The more I delve into the jewellery world, the more I realise there’s a huge wealth of talent in Scotland – especially near Glasgow.  Maybe it’s the Charles Rennie Mackintosh vibes rubbing off on the artists there!

Lois wearing one of her brooches

Lois Jane is another jeweller whose beautiful bold and colourful patterns really stand out – and I think her work is just perfect to give an original finish to an everyday outfit.  I particularly like the chains she creates from arcs – a great twist on a classic!

Here she tells me about her inspirations and dreams and how she thinks people in the UK have a fear of large, colourful jewellery…

How would you describe your jewellery?

A confidently colourful collection of contemporaries!

What materials do you use?

I used to use mainly steel, liquid enamel and powdered enamels.

As my practice has developed (and since graduating university and not having access to expensive welders), I’ve introduced silver to my practice.

A collection of Lois’ colourful work

Where do you create your jewellery?

I am based at Vanilla Ink Studios in Glasgow.

What’s the favourite piece in your jewellery collection? 

If it’s by other makers? I have an amazing pair of Be Oddical statement hoops that I adore.

Of my own work?

My giant 3 in 1 earrings, they always spark a conversation and I have enough enamelled bottoms to switch up the style to match any outfit.

Lois’ 3 in 1 earrings

What’s the piece you’re most proud of creating?

I’m currently working on a silver collection and I’ve created ‘Arc Chain’ bracelets and necklaces. They’re quite different to where my practice started but I’ve loved creating something a little bit more fine, and I’m excited to see how this more luxurious design comes to play with my enamel works.

Arc Chain bracelet

I’m also very proud of my graduate collection. It took a while for me to find out what worked and when I started making the catches everything started to click. I don’t have many of these pieces left in my personal collection, as they’ve found new homes or are in galleries. I can’t make them anymore due to the price of laser welders, but they hold a dear place in my heart.

Necklace from Lois’ graduate collection

What’s your favourite part of being a Jewellery Designer?

Where to start? Jewellery is favourite thing in the world (so cringe, I know.) But it’s true. I love wearing jewellery, and my passion for making it started there. Contemporary jewellery offers an extended identity to those who are brave enough to wear it. There’s a fear of large, colourful jewellery, in the UK especially. When I find those who love my jewellery – it’s like I’ve found my tribe.

What’s your proudest moment of being a Jewellery Designer?

I’m proud of the resilience I’ve gained over the past two years. Being a designer and maker is SO hard. You must be self-motivated, headstrong and able to roll with the punches (and there’s been a fair few!) I’m quite an emotional person, so not taking things to heart has been my biggest challenge. 

Since going into jewellery and trying to create a brand straight from graduating, resilience is a skill I’ve had to learn along the way. I’ve almost thrown the towel in on more than one occasion. Yet, I’ve always managed to pull through, and I’m becoming more resilient and headstrong everyday… I’m still working on the self-motivation aspect.

What’s your design process?

Ah, this is quite a difficult question… I collect sketches and photos things that inspire me, then simplify them to their most basic patterns and forms. I then create collages with the forms, and draw patterns over them, this then translates to final pieces.

Earrings from Lois’ graduate collection

How important is jewellery design to you?

Very. Other than painting, which i’m not very good at, I can’t think of any other creative outlet I love as much as designing and making jewellery.

What do you love about jewellery?

Where to start?!  As I said before, I believe it unites people. I love the idea that my piece is bought by someone, and is handed down to their grandchildren – a permanent reminder of their eccentric grandparents.

I love how jewellery can define people, look at Prue Leith or Iris Apfel! Because we wear it on our bodies, I think it becomes part of us.

How did you start creating jewellery?

I made ‘jewellery’ for my higher and advanced higher art, and then applied to study Jewellery Design and Related Products at The School of Jewellery in Birmingham.

Why did you fall in love with jewellery design?

I wanted to be a fashion designer like my Auntie when I was younger, but I bought a book about contemporary jewellery by chance with a Waterstones gift card, when I was about 15. The images of Zoe Robertson and Marta Mattsson’s jewellery were what made me fall in love and want to investigate it for myself.

What are your aspirations for your business?

To launch my online shop and have a bit of a brand make-over! After that, I’d love to focus on making the art-jewellery pieces I love, and doing a Masters to explore some big ideas I have brewing.

One day, I’d love to open my own enamelling and welding studio, creating an accessible space for enamelling classes and pay as you go welding sessions.

Arc earrings

Where do you feel most inspired?

Anywhere besides the ocean.

Who else inspires you?

My mum is a massive inspiration in my life. She’s so kind and loyal, but she knows how to kick ass and get things done. She’s raised three amazing daughters and ran a business the entire time. I wish my productivity was as good as hers!

What inspires you?

My current work is inspired by the coasts around my home, Banff, North – East Scotland. It’s quite literal and the inspiration is very clear.

But I don’t want to be pegged down as a one trick pony, my sketch books are filled with hundreds of ideas and inspirations that come from my everyday life living in Glasgow. I don’t think that every collection I make will run within the realm of coastal or nautical jewellery.

How do you juggle all the different aspects of the job?

This is something I’m still getting to grips with, I’m still at the start of my career and organisation is not my strong point. Currently I have a curated display of post-its on my living room wall that are helping me remember all the things I have to do! I set a lot of electronic reminders on my phone and try and give myself set personal deadlines to have things done by.

3 in 1 earrings

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?

  • Go to local craft markets, with Christmas coming up there’s loads of them on and I can guarantee that there’ll be some indie jewellers at them.
  • Research luxury craft markets, you might have to travel further to get to them but they’ll be worth it for some high-quality handmade goods.
  • Instagram is an amazing social platform, and one I’ve made many customers through, search hashtags to find what you’re looking for.
  • If you do find a jeweller on social media who you like, send them a direct message on Instagram or Facebook! Most makers I know will be more than happy to chat and answer any questions.

It’s so amazing to hear about Lois’ inspirations isn’t it? I love how she feels great jewellery should become a part of you.

Do you agree?  Does your favourite jewellery become part of you?

You can find out more about Lois Jane here.