Completedworks turns its reductionist vision to bags

British jewellery and homeware brand Completedworks’ Anna Jewsbury puts handbags under her sculptural lens

Left, Completedworks pearl bag; right, Completedworks founder Anna Jewsbury
Left, Completedworks pearl bag, £695; right, Completedworks founder Anna Jewsbury
(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

A preoccupation with the relationship between form and function meant a move into fashion accessories was perhaps inevitable for London-based jewellery and homeware brand Completedworks. For the past decade, its artistic director Anna Jewsbury has infused ceramics and jewellery with a sculptural sensibility, presenting everything from vases that appear to have been casually scrunched in the hand to offbeat, playfully proportioned earrings. Now, she turns her sharp eye to bags.

Completedworks bag and vases on plinth

Resin handle bag, £615; ‘B101’ vase, £465; ‘B96’ vase, £395, all by Completedworks

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

This fascination with exploring the limits of a material and bringing a malleability to seemingly resistant forms has always inspired Jewsbury. ‘One of the things we’ve always done from the beginning with the jewellery, and also ceramics, has been exploring the movement of fabric and leather; looking at the way leather folds or crumples and knots, which is obviously something very often associated with bags,’ she says. ‘There’s always been a cross-pollination of ideas: behind the scenes, we like to have these ideas that we put aside because they were only relevant to products that we didn’t offer. We kept them for the right moment.’

Completedworks showroom interior

Completedworks’ new boutique in London’s Marylebone features smooth limewashed walls and aluminium shelves

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

Jewsbury, who studied mathematics and philosophy at Oxford University, is interested in bringing creative solutions to problem solving. ‘We’re always trying to create something modern and classic, but with subversive elements to it. We want everything to have a really clear signature and design language,’ she says. 

‘In an argument in maths and philosophy, you don’t want anything to be there that doesn’t need to be. Taking that kind of discipline to creating collections is quite helpful in a way because you can make it quite unfussy if you’re forcing yourself to make sure there’s nothing unnecessary there.’

gold jewellery on surface

Completedworks jewellery

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

It is a reductionist aesthetic that is encompassed not only in the brand’s pieces but also in the newly opened Completedworks boutique in London’s Marylebone, which juxtaposes smooth limewash against aluminium shelving, creating a linear language teasingly at odds with the undulating forms of the jewellery. The opening has neatly coincided with this new direction for Completedworks, a natural evolution that has always characterised Jewsbury’s brand management.

‘The ceramic followed very intuitively from the jewellery, and you could manipulate it in a similar way. Whereas with bags, it’s a completely new world and there are so many more rules, it makes me realise how free, in a way, jewellery and ceramic are. Complicated things have to happen to make a bag seem beautifully simple and effortless, and getting the final appearance to be divorced from that process of how you make it is really key. I was excited by the challenge of it, and I’ve learned a lot from going outside my comfort zones.’

woman wearing jewellery

Anna Jewsbury

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

Jewsbury is once again led by the materials themselves when it comes to the creation of the bags, committing to using only recycled, deadstock or renewable materials in the new styles. She explored cactus leather and a recycled leather mix before settling on bags crafted in deadstock leather from a luxury house, which achieved the natural folds she wanted. 

‘It’s quite nice to be constrained to the material that’s available to you. We don’t want to overproduce, and we’re conscious of that. So to say, okay, we’re doing small runs, means we can be quite reactive and nimble.’

sculptural pearl jewellery

A Completedworks string of pearls

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

Considered details nod to the jewellery, with sculpted handles echoing the sinuous forms of earrings. ‘It felt natural to pull all those more decorative elements from the jewellery and the homeware. So we’ve got the resin handle, which mirrors some of the earrings and homeware and has this nice tactile wonkiness to it, a balance against the more placid element of the leather body itself. We’ve done some custom zip pulls, which could almost be earrings or a pendant. There is also a pearl bow-accented bag, which has a related piece in our new homeware collection. Everything links up really nicely.’ 

Completedworks, 69a Lisson Street, London NW1

This article appears in the September 2023 issue of Wallpaper*, available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

woman wearing jewellery

The Marylebone boutique 

(Image credit: Jacob Lillis)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.