By Kylie Francis on February 24th, 2021
“We didn't realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” ~ Winnie the Pooh.
When Aisha, Alia and I first met Lorraine Lee over Zoom last year, we immediately sensed a kindred spirit. Beneath her beaming smile and warm personality is a woman of great fortitude; someone who channeled uncertainties about the future into sculpting architectural earrings that are as exuberant as their maker.
The seed for Talee Studio was planted while Lorraine was studying Art and Architecture in Calgary ten years ago. Her father suffered from a hypoxic brain injury that resulted in short-term memory loss, and knot-tying was prescribed as a form of cognitive therapy for the boating enthusiast and former boy scout. It became a shared hobby for father and daughter, and a creative outlet for Lorraine. When Lorraine lost her job due to the economic downturn in Calgary, she turned her passion project into Talee Studio in 2017.
As someone who lost her own father two months ago, designing this collection with Lorraine and my “Dia sisters”, as she calls us, has not only been a welcome distraction, but a meaningful one. Aisha, Alia and I revisited our fondest memories of Malaysia, and chose colors that represent the backdrop for those memories — the verdant, tropical landscape, the sweet-smelling earth after a theatrical thunderstorm and the pink hue of the sky at dawn or dusk.
Lorraine took that inspiration and transformed it into a breathtaking array of six earrings: the Cerak Knot in Rust and Wheat, the Hati Knot in Salmon and Pine, the Hati Loop in Pearl and Sky, the Kupu Loop in Gold and Lavender, the Rama Loop in Salmon and Hunter, and the Rusa Knot in Hunter and Red Earth.
Our photoshoot was small and intimate. My brother, Mark, was our photographer, our intern, Su Fey, was our videographer/production assistant, and the Dia co-founders modelled. As we walked out into the sunshine after the shoot, buoyed by the beautiful items in this meaningful collaboration, we were reminded again how grateful and privileged we were to be collaborating with artisans while spending time with our best friends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kylie is Dia’s co-founder based in New York City. Hailing from a family of journalists and writers, Kylie grew up with a passion for stories and a curiosity about the world. This has led her to travel extensively across the globe and she has lived in Malaysia, Zimbabwe and the United States. Kylie graduated with a Bachelor’s in Government from Harvard University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.