1. Tell us about your path to becoming a jeweller?
Being creative is second nature to me and has been ever since I can remember. Following school I enrolled at the local art college in Hereford, where I come from.
Being accepted onto the two-year General Art & Design foundation course, and through diagnostic projects, led me to subsequently apply for the four-year Jewellery degree course at Middlesex Polytechnic, London. Having always had a broad interest in making, I had thought that I would become a costume propmaker but realised through a student work placement that I wanted to develop my own design style and focus on making jewellery.
2. Tell us about your materials and techniques?
I have always had a deeply rooted interest in textiles. Coming as I do from generations of women in my family that were extremely adept at making, whether this was using cloth as in dressmaking or using thread as in knitting & crochet.
It therefore seems entirely natural to me to exchange thread for wire and to construct forms using traditional techniques, such as crochet amongst others. I would say that the unique qualities of my work are that it imbues a thoughtful, no compromise approach to making and its attention to detail.
3. What inspired the work you are presenting with Craft Scotland at Collect 2022?
Recently I have been researching 16th & 17th century Elizabethan Blackwork embroidery. Visiting public collections that include the V&A, Bath Costume Museum, National Museum of Scotland and the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.
Initially my jewellery was developed using vitreous enamel, but this new body of work seeks to translate research in a more three-dimensional way.
A series of necklaces & brooches titled ‘Shima’ are richly layered in texture and detail. Shima is a Japanese term for island and garden, bearing reference to both boundary and containment. In work titled ‘Bloom’ natural growth structures or fractals have been translated into long flowing necklaces.
4. Tell us about a special detail from this new body of work?
Creating a new collection of work is not only challenging but also creatively stimulating and exciting. Like any new direction it takes time to distil and quantify. Ideas such as the ‘Shima’ brooches have been buzzing around in my head for many years and so I am very pleased to have had this opportunity to finally realize them.
I particularly like the dense overlaying of surface textures and applied beaded constructions that are contained within the boundary walls. There is a tension in these brooches but also a playfulness that one might experience exploring a garden.
5. How do you hope the viewer will respond to this collection?
The last two years have been immensely challenging as the pandemic has impacted on each of our lives in so many different ways. Throughout this time, I have found it extremely beneficial to have had the focus of creating a new body of work for Collect 2022. It has given me a sense of purpose, focus, personal and technical challenges and joy! So I would hope that this new collection of work, which seeks to highlight the transience of life, also symbolically empowers and gives pleasure to both the viewer and wearer.