What first inspired you to become a jewellery designer? How did you learn how to do what you do?
Starting in 1992, I studied at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee. I only ever wanted to go to Art School, it was really the only path I had ever considered. I was set on being an Illustrator, but when the time came, it was not what I expected and my lecturers noticed a significant, linear 3d style to my work. So, from there, I realised I wanted to “make” something and jewellery and silversmithing was the natural choice.
What items do you mainly make?
I started off as a small-scale silversmith, making small items like spoons, salt and pepper pots and tea strainers. Having no jewellery items in my final year show, now I hardly step away from jewellery.
What kind of materials do you use?
I jump around quite a lot, due to experimenting with many processes at art school. My work started as very simplistic inlayed jewellery, based on my travels and a fascination with the work of the INCA’s . I then moved on to using script from my travel diaries to create photoetched text from my diary range, on sheet metal. I now have started using enamels again, mainly as a flash of colour on a flower collection which started off as a one-off range many years ago. As this range became more popular, it has continued to this day, evolving from simple silver, to silver and kiln enamels. I have also made many of the items in gold or with diamond detailing.
Where does your inspiration come from?
As mentioned before, it’s mostly from my travels. Although I have been looking back and researching a new collection based more on hand written text and lettering.
What is your design process?
I am pretty intuitive and I work between sketches, making small moodboards and simply “playing” in the workshop. Really it’s a mélange of all 3. I used to spend more time on my sketchbooks, and it’s something, I’d love to have the luxury of doing more of!
What have been some of your favourite jewellery pieces you’ve created and why?
I like different things for different reasons. Some are one off pieces that were a challenge and simply worked out technically. Other times I love a small batch production. It’s a sense of completion. The main thing is if a customer openly loves and piece and I then know I have understood what the customer wanted.
Could you describe the woman who wears your jewellery? Who is your ideal customer?
I think I’m moving more towards one-off items with a personal note to it. Especially since I’ve been doing pieces with writing. This always makes things personal! It’s interesting seeing what private notes people like to have on jewellery. It’s almost like a tattoo sometimes! My jewellery is for everyone, all ages, all styles yet I’d say it’s normally it’s more of a keepsake or something you would wear every day rather than a full-on fashion piece.
Is there one piece in your collection that you think every woman should have?
One of my spinning rings. It may be a slim silver one or a big chunky one with lots of diamonds! I think men should have them too!
What are you working on now? Do you have any new projects?
Back to my roots with text and handwriting. I’m also looking into sourcing my materials ethically. Something close to my heart and a must for the future of the jewellery trade.
How do you think contemporary jewellery is going to develop?
I’m a bit old school now! I like traditional techniques. As I mentioned in the last question. I would like to see it become more ethical.