Over on Instagram I’m looking back over my business so far, celebrating my 20 years via #ThrowbackThursday. The story so far . . .
Pieces from my Degree Show at Edinburgh College of Art in 1997 where I received a BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Followed by an Artist in Residence at ECA for a year when I was granted a Start Up Award from the Scottish Arts Council to set up my business, which is where it all began!
Since my Degree Show I have continued to love working with a mix of surfaces and materials. I originally worked with strips of plain and printed silver, printed with handwriting found in postcards I had been collecting, finding in those amazing Edinburgh book shops. I added in a contrasting mix of black with silver, gold plated silver which I would mix with oxidising to highlight the writing, strips of paper from old books, some enamel in turquoises and creams and gold leaf.
I wanted to include some sketch book work from the time too, design and drawing books. I often took myself to the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, not because my work was influenced by nature, but because it was a great place to exercise my drawing with free flowing organic lines and markings, to loosen up as my influences came from the city, the urban environment that is more structured. Gold leaf often turned up in my sketch books, overlapping postcard handwriting and scratched back to give some ageing.
Moving on a couple of years, the colour palette has continued with the black and white with hints of paper neutrals, gold leaf and hints of turquoise enamel, and still using strips. When I look back I remember spending a week at a time making so many strips of different lengths with the different textures and surface finishes, all piled up for difference purposes and then a week of constructing and riveting. So many rivets.
Another selection from the next design books with enamel samples, printed papers, design ideas and drawings of part made musical instruments as I was sharing a studio with an instrument maker and I worked with cellos and violins practically draping over my shoulders. I love the part-made and work in progress feel, sketches by artists, showing the bones and construction of all creative things.
A series of brooches coming up as I started to make with the postcards that I had only bought for inspiration so far, and to take from them the handwriting to print into the metals. Layering with metalwork and riveting the layers together. All my brooches are one-offs, then and still and I love being absorbed in making them. I am dying to get into a new series . . .
Some early press coverage . . .
I was so honoured to be asked by two jewellers I admired, to be in their new book ‘Teach Yourself Jewellery’ by Emma Gale and Ann Little. I was amongst some great jewellery of the time, lots of recent ECA graduates and a book that I still have in the workshop today.