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Friday, 1 May 2015

Meet the designer: Rodology

This month we took some time out to chat with the uber creative Roderick Barker-Benfield (AKA Rodology).  With an eye for detail, Roderick produces really beautiful and unique pieces of vintage jewellery & cufflinks.  All handmade in Roderick's London studio.  His current upcycled collection has been made using vintage watch movements, with a steampunk twist.  The intricate pendants and the timeless style in which they are presented, make each piece in Rodology's collection incredibly special.  

Needless to say, we thought it was high time we find out a little more about the man behind the brand and what makes him 'tick' (see what we did there?!).  As if that wasn't enough Roderick is offering our lucky readers 20% off exclusive to The Lost Lanes for one month only! 

Who is Rodology?

Rodology is me!  Roderick ‘Rod’ Barker-Benfield – a London based designer maker who uses bits and bobs he finds on his travels round some of London’s secret spots to create unique pieces of jewellery and accessories.  My current collection is all about time and uses vintage watch movements as the basis for every piece.  When I'm not huddled over an old watch with a pair of pliers, you’ll find me taking photographs of London’s people & places or exploring its back streets on my scooter!

Where are you based?

I'm in Brixton, South London at the moment, but I'm shortly to be moving east to Hackney.  It’s an incredibly vibrant and creative area with a real eclectic mix of people.  Working by yourself can be tough sometimes so living in an area where the locals are friendly, down to earth and keen to see you succeed is a real bonus.  (That and there’s some good local beers too!)  I'm looking forward to it.

What inspired you to start your business?

It was a happy accident really.  A friend of mine had commissioned me to make a small piece of sculpture for him using old computer parts.  At the time I thought some extra bits of machinery would look quite good so went about trying to source some small pocket watch cogs.  What I actually came across was a very small, but beautifully formed watch movement.  I don’t think I’d ever seen anything so intricate and detailed before.  So much so that my commission was temporarily forgotten as I tried to figure out a way to attach it to a silver chain so it could be worn as a pendant.  It worked and Rodology was born overnight!  Since then I've been learning how to work with silver and other precious metals as well as designing a new collection based upon time and the Universe.  Pardon the pun, but watch this space!
Where do you source all your pieces?

The watch movements I use come from all over the place.  Jewellers, watchmakers, flea markets, down the back of the sofa – you name it, I've probably tried to source parts from it.  One of the great things about using vintage items is that each one of them is different.  Obviously I match similar ones to create cufflinks, but with so many watchmakers in the 19th and 20th centuries the variety of stuff I find is huge.  That’s not to say they’re always easy to come by mind.  I occasionally go through shortages as there’s a limited supply out there, but that adds to the challenge.  It also makes for some really unique pieces!

Describe your workspace...

It all depends on what I'm doing.  If I'm working on the website or packaging up an order ready to send out then it’s relatively organised.  If I'm designing, making or generally ‘creating’ however then all hell breaks loose as one idea will lead to another and I'm usually in a mad rush to get something produced before I forget it.  Regardless of which ‘mode’ I'm in though I normally have a cup of tea on the go as well as some music in the background to help me concentrate.  I love a good dramatic film score to help focus the attention!

If you could design one piece of jewellery/cufflinks for absolutely anyone, what would it be and 
who would it be for?

I’d have to say fashion designer Tom Ford.  Always found wearing a suit and with very high-end 
accessories to match, I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back and there’s no denying he’s 
an incredibly well dressed man.  Generally speaking I think men are harder to design for than women 
as we rarely wear jewellery.  There are a few ‘go to’ accessories of course such as an expensive 
watch or a dapper looking bow tie, but a lot of these are not everyday items so have to be fairly 
special to catch our attention.  I think Tom would like the cufflinks in my new collection.  Perhaps I 
should send him a pair to see what he thinks!

What is your favourite item from The Lost Lanes?

There is such an amazing array of designers and products that it’s incredibly hard to choose just one.  I love the mechanics in the upcycled bike chain jewellery by Katie’s Bikes as much as I love the cheeky ‘Day of the Dead’ inspired mosaics by Juan is Dead and the vintage feel to the bow ties by Beau Tie.  But if I have to have one favourite then it has to be the No. 29 Mens Steel Case Watch with Blue Accents by the Camden Watch Company.  It’s a stunning piece of craftsmanship and quite reasonably priced too.  Though seeing as I currently make a living taking watches apart I’d have to be quite careful with it!


Click here to view Rodology's entire vintage watch movement collection, and remember if you want to own your very own unique piece handmade entirely for you, we have an exclusive 20% off this month only! 

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