Kreamondo > Blog > TIKI Brighton – The plastic, it’s (still sometimes) fantastic!


28 January 2022

TIKI Brighton – The plastic, it’s (still sometimes) fantastic!

Resin jewelry with geometric patterns, a vintage aesthetic reminiscent of different eras and especially the rockabilly years, that’s TIKI Brighton! Interview in Brighton with its creator Cécile Gilbert!

Kreamondo : Why TIKI ?

Cécile Gilbert : It’s clearly a nod to the Tiki style of the 50s. Tiki is associated to New Zealand, Bakelite jewelry, the rockabilly years! My inspiration is intimately related to the ancient Bakelite. Then, I wanted a brand name you could pronounce in all languages, a name that could represent my work. In the 50s, there were Tiki bars and clubs, it was the time when faux ivory jewelry and faux bamboo decorations were trendy.

It’s been 10 years since you launched your brand, could you go back to the start of this adventure ? 

In England, it’s quite easy to try different jobs, activities, to be a “jack of all trades”. I’ve always had an interest in old stuff and plastic, that’s why I took evening classes to learn how to work with liquid plastic and to experiment with this material. I wanted to recreate Bakelite bracelets. I followed this training 3 times and I learned to create my masters and moulds , to cast and finish pieces… Then I got pregnant and I had to stop. This material remains quite toxic when handled. As I couldn’t use resin for a while, I started making jewelry with old vinyl records. My husband and I were DJs so we had lots of records at home! I finally launched my brand in 2012 and produced unique resin pieces mixed with Sterling silver. My jewelry is contemporary but remains a vintage look.

Why did you choose this material, polyester resin?

It might come from childhood, I was born in the 70s and at the time plastic was something different from today… When I see plastic objects from those years, I have a kind of nostalgia and love for these plastic objects. When I was young, in our apartment, we had a big plastic lamp and a formica table in our dining room. It was quite an aesthetic!

Création de TIKI Brighton

Plastic items ©Cécile Gilbert

Isn’t the choice of this material a bit backwards ? Today, the plastic is mainly associated with pollution and very rarely with an aesthetic.

Originally, plastic was a tough material, that was made to last. However, with production and consumption which have become even more massive, the quality of plastic has suffered and has become less resistant  and is no longer associated with sustainability, quite the contrary. It is capitalist greed that has contributed to the decline of this material. Before there was a certain aesthetic, it was a material associated with design.

Today, most plastic has quite a bad reputation and its quality is often very poor… The reputation associated with plastic and its quality is the opposite of my jewelry. My pieces are very resistant and my jewels are pieces for life, timeless, they are there to go through trends. My pieces offer a look adaptable to different styles. The resin I use is a quality one.

When you touch my jewelry, you can feel that it is handmade. Each piece is unique. My pieces are very tactile and warm to the touch. Each piece is unique in it shape, its irregular lines…

création de TIKI Brighton

Jewels made by Tiki ©Cécile Gilbert

What does Brighton bring you in terms of inspiration?

Brighton is an amazing place. It’s a city but feels like a large village by the sea with a lot of culture and a great artistic life! It’s full of artists and makers. Each year, Brighton has a 3-week artist festival, inspired by the one held in San Francisco. The inhabitants of Brighton open their homes and organize their house as an exhibition space by inviting artists. It’s a fabulous event, which gives opportunity to artists and makers to show their work.

Brighton ©Cécile Gilbert



Brighton Village ©Elle

Brighton is also associated with the cultural and musical scene of Mods and Rockers and their confrontation. Especially during these famous fights on Brighton beach which had made people talk about them!

Is there any connexion between your creations and the music you are listening to ?  

The aesthetics of record covers probably influences me more than the music itself !

How do you work ? 

My workshop is a scruffy little lean-to at the back of our house.. We live very close to The South Downs, so I take the opportunity to walk there first thing in the morning. Then I can start my day casting, sanding, making !

Tiki workshop ©Cécile Gilbert

What are your new projects ? 

I’m working on new pieces. I want to do bigger pieces. I will be exhibiting soon in a nice area of London at Highgate and in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where I will be able to present around twenty pieces from April to October. Currently I have some work at Charleston House, The house belonged to Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf’s sister, who was a painter and interior designer. The house is quite incredible, completely painted and decorated. The Bloomsbury Group, this group of British intellectuals and artists from the beginning of the 20th century, lived and created in this cottage in the middle of nowhere. They were like the hippies before the hippies.

Charleston house has become a museum and I am delighted to have been selected to be exhibited in the shop of this museum!

Portrait of Cécile Gilbert ©Cécile Gilbert

Find more about Tiki Brighton’s creations on Kreamondo !

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