Le Lou Ula Atelier’s Instagram is AZ’s new obsession.
Le Lou Ula Atelier is a brand comprised of handcrafted adornments, accouterments, and abstract visual art; as well as the moniker of independent, multi-disciplinary artist Bramble Lee Pryde. Since its inception in 2013, the Canadian-based design studio has evolved into a comprehensive lifestyle brand – all elements of which are curated, designed and produced by Pryde herself.
For two years during her art education, Pryde spent an equal amount of time in an art studio and a design studio which guided her work to embrace many diverse elements. When she later explored painting, her learned design concepts helped her consider spatial forms, utility of architectural movements like Brutalism in pottery finishes, and functionality and form over decoration for her jewelry.
In the art studio, she uses traditional techniques like lost wax casting and blacksmithing procedures like forging and forming to make gorgeous jewelry and also works on minimalist, abstract landscapes in ink that we’re infatuated with here at AZ. In her artwork, Pryde ascribes to slow design movement and specializes in experimenting within the realm of raw, monochromatic, minimalism.
AZ caught up with this fascinating artist to hear all about her practice.
Art Zealous: Coffee or tea?
Bramble Lee Pryde: Always tea. All the tea. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
AZ: Top art Instagram accounts you follow?
BLP: @thejealouscurator – such a perfect concept; as a curator, she highlights the genius of others’ art, under the premise that she wishes she had thought of it first.
@booooooom – a Canadian culture and art publication that highlights emerging talent.
@impossible_hq – completely inspiring Polaroid and analog photography account.
AZ: Currently reading?
BLP: Women Who Run with Wolves seems to come into my life at different times. Right now, I’m reading it to remind myself to take risks, be guided by my instincts and to not apologize for my voice.
AZ: How did you get started with art?
BLP: My experience has been vast and varied, for sure. I didn’t know where I would finish up, but always knew that art was the only option.
At 18, I immediately started working towards my BFA, but after two years I was questioning what I now identify as the viability of a BFA – it was the ‘90s so everything was veiled in a “why bother” mentality and at the time, I really didn’t think I had anything to say. I didn’t think it was the right time for me to be an artist. I switched gears and pursued Design and Formation. After graduation, I spent several years traveling and while in South Asia, I discovered the vital role of adornment in stories and realized what people portray about their culture and its significance. This understanding and my travels led me to Australia, where I further specialized my skills by earning my diploma in Metalsmithing from TAFE, Perth.
When I returned to Canada, I took an abrupt turn into a corporate job in the fashion industry where I climbed my way through contracts and promotions, while strengthening my business acumen along the way. In 2013, after ten years and 13 positions in four cities, I left the company to start my own business and put my diverse skill set to good use.
For the past four years, I developed three channels for my art and design: Wolf & Sadie (metalsmithing/jewelry), Le Lou Ula (functional vessels/homewares) and Bramble Lee Pryde (photography/painting). After auditing my brands and artwork, it was suggested that because of the defined and specific aesthetic seen in all my practices, that I should house everything under one name. So earlier this year I took some time to rebrand everything to be under the studio name Le Lou Ula Atelier.
AZ: Tell us about how you learned to merge the design disciplines of spatial formation and communication design by bridging architecture, industrial and graphic design?
BLP: Choosing to take Design and Formation was the best idea for me at a time when I was so uncertain about art. It also took the pretentiousness of fine art away for me, which was something I struggled being a part of; it helped me not care if I was considered or labeled an artist. Continually hearing the notion that something isn’t considered art because it serves a purpose or functionality was – and still is – disappointing, so to spend time exploring why architecture, graphic design, & industrial design are all art forms has helped me challenge that perception in my work as jewelry designer/metalsmith and potter/sculptor.
AZ: In your art, you explore abstracted landscapes created in ink – they’re gorgeous! Please elaborate on creative process and inspiration behind those pieces.
BLP: Thank you so much! The inspiration for Passages is rooted in the perception of then and the reality of now; how we remember our childhood as an adult and then reliving it and seeing the reality of it. That’s where the starkness and muted palette comes into play. The images are more like dreamscapes, with that hazy feeling of how you remember moments from your past. As a kid, my father would take my brother and me to the prairies to visit and connect with his side of the family. Last year we made the same journey, under more difficult circumstances, and what resonated with me was the nostalgia of seeing the road from the back window of the car as a kid and how the landscape relates and connected to my life at that moment 25 years later.
When I consider collections or bodies of work, I am drawn to words with double meanings where both definitions relate to the concepts I’m working through. For me, Passages was about returning to these familiar landscapes physically, but it also paralleled the passage of working through some intense emotions of grief and letting go and having the space to pass through it.
AZ: Nature seems to be a recurring theme in your Passages collection. Why is that?
BLP: Passages started as a photography series as at the time I was working on a body of photography work called In the Valley. I live at the northern tip of the Sonora Desert in Canada, where a three-hour drive west would land you in a rainforest on the ocean, and three hours east would put you in the high mountain range of the Rockies. While it’s an area that is popularly photographed, there is little imagery showing beauty in the harshness of the valley landscape after the damage and erosion of the elements like wildfire and now flooding.
Spending time in my surroundings and documenting it is calming connection for me. After reviewing the photos from our Passages trip, I wanted to strip down and pull out the most defining aspects each landscape by modifying it to its simplest form, while maintaining the impact of reference and maintaining the feel of nature through composition and colour choice.
AZ: Tell us about Le Lou Ula Atelier.
BLP: Le Lou Ula Atelier is a multi-faceted brand of surroundings comprising demi-fine handcrafted adornments, accouterments and vessels for rituals, and abstract visual art. It’s a space that allows me to explore and transition from medium to medium. My current mediums of choice are gold, silver and dirt and really anything that has a long history, using archetypal techniques.
AZ: How are art and jewelry connected?
BLP: I think jewelry can be just as contextual as art, and I find that art is largely about process. My jewelry collections start just like any body of work, with a point of inspiration followed by research, studies/prototypes, and storytelling – it’s just a matter of choosing my method of creation.
I’m drawn to multi-faceted artists like Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Alexander Calder and Joan Miró. Calder was a painter, sculptor and created over 2,000 pieces of jewelry. Miró, a painter, also created ceramics and Taeuber-Arp was successful at amalgamating applied and fine arts.
AZ: What piece of jewelry categorizes your personality?
BLP: I would say my personality is like our Ibis Ear Climber. It’s a simple statement and alternative to what is typically offered as an earring. It stands alone as you only wear one. It speaks to my lone wolf mentality.
AZ: You’ve collaborated with photographers and designers globally – what has been your favorite collaboration so far?
BLP: All have been a fave. Truly. The most recent one with the Opera Kelowna Society was probably the most challenging for me, to bring my work into a completely different genre and make it work was wild. I created masks from wire that looked like blind contour drawings for the models to peer through while walking the room to this brilliant soundtrack of opera mixed with dark sampling – it was intense and otherworldly.
AZ: Currently working on?
BLP: Currently I’m working on several large-scale abstract landscapes for a contemporary pop-up art gallery, Palace of Manufactures. Also, I have been working on my online portfolio of solely art and photography. I anticipate having the shop part open this summer.
AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
BLP: I’m relocating to a new province this summer, so I will be creating a new studio space and acclimating to the new art community.
Work-wise, I’m in the planning stages of a few of collaborations: one with a team of artists in LA, another with a photographer in Spain, and a photo series with a writer/musician in Chicago.
all images // courtesy of artist