In this week’s spotlight, we talk to Sally Cuthbert from Littlehouse Jewellery. She talks about table jewellery and her love of shapes and Edinburgh...
Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in Edinburgh, right in the centre. I was born here, went to school and art college here and raised my family here.
It’s a truly beautiful city and one I find constantly inspires me, especially in its architecture, which is remarkably diverse – I just love it so much.
What do you make/create?
I hand make and design jewellery (and more recently tableware) in silver and gold.
How would you describe your work?
Elegant, timeless, linear design which is made for longevity.
What do you love about what you do?
So much! I love being able to express myself through my designs, and explore ideas.
I love that I make everything from scratch – no outsourcing – just me and my bench and tools, some bullion, time and thoughts!
What/who inspires you and why?
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes! Both linear and Geometric – I love how they move and change when placed beside each other, and how they interact to create new shapes and forms.
I make a lot in sterling silver square wire, which allows me to work off the four facets to create simple linear sculptural forms and links, which can be repeated to create my designs.
In terms of people, I’m hugely inspired by Sonia Delaunay. She was a multidisciplinary abstract artist and a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Over time she expanded her practice to include textiles, fashion, furniture and set design. A member of the Simultanism/Orphism movements, her use of colour and shape is inspirational, even today – more than 100 years on!
What’s your favourite piece and why?
Help – that’s like choosing between my children! But actually, my favourite piece is always the one I’m currently working on. At the moment I’m designing and prototyping and making designs from a new collection titled ‘Table Jewellery’. This collection is a bit different…As I’m taking jewellery off the body and onto the table, yes the table!
Having spent these lockdown months at home I realised how much I love being able to decorate and light up my kitchen table, so that eating with the family feels more special and celebratory.
So I started thinking about how I can create one-off unique heritage tableware, handcrafted and designed for longevity. It’s also a mixed metal collection with designs in silver, gold and brass.
With the various designs all holding candles/flowers, these creations are designed with interconnected links so you can arrange the piece as you want on your kitchen/dining table.
How did you get into doing what you do?
Well, you could say I took a scenic route! I trained in 3D Design at Edinburgh College of Art with a BA Hons and then a Post Grad Diploma. After which I lectured in design for a few years…. then I met my husband and fell in love and had three gorgeous babies, which hijacked my career.
I managed to get back into designing and making after years of working in my husband’s PR business as a photographer. Retraining as a jeweller followed – learning and studying techniques and skills I needed to realise my designs. I knew I just wanted to design and make something with my hands, myself from start to finish.
Where would you like to see your business in five years’ time?
Further exploring my designs. I have a number of collections at the moment and I can see this expanding.
Who is your dream customer – if you could pick anyone (dead or alive!)?
Amal Clooney – she’s a barrister, which is an amazing career. She has such natural elegance and style and is a mum to twins! I would love her to be one of my customers.
What’s your favourite place and why?
In Edinburgh its the Scottish Portrait Gallery – situated on Queens Street, it holds the National Portrait Collection and Scottish National Photography Collection. The building both inside and outside is beautiful. It’s a sandstone gothic revival building (with a combination of Arts & Crafts) and was designed by Robert Rowand Anderson between 1885 and 1890.
Inside, the main hall has a frieze by William Hole (depicting an array of notable scots from history), which is just mesmerising. I see something new every time I visit and stare.
Outside, the building’s ornate gothic style is unusual in its setting, in the mostly Georgian neoclassic new town. Its crowning glory are four octagonal corner pinnacles – which I can just see from my house!
To find out more about Sally and her work, click here.