In 2018, a gorgeous woman named Nicole Pearson entered (and won!) our Be The Designer Competition. Nicole dreamed up, designed and sketched her PERFECT Ruby Olive Necklace creation.
**Some of the production trials we went through. These trials were purely to get the construction, shape, quality and fit right, we had not yet focused on colour placement**
What we didn't know, was that Nicole was facing her own struggle during this process too. However, hers was with Cancer.
Devastatingly, Nicole passed away before she could see her dream creation become a reality.
Nicole's sister, Lisa, messaged to tell us the news and we were instantly heartbroken. We knew how much winning this competition meant to Nicole, and it made us even more determined to create something beautiful in her honour. With the amazing support and guidance of Lisa, we used Nicole's design and developed a brooch and earrings instead of her original necklace.
$5 FROM EACH PINWHEEL SOLD WILL BE DONATED TO THE KOLLING INSTITUTE
Lisa has chosen The Kolling Institute as the charity for these pieces to honour Nicole and her research (as this is where she worked). Outside of her creative pursuits, Nicole was a scientist with a PHD in biochemistry and underwent various research projects on varying types of Cancer. The Kolling Institute do amazing work in multiple disciplines of Medical Research.
We asked Lisa to help tell us a bit more about Nicole. We'd love to take a moment to celebrate Nicole, the amazing things she achieved in her life, and the things she did for others.
"My sister Nicole was our very own Audrey Hepburn, she was strong, gentle, accomplished, dainty in stature and had great fashion sense. She absolutely loved everything about art, colour, being creative and experimenting with different mediums. It was her happy place and a shared love of ours that we constantly discussed; our different art projects and inspiring each other to try new techniques.
Not only did Nicole live a creative life, but she also had an analytical problem-solving side as a scientist with a PHD in biochemistry. Nicole underwent research projects on varying types of cancer including publishing numerous research papers in collaboration with other overseas universities. She had an infectious laugh, she loved being silly and I never saw her angry at anyone.
Nicole was a loving mum to her little boy, she was a devoted Christian and a quiet achiever who just loved life. I really wanted to design jewellery and enter the RO competition, but sometimes my perfectionist nature gets in the way. Instead, I suggested that Nicole enter. It was a great memory for us to be able to inspire each other to design jewellery and something I knew she would excel in as she creates so many designs with little effort. I lived my dream through her.
Sadly my sister passed away last May (2019) of cancer, an irony which I still find hard to deal with. She was courageous and strong throughout her whole journey; even creating a series of artworks in hospital while unwell. Her love of colour shows in the Pinwheel pieces - they are wearable artworks and really show how great her art is."
L: During my art days at School, one of my favourite artists was Matisse. One of my favourite photographs of Nicole and myself is of us standing in front of a Matisse painting taken in the Louvre. We spent our time in Paris admiring all of the famous artworks we had grown to love.
RO: Why is the Pinwheel shape special to you?
L: The shape of a pinwheel signifies (to me) my sister's never-ending cycle of her journey in exploring art and colour. I know the finished product is only part of her original design, but I'm sure she would hope that wearing these pieces will make people happy and enjoy her love of colour too.
RO: Why have you chosen The Kolling Institute as the charity for Nicole's Pinwheels?
L: Nicole was all about working hard in cancer research at The Kolling Institute and I believe this will keep others like her in work and doing what they do best - life saving research - instead of having to focus on endlessly funding submissions to keep themselves afloat.
It is very bittersweet to announce the launch of Matisse Pinwheels By Nicole, but we are so thrilled to bring the essence and colours of Nicole's design to life. Wear your Pinwheels proudly knowing you are celebrating an incredible woman, and flying the flag of her stunning art. Shop the Pinwheels and help support the Kolling Institute HERE.
Read more about Nicole's amazing research with the Kolling Institute here.