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Designer Laetitia Sorohan's chain mail work has found an appreciative audience

Clare designer’s chainmail earns post in British Museum

AN Ennis-based designer has been chosen to showcase her work at the British Museum, writes Jessica Quinn.
Laetitia Sorohan told The Champion she is “delighted” to have been selected, among other designers, to sell her pieces alongside the “Thomas Becket Murder and the making of a Saint Exhibition” in London.
The exhibition will take place at the British Museum from May 2021 until August 22.
Laetitia is the Irish-based French designer behind the locally-based brand NAIIAD Contemporary Designer Jewellery.
She explained that her pieces were selected for the British Museum because of the link between her designs, which are inspired by chainmail, and the medieval period on which the exhibit is focused.
One of the star objects in the show is an alabaster plaque showing the murder of Thomas Becket, featured on the exhibition posters and book, and has armoured knights wearing what is likely to be chainmail.
A selection of Laetitia’s designs have been chosen by the British Museum combining chainmail with other media such as Murano glass and gemstones.
Both chainmail and Murano Glass were techniques used in medieval times. Chainmail was used to produce armour and today the same technique is used to create jewellery.
“I first came to the attention of the British Museum back in 2019 when I was involved with Showcase Ireland,2 said Laetitia.
“I’ve been working with chainmail for years, mixing it with other techniques. They said they had never seen that approach before and started buying pieces from me.
“The exhibition they are hosting is focused on medieval times and they wanted to have something that would reflect this, the chainmail in my work is linked to that era.
“I’m absolutely delighted that the British Museum has chosen my work to be associated with this exhibition. The British Museum has a worldwide reputation and it is a great opportunity for me to showcase my work.”
Laetitia is originally from the South of France and trained as a silversmith at the AFEDAP Jewellery School in Paris.
She then discovered the art of chainmail, the ancient art of assembling rings one at a time to weave fabric-like patterns with metal.
Laetitia said she “loves exploring the endless creative possibilities” offered by mixing chainmail with traditional silversmithing techniques. She has been living in Ireland for about 17 years, and in Ennis for 11 years.
The selected pieces from NAIIAD Jewellery will be sold in the Grenville shop on the ground floor of the museum, and the exhibition shop (which visitors pass through as they leave the exhibition) and at the British Museum online shop.
Officially launched in 2018 NAIIAD Jewellery is sold worldwide. Laetitia said Covid-19 “very much” affected her business, however she was lucky to have just launched a new website.
She explained that while many of the stores and traditional craft markets closed, she moved much of her business online and worked towards boosting her online presence.
She is thrilled to see retail re-opening, and she hopes that her involvement with the British Museum will boost her local design business even further.
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