Liz Ickiewicz October 24 2016

The life of contemporary women is complex, multifaceted, sometimes challenging, sometimes overwhelming yet also brimming with opportunity. We ask some of our most treasured Chorus clients to share insights into how they juggle professional, personal and sartorial life.

This month we feature Liz Ickiewicz - Chorus friend and customer, jewellery designer and mother to two young and very energetic sons. Liz works with precious metals, gemstones and a range of other materials to create original wearable pieces, creating both collections and taking commissions from clients. We visited Liz at her home and studio in Brunswick, Melbourne.

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You’re a mother, a maker and a small business owner, what is the biggest challenge and biggest joy of this unique path?
The biggest challenge is time and lack of it! The past few years have been a super busy time with two very active little boys. But I really love making jewellery, so although finding the time is difficult, it is greatly rewarding and its brings me so much joy to see my designs out and about being loved and worn. I feel very lucky that I have found something I enjoy so much and that I can work from home around being a mum.

Can you talk us through an average day?
I’m usually up early for a run around Princes Park, then back home to the mad house. The boys and I will then head out to the park or the Melbourne Zoo with friends in the morning. We’ll be home for lunch, and after that I can normally squeeze in about an hour at the bench while little people are resting. At the moment the afternoon is usually spent talking about dinosaurs, building snake cities or playing hide and seek. The boys are fed, bathed and in bed by 7pm, which is when my husband and I will sit down for dinner. Then I head back to my jewellery bench or get on the computer, before heading to bed around 10pm.

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How did you come into this line of work?
I have always been obsessed with fashion, and jewellery in particular. As a child I used to spend hours crafting up a storm. I studied graphic design at university and started working at an advertising agency but my heart wasn’t in it, and I was always keeping my eye out for jobs in the fashion industry. I worked for a few years as a textile designer for a fashion wholesaler, and then got a job working as a jewellery designer for an iconic Australian accessories company which was really a dream job for me. I learnt so much there! At that point I decided to follow a long-time dream of mine and enrolled in a gold and silver smithing course. I finished my study just prior to the birth of my first son and since then have been working from home designing and making my own small ranges.

Where do you find yourself working of a daily basis?
I love my little corner of the house and if I’m not at the bench, I’m set up at the kitchen table with the computer and a cup of tea.

When are you most productive?
I’m sure this is true for all mums of young children, but I never knew how much I could get done in an hour until I had babies! In the middle of the day when the boys are resting I am super productive.

Can you reflect on particular habits in the daily way you dress?
I’m all about the accessories, bright colours and bold prints. I have always gravitated to simple silhouettes. Motherhood has had a big impact on my wardrobe, and practicality now plays a far bigger role in my outfit choices. But I still like trying new things and having a bit of fun with my outfits.

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How do you usually buy your clothes?
These days my biggest exposure to clothes is online. If something catches my eye I will investigate, do a bit of research online. I really love to try things on so I will track down a stockist to see how the garment looks on my body shape. When purchasing I’m terribly indecisive, but what gets me over the line is normally a unique detail or a really special print, ease of wear and comfort.

Do you have any sartorial memories that have stayed with you?
As a kid I remember visiting my grandmother’s house and going through her beautiful Chinese antique jewellery box, trying on and inspecting every item carefully. That jewellery box, along with some of its original contents, is amongst my most treasured possessions.

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What insights would you share with other women?
Being a mum and trying to run a business is hard work! Cut yourself a break, there is plenty of time to expand and grow, so be realistic with what you aim to achieve.

Do you have a favourite ritual to facilitate rest?
No, but I think I need to get one of those!

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Liz wears pieces from our October Monthly Edition which are currently available to order. View and try on samples at Milly Sleeping in Carlton, or contact us and we'll send you out a custom Chorus measuring tape so you can measure yourself and have your piece made to fit you perfectly. 

Photographs by Rob Bain Photogrphy