Lorica Clarke, founder and maker, Lanai & Co

Lorica started making jewellery as a meditative practice after leaving behind a busy corporate life. Using recycled vinyl records from Ghana, pearls, and Tahitian coral, her beaded creations are pure joy on a string, bursting with every colour of the rainbow.  We were thrilled to have Lorica talk to us about ethical production at Lanai & Co, her creative practice, and life on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Where do you call home?

Bilgola Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Where does the name Lanai & Co come from?

My home is named ‘Mare-Lanai’ meaning house by the sea. ‘Mare’ is a Latin word meaning Sea and ‘Lanai’ is the Hawaiian word for veranda. My studio opens onto our ‘Lanai’ so it seemed like the perfect name for my brand.

Your necklaces are made from an incredibly eclectic range of recycled materials. How do you go about sourcing these and what is your relationship like with these craftsman and suppliers?

I source the beads from suppliers all over the world from the likes of Ghana, The States, Italy, Nepal, India, Hawaii – with the world in lock down I rely on DHL express to zoom these fabulous finds across the seas, but in the past I have always loved seeking out fabulous beaded necklaces from around the world to remind me of my travels. 

Your beautiful beads are sourced from Ghana - have you been there?

That is one country that I am totally intrigued by. While I am stil yet to visit, I appreciate the traditional Ghanaian people’s craftsmanship, their talismanic properties, and the symbolism of their beads. I can’t wait till the skies open up again and I can add it to my bucket list. 

We love your colourful beaded creations? Where do you get inspiration for your divine colour combinations from?

I’m inspired by the great artists of the world, such as Matisse for his brave use of mixing jarring colour; Frida Kahlo for the way she used nature and its never ending combinations that delight and continually surprise; Brett Whitley for his whimsical use of colour and form; Mexican architecture and gardens for the use of colour to create unique and cheerful looks; and Marimekko who brought joy to everyday life with her bold colours and the big clash movement! My mantra every time I design a new piece is to remember to ‘make it fun’.

We are a little in love with Africa at the moment – all the colour is making us feel very inspired and happy. What makes you sublimely happy?

What makes me sublimely happy is playing with all my beautiful beads and absorbing their colour and beauty – they bring me such joy.

You started Lanai & Co in 2019 as an “antidote to corporate life”. How has life changed for you since the move away from the hustle and bustle of a 9-5?

The art of beading is an extremely calming and therapeutic activity, and initially my passion for beading was for just that – to sit quietly and create wearable fun pieces. It’s quite a mediative practice. The brand has taken on a life of its own and now I seem to be busier than ever but as the saying goes ‘if you love what you do you’ll never work another day in your life, so I count myself pretty lucky to do what I love for work.

2020 has seen many businesses (including ours here at Jim & Jane) rethink the way they operate. How is Lanai & Co evolving to adapt to post-Covid world?

With the way the world is now many things have changed from people now working remotely and also buying more online. I initially went underground because suppliers who stocked me were sadly having their own troubles, so I used the time to build out my own website and create new pieces that gave me joy. Confidence is building in retail again, and I’m finding people are still seeking out simple pleasures, and that is where I feel Lanai & co pieces work. To help keep up with the growing popularity of Lanai & co I employ local creative people from the Northern Beaches to fulfil orders.

Negroni, Martini, Margarita, Kombucha or Champagne?

Kombucha all the way !

Favourite designer?

Bassike – I live in it.

Favourite Cookbook?

Ottolenghi Simple – so yummy.

Favourite soundtrack?

Hamilton The Musical – pure genius.

You call Bilgolah home. Where would you take a visitor to show them the best of the Northern Beaches?

I’d take them for a swim at Palm Beach up at Kiddy’s corner where the surf is small and the sun seems to always shine. Then we’d head for a bite to eat at the Boathouse Palm Beach overlooking stunning Pittwater.

Best advice you’ve ever been given.

Keep it simple.

Top 5 people you'd invite to a dinner party

Hahaha ok so I’d love to have Brett Whiteley if he was still alive, oh and Freda Kahlo… I reckon they’d be a hoot together. I’d add Julia Dreyfus along with Jerry Seinfeld into the mix to keep everyone on their toes with their quick wit… and of course my gorgeous husband Andrew. I reckon that would make for a cracker of a dinner party!

Describe Jim & Jane in one word.


Shop the full collection of Lanai & Co here