Collect 2024


Emma Louise Wilson


Aberdeen (city)


Jewellery, Silversmithing & Enamelling


Metal, Precious Metals

Emma Louise Wilson draws her primary inspiration from the sea and coastline surrounding Aberdeen. She creates hand-raised silver bowls, designed to recall the feeling of finding the perfect pebble and standing looking at the sea. Each bowl is decorated with vitreous enamel based on her watercolour paintings of the coast. These are abstracted and refined until they capture the feeling of place, a glimpsed memory or moment in time.  

Emma studied 3D Design at Gray's School of Art (Aberdeen), specialising in metalwork and enamel. After graduating in 1995, she spent three years as a designer-jeweller in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter before returning to Scotland. Emma is a member of Design Nation and has exhibited across Scotland and the UK.  

In conversation

1. Tell us about your practice and what led you down your chosen path as a maker.

I always wanted to work with enamel after experiencing it at school and being captivated by its material qualities. It’s an incredibly tactile and beautiful material and combines perfectly with fine silver and gold to create precious works of art for the home or to wear. Jewellery and silversmithing were the obvious choice at art school and the best vehicle for the enamelling I wanted to create. After returning to enamelling after a break of a few years, my practice now involves making one-off statement pieces inspired by the landscape around me in Aberdeen.

2. Tell us about your materials.

I use recycled fine silver in my work, it’s the perfect pairing for glass enamel. It’s also fairly soft so takes the texture of the mallets that form it, leaving a beautifully matte and subtle surface which I then scour with abrasives to look as if it has washed up on the shore. Enamelling involves fusing powdered glass onto the metal surface at around 800 degrees centigrade in a small kiln. It comes from the suppliers already ground, but I will always wash and grind it again to get the fineness I need. The finer the enamel, the more I can blend transparent and opaque colours to create gradients that echo my abstract watercolour paintings.

3. Can you share more about the process behind your Collect 2024 collection?

The hand-raised bowls start as flat discs of fine silver which are hammered on steel stakes to gradually shape the metal into the desired form. Once they are shaped, I build the layers of enamel - often four or five on each piece - using the wet packing technique. Working from my abstract watercolours, I blend the enamels to create the design. I often use fine silver wire as a decorative inlay in the enamel, but for the pieces at Collect 2024, I have used 24ct gold wire for the first time. The warmth of the gold compliments the amber enamel I have used to echo the sunlight.

4. What inspired your collection for Collect 2024?

For Collect 2024, I am presenting a collection of seven fine silver and enamel bowls that sit together as one piece. My inspiration always lies at the coast, from the dynamic seascapes and huge skies around Aberdeen to the pebbles on the beach. In this work, I am trying to capture the essence of the light reflected in the sea and sky as the sun rises behind vast clouds. The gold wire inlay echoes the light playing on the waves. The shapes of the bowls are inspired by pebbles and how they feel in the hand, evoking a tactile connection to the coastal landscape. The bowls are displayed in a random formation to look like pebbles scattered on the beach.

5. What do you hope the viewer will take away from this work?

I hope the work will bring to mind the feeling of standing on a beach, pebble in hand, looking out to sea. Hearing the waves and revelling in huge skies and beautiful light, being in awe of the vastness of it all and the power of the sea. The bowls are meant to be held and I hope they will bring a sense of calmness and comfort to anyone interacting with them. They are statement pieces for interior settings but in a quiet, contemplative form. The work doesn’t shout, it asks you to pause and think of places elsewhere, to take a moment out of your day to reflect.


Shannon Tofts

Emma Louise Wilson

light reflected

Seven bowls. Silver, vitreous enamel and 24ct gold.

Various sizes


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