To you, what’s the function and purpose of jewellery?
Humans have always had a desire to adorn themselves (so it seems from our history!). Humans use symbols like jewellery to identify things about other people. Jewellery has been used as a sign of wealth, social status, marital status, etc. It has served very practical purposes, like intaglio seals used like a signature, or as a form of fasteners – pins, clock pins, etc. Or even a chain to hold a timepiece. I believe that humans are drawn to beautiful things which might be a large part of how jewellery served as something both functional and was made to be aesthetically pleasing. Humans consider it something of value. Because it's been made from precious metals jewellery is actually something that in the past could be used as money (when the gold standard still existed). Metals are still valuable even though we use credit cards, transfer, and paper now. I think a lot of things that people consider valuable can be wrapped up in jewellery – wealth, accomplishments, sentimental events. Humans have created a connection with jewellery whether we like it or not, it's part of our history. For me it's a combination of my fascination with how things are made, beautiful, and unusual objects, and the hunt. I collect antique jewellery (as well as some vintage and modern) and I collect unusual and rare stones to put in my designs. There isn't really anything like the thrill of finding something unique that I haven't seen before, or finally finding something that I have been looking for, sometimes for years. I love designing jewellery and designing jewellery for other people does bring me great fulfilment. I used to design clothing before I started in jewellery. I did both for a few years. I started to see how people would connect and light up when they found a certain piece of jewellery that they connected with. It was so different from how people interacted with clothing and I felt like it was a better place for me to put my energy. It made me happier and I felt like I was bringing something special into the world.
You make one-of-a-kind and custom pieces, but you also do an annual collection. What is the difference in approach between the two ways of working?
At times the OOAK pieces are like little studies. We try out new things with them – there are times they don’t make it into the store if a design doesn’t work out. Sometimes I might make a little group that relates to itself but sometimes they are little stand-alone ideas. The collections I come out with each year (sometimes one, sometimes a number of smaller ones) are larger ideas with a group of pieces that relate to the same idea. I have started adding one of a kind pieces to my collections as well. Anything that is OOAK, I only make one of. Collection pieces we will continue to produce for an unknown amount of time. I only just started to weave OOAK into collections and I like having both in the larger more in-depth collections. The collections also take me a much longer time to work through. Usually it's about a year from conception of the idea to when we launch it but sometimes it takes longer. Like the one that I am working on now. I have ideas swimming around in my head, and stack and stack of books around but I am a little stuck on it. I know that it will come when it's ready, but it's got some more brewing to do before it wants to come out on paper, I guess...
Aesthetics seem like it runs through everything you do; have you always had such a keen eye for beauty?
I guess so! I think it really comes down to me liking the idea of creating a world, a space, an environment. I never think about my jewellery (or anything I make for that matter) as something that is just hanging out in a void. It will be on a body, in a space, on a wall, on the floor, etc.
What’s it like to run your own business?
More work than is comfortable to actually sit down and think about but it is worth it.