Made With Purpose. Allowed To Age.

Behind The Designer; Lyell Watson

'The two great unknowns...'
‘Two Worlds’, by Lyell Watson



What do you currently do for a living/study?

I am currently the Marketing and Content Coordinator for Jendamark, in South Africa.


Outside of COVID times, what else do you get up to?

I love to keep busy - so working on the farm, surfing, diving, fishing - if it's in the ocean or workshop - either way I’m happy! I started ByWatson during COVID - being freshly retrenched - it gave me the much needed downtime I needed to focus on something I have been passionate about for a long time. I started off by collecting the recycled & used wooden coffee stirrers from our local cafés and using glue and concept to create recycled wooden rings which people loved! This is what drove me to keep designing!

What was your favourite design (aside from your own, obviously) and who did you think would win?

This is a really tough question because - for me, there were SO many incredible designs. Concepts that were just epic! Choosing one - I would have to say that my favourite was “Bite me” by Emma Ramm – freakin’ loved that design. As for the win - I was stuck between Small world and Half-life as both were solid and well-designed concepts!


Let us know another brand that you follow on IG that our followers should check out...

I am obsessed with Juan Luis Zubizarreta’s work @spanishlordoftherings !! Definitely would recommend people give him a follow!


Tell us why you decided to enter the Crooked Howlet Design Competition, and how you found out about it?

A friend of mine introduced me to CHD some time back and I’ve been obsessed with the work ever since. I would get a notification whenever the page would update, so  when the competition came up I decided just to try, not thinking much would come of it - but what a cool platform to design something - especially with no limits. I honestly didn’t even think I would make the Top 50 - let alone become a Runner Up!


Talk to us about your design background, are you self-taught or gone to art school, etc?

I was raised in a family of traditional artists - but I was the only one interested more so in Digital Art & Design. No one taught me how to draw or how to conceptualize art - but I loved it and would often spend hours on Pinterest following pages for inspiration! I  started designing tattoos in high school and would often be asked to draw the competition T-Shirt Designs for local surf comps. I’ve always had a love for design and art and during 2017 - an opportunity came up and I was lucky enough to take up a position as the new Graphic Designer for GSM Trading SA (Billabong / Element / Von Zipper etc). I spent a couple of years there before moving to where I am now and haven’t looked back.

What inspired your design? Talk us through the concept and the process from start to finish.

Being very ocean and sea orientated, I'm often down at the beach doing something - be it surfing / diving - whatever. I even have a bell diver tattoo that I based my design off. I have ALWAYS been drawn to Bell Divers but - in the same breath i've also always had a fascination with the stars! So it was a no-brainer for me to take these two concepts and merge them in a kind of a ‘ying and yang’ sense. They are the two biggest unknowns of our world. Essentially two whole entire worlds of their own. They both hold so much beauty and fear, and I think that's really beautiful.

I started with designing each helmet to see if it would work as initially I wasn’t sure if they would - but they seemed to gel so I then just ran with it. It was such a fluid design process from start to finish, the final design submitted was basically the first version I drew up.


What does it mean to you to be Runner Up in this competition?

It honestly means the world, the amount of support from friends and strangers that showed up for my design shows me that I could be on the right track and that I could do it. A big validation for me.


What is next for you?

I would love to keep designing rings and jewellery and hopefully get enough capital and knowledge to grow my own company – it is a massive dream of mine to make quality jewellery that people love.



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