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Red Brick

Fabric and jewelry rub elbows in designer Karen Mabon's entertaining artistic vision

by Karen Day in Style on 28 January 2013

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Emphasizing the embellishment side of scarf design, Scottish jewelry-maker Karen Mabon approaches the classic silk accessory like an artist to a canvas, creating statement pieces that are as imaginative as they are stylish. Mabon—who graduated from the RCA in 2011 with a degree in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery Design—peddles her curiously-motifed scarves along with an array of necklaces and brooches under the label Red Brick, which she formed with the intent to produce attractive yet affordable accessories.

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"I like the idea of jewelry and fabric working together to communicate a narrative, so often jewellery pieces are derived from scarf designs," she tells us. While her favorite things to draw are people in uniform, water and cross-sections of fruit, Red Brick designs span single subjects like "Woman Weeping" to labyrinthine patterns like "Robbery in a Sweet Shop." As a jewelry designer not fond of wearing jewelry, Mabon's scarves fulfill the desire to wear something expressive while maintaining an element of comfort.

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Mabon's designs are so uniquely varied, it comes as little surprise when she says she is always thinking of new illustrations. "It's got to the point where I leave the house and everything I see is a potential scarf design," she explains. "When I think of a new idea, it's tempting to just hit the drawing board immediately, but I normally sleep on it and if it's still a great idea in the morning it gets the green light. There's a huge stack of abandoned designs under the sofa in my studio which remind me not to rush ahead with things—who wants a scarf of a guy having an affair on his wife, or an archeological dig? Abort!"

Her irreverent imagination and keen sense of humor are only amplified by her strong artistic vision. The former fashion designer produces Red Brick collections biannually, but is often spontaneously inspired and will sporadically release limited edition designs throughout the year.

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Marbone's designs sell online from the Red Brick shop, as well as from select stockists around the world. Prices vary, but the metal-plated jewelry averages around £20 with scarves around £60 each.

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