I first spotted Emma’s playful designs on Instagram – I just love how much fun they are, with their bright colours and unusual structures. It’s not hard to see she’s inspired by playgrounds! It just goes to show that you really can be inspired by anything.
How would you describe your jewellery?
My jewellery’s visually fun and playful and definitely has a tactile quality. These qualities span from the inspiration I take from playground frames and childrens toys. Some of my pieces have a sculptural quality about them, I like to make pieces that are contemporary and unusual. My process explores materials and I often let the materials qualities guide my making process.
What materials do you use?
I use mainly brass in my work, which I then powder coat to get a smooth colourful finish. I taught myself the process of powder coating in my final year of university and became fascinated with it. It all started from experiments in my mini oven at home.
Jesmonite is the other main material in my work. It is such a versatile material and I enjoy experimenting with it to see what I can push it to do! It’s also a plus that I can colour the jesmonite to keep with my colourful aesthetic.
Where do you create your jewellery?
As a new graduate I’m looking for a workspace in my home city of Glasgow, where I can do both metal work and mixed media work. For the time being though, I have a small set up at home which allows me to keep making. Although I do miss working in a space with other makers.
What’s the favourite piece in your jewellery collection?
My favourite piece is my turquoise ‘Bubbly’ brooch from my graduate collection. It was my final piece that I completed for my degree show and it sums up my aesthetic perfectly. I love how the bubbles pop out of the structure and how visually fun this piece turned out.
Where’s the farthest one of your pieces has gone?
To America! While I was at New Designers exhibition in London earlier this year, I met a lovely collector who bought a ring and donated it to the Spencer Museum of Art in Kansas America.
What’s the piece you’re most proud of creating?
A necklace I made with a Goldsmiths precious bursary grant I was awarded. This necklace included around 17 links and they were all hand soldered – there must be hundreds of solder joins in this piece! It also included a gold component, I am used to working in brass now, so getting back to working in precious metals was definitely a challenge.
What’s your favourite part of being a Jewellery Designer?
I’ve always been a maker and a creative, so embarking on a career as a jewellery designer is exciting as I can continue to do this in my everyday life. I also love the community of people in the world of jewellery design. We inspire and help each other and it really is a lovely small community.
What’s your design process?
My design process is a very tactile one. I usually create pieces out of wire as samples, then I work with these, collaging them, distorting them and changing the scale. I draw from images and source straight into wire and sometimes collage images of my samples on photoshop to get a visualisation of multiples and scale.
I’m definitely a 3D thinker. I also set the jesmonite by squeezing it into the frames and holding it until it sets so it’s all very ‘hands on’ work!
A jeweller has to be very multi-skilled! How do you find that?
I love teaching myself new skills and sometimes try to do it all by myself! I’ve been taking most of my own photos of my work from which I have learned some useful photography skills. I also run and design my own website and keep on top of my admin. Juggling all the different skills can be time consuming though and sometimes calling on the skills of other people can be a great help.
What do you love about jewellery?
I love being able to experiment with different materials, as well as have a technical skill set. It’s amazing seeing people interact with my work and hear what they think. I also love being able to make jewellery for people – and to wear it myself of course!
How did you start creating jewellery?
I’ve always loved being creative, so I think a creative path was meant for me. My first encounter with jewellery design was at secondary school when I had a design project that was jewellery based and I loved making small sculptural pieces from the minute that I got my hands on the materials.
After that I focused all of my art projects on jewellery design. When attending college for a portfolio preparation course my tutors could see that I was a jeweller and encouraged me to apply for Jewellery design. I then went on to study for my BA (HONS) at The Glasgow School of Art.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by anything fun, playful and tactile. Mostly I’m inspired by the structure of children’s playground frames and squishy play toys. The playground frames inspire my wire structures and my colour palette. My colours are based on primary colours, however I use more muted tones.
The powder-coating process is also similar to the finish of climbing frames. The squishy play toys provide me with inspiration for the ‘bubbly’ and ‘squishy’ forms found in my jewellery. I am also inspired by the materials that I use and the possibilities I can achieve with the materials.
What advice would you give to people looking to buy jewellery from independent makers, but who don’t know where to look or how to go about it?
Look on social media for local craft fairs, and go along and meet the makers. We’re a friendly bunch and a small community so we can point you in the direction of some makers that might interest you or to shops that stock independent makers. Or even drop us a message on Instagram if you want to know more about anything. I’m sure most of us would be happy to help you search for makers you’d be interested in!