leonie cornelius

wild authentic earth

Golden GOALs

Collaboration. What better way than working with other people to get ideas and creativity flowing? In the past ten years of running my own business I have worked with many people across numerous genres- ceramics, furniture, accessories, interiors and of course gardens. I truly think that every time you collaborate with someone, something unique happens. Something more than the sum of the parts and the people involved. The collaboration for this project is a perfect example.


This meeting of minds starts almost twenty years ago, with a young me searching for her next chapter in life. I had just given up on a course in music management and was looking for ‘that thing’ that would give me direction. Who was I? Where did I want to go? What is my path in life? It was around time that when I first met Martina Hamilton. A successful jewel maker, creative and inspiring, Martina embodied everything I admired in a successful, career woman. Young, glamorous and running her own jewellery and design shop with a team of lovely people. Working in Martina’s business over the next few years were some of the most formative of my life.

Surrounded by Irish art and beautiful jewellery and working amongst the many creatives in the shop and the workshop, I soaked up the creativity and energy of the space. When I went back to college to study Architecture,  this creative and collaborative team energy here was something which stayed with me and to this day, have never forgotten.

In my own business over the years I have carried this with me too, always appreciating the value of a team, of working with other people and how a collaborative energy can drive a project forward like nothing else.

As the years went on and my business became better known, I became busier and busier. Working on my own most of the time,  meant that collaboration was always vital. To keep ideas fresh, to be social, to connect. And as my business grew, and I became busier, I made sure to work on many collaborative projects, from smaller gardens and interesting partners in art and creativity  to large scale co-orporate ambassador work and television shows, collaboration always made me feel connected and part of a greater whole.

Last year, I had just completed the busiest, and most successful year of work for my business.  The television show, work travel, endless design jobs both commercial and private, and weekly deadlines for writing and I realised that I was exhausted.  Sitting on my patio one evening I found myself thinking Where am I really going with this?  I was drained, feeling directionless and was craving for more of a home-life balance.

So I decided to take a bit of time to re-evalate. I had no idea how scary it would be- this deciding to do less for a while!


With a head less full of busy-ness, and admittedly less money in my pocket,  I started thinking about who I wanted to work with again. Those projects I dreamed about before I got too busy, when I had the luxury of time and asking people I admired and respected to collaborate.

The GOAL charity was one of these. A charity I have long admired and who I first met at Bloom in the Park years ago. I had even sent them an email at the time expressing my interest and had received an enthusiastic response to working together. And then? Well-life took over again.

Now finally, I had some time to re-evaluate and something really interesting started happening.

Projects which I had wanted to work on started finding me. By saying no to a few jobs which I had all said yes to previously, I opened the door for deign jobs which truly inspired me. It also opened the door to fresh collaboration.

The first in many was my ambassador work for Martina Hamilton. This very person who gave me the gift of dreaming of my own business came to me and asked me to do a series of creative shoots with her for her new jewellery ranges as her ambassador. I was absolutely delighted and the day we spent shooting on the beach with Peter Martin was a magical day by Dernish island, the one day of full sunshine in a month of rain.






Soon after this, my agent called me and asked me if I wanted to do some work for the GOAL charity. Not knowing of my emails to them previously, she had introduced us again to work together and do something  special. I of course, jumped at the chance and marvelled at how when you leave leave a little space in your life, ideas come to fruition themselves.

The  GOAL ‘What on Earth’ Project was the first project which I decided to work on for GOAL.  While brainstorming, I soon  realised this was a perfect opportunity to work on something really special not only for GOAL, but also with Martina. Creating this globe together felt like such a natural fit for this and having known each other for a long time, it was fascinating to see how many  common threads there are in our approaches as designers.

Golden collaboration

To create something really special we enlisted the help of Maureen Quinn, a specialist in gold leafing techniques, and working together with her was fascinating. From small tips on how to cheat small areas of gold onto an area, to learning about all the different techniques, collaboration really does broaden your mind.

Colin Gillen was another person who jumped on board to create the imagery for this project, a talented photographer and someone I work with on a regular basis for my own writing, Colin captured the spirit and fun of the process so beautifully. The official video for the Precious Matter project was also created by Colin Gillen and uses the beautiful song ‘The cloths of Heaven’ -a gorgeous tune using the words of WB Yeats and composed by John Kavanagh, which I had the pleasure of singing the vocals for.

Collaboration has no genres, no boundaries and no rules, it is truly is a fascinating thing based on human connectedness and common goals.  It brings us together as people, allows us to connect on many levels and I truly believe,

‘Every time we collaborate something magical happens’



GOAL ‘What on Earth’ Project

‘Precious Matter’

The globe, which is gold leafed in 23.5 carat yellow gold is entitles ‘Precious Matter’ and aims to highlight the precious nature of our world. We custom designed thirteen sterling silver daisies were which ‘grow’ out of the globe where the GOAL charity works. 

Choosing a concept was not easy but we both agreed that it would need to include references to both of our work in some form. Considering Martina’s beautiful jewellery, many of which many of which is stocked by Ireland’s most exclusive retailers, it is no wonder that gold and silver made their way into the design.

I found it hard to choose one flower, I just wanted to include them all but we wanted one particular flower that had real relevance to the project. After a lot of research we realised that the daisy -Bellis perennis- is the one flower which grows everywhere in the world except the Antarctic! We chose it as it is a symbol of hope, growth and purity and in this context it became a uniting symbol for all people worldwide and the ethical and moral responsibilities we share for each other.

The result is a striking precious golden globe which sprouts sterling silver blooms in the places where GOAL work.

We wanted to put a little bit of us into this globe-the precious jewellery angle, the plant and flower angle-but most of all this globe represents powerful work GOAL does globally and the positive impact the work has on our fragile and precious world.

The globes will be put on public display to form a series of Public Art Exhibition’s which will tour a number of key cities on the island of Ireland, in the Autumn of 2018 before being auctioned off in November ‘18 to raise valuable funds for GOAL,  enabling the charity to continue our work to ease the plight of some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

-To find out more, to make a donation, or to get involved please visit www.goalglobal.org



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