional and aesthetically perfect. For example, weight is something you have to control very closely when you make these kinds of pieces. Ultimately you have to combine aesthetics and comfort.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

Luckily the message was very clear. Silk Laundry’s Creative Director and Founder Katie Kolodinski, made an effort to convey the inspiration for the collection and its meaning. After seeing the graphic work done by artist Miranda Skoczek, it was very clear to me that the collection would have to be based on the symbolism of the Raven and the Wolf.

These small talismans hold a great meaning and are very personal. They were then moulded to become the jewellery collection that Silk Laundry currently debuts. 

How do you feel identified with this collection and this collaboration?

Since I first came in touch with Silk Laundry I found it a paradigm brand for the message it conveys. A beautiful label both inside and out – with values, transparency and consciousness for the planet, as well as attention to detail and social responsibility.

The projects it supports, whether large or small, are always with the aim of making the public think and be involved in projects that strengthen the wider community. As a brand, it offers ephemeral collections without having to enter the globalised fashion circuit.

The union of two brands like Silk Laundry and Abenval is very strong, we share similar points of view on sustainability issues and also place a strong value on the people that make up our brands from employees, suppliers, customers, artists and many more. 

You have strong sustainability values, can you explain to me why it is important to you and some of your practices?

In ceramics, the process begins with thinking about how an item can be utilised, as all the pieces that are not fired can be recycled by mixing them with water. Clay is an interesting material – from its plasticity to its ways of changing from liquid to solid in various states.

In our studio, sustainability is a core principle. For instance, we achieve self-sufficiency in electricity through the use of solar panels. We responsibly dispose of environmentally harmful products, such as clay, and practise responsible water usage to minimise our ecological impact. 

Recycling is already the new way of life, so we are always thinking of how to reuse waste or existing materials. 

What is your favourite part of this collection?

The part I like the most about the collection is its meaning, to think of personal protection pieces as small talismans, those that we usually wear well glued to our skin. Whether it is a piece of clothing, an accessory or a piece of jewellery.

By conveying the meaning of these little treasures, it can inspire dreams and elevate the aspirations of those who wear the jewellery. 

Anything else you’d like to share about creating this collection?

I had the pleasure of developing the display for the jewellery collection in stores. After several samples, we opted for a display that would convey the message of the product and make it desirable.

WRITTEN BY  Silk Laundry