I am a Jeweller based in Studio One in the Manchester Craft and Design Centre since 2008.
I work with precious metals producing a variety of different jewellery collections alongside making commissioned pieces, wedding and engagement rings.
I’m interested in drawing liner shapes and simple textured forms, then layering them to build intricate structures that play with shape, space and shadows. I usually start with one simple shape or form which I make multiples of, then layer together or form patterns with them. This has probably evolved from growing up watching my parents drawing and hand painting textile designs.
I love the physical processes of making with metal, using saws, hammers, blowtorches, files, polishing wheels and the rolling mill.
There is also an element of problem-solving while designing and making and working out the best way to manipulate the metal. It’s always exciting to experiment, see ideas realized and see the raw material become shiny pieces of jewellery that could last for decades.
I also work in the animation industry at Mackinnon And Saunders, using my metalwork skills to make the armatures/skeleton body for stop-motion animation puppets. Seen in films and TV programs such as The Corpse Bride; Fantastic Mr Fox; Frankenweenie; ParaNorman; the Sainsbury Christmas Advert 2016. Also Children’s TV programs, Postman Pat, The Clangers, Twirly Woos, Raa Raa and Tobys Travelling Circus.
Abstract Butterfly Collection
The small silver segments have been flattened, distorted, textured and soldered together to form clusters of abstract butterflies. The simple folded shapes and the textured surfaces play with light and shadow to create a fluttering effect when worn.
These delicate shapes can be enhanced with segments of gold, also gold layers on the surface of the silver, which are applied with a technique called Keum-boo. Rather than gold leaf, this method fuses a layer of gold to the silver, bonding the metals. Precious and semi-precious Gemstones positioned amongst the clusters of butterflies can also add that extra sparkle.
City of Science Collection
Inspired by Manchester’s Science Festival, I have used Binary code in honour of Alan Turing. He is a founder of Computer Science and is well known for deciphering the Enigma code used in the Second World War.
A rolling mill is used to flatten the silver into thin strips and create a distorted, rippling texture. I wanted to use simple 1-inch cut sections to resemble the ribbon of tape used in Turing’s machine and to suit the spacing for the 8 ‘bits’ used for each letter in binary. A steel punch is used to stamp the binary zeros and ones, spelling out various words related to Computing and to Manchester. Also, I have used simple symbols such as !, # and ?. Stamping the codes also allows me to personalise and create bespoke pieces to order such as initials or special dates.
During the 2020 lockdown, I developed an alternative design for this collection. Simply by making them resemble little padlocks with a loop for the lock and the stamped code looking like a scroll combination lock and the binary code spelling 2020. I still used the exclamation mark and particularly the hashtag symbols as I started to use social media and Instagram more during this period.
Silver Clouds Collection
This collection derived from a brief from the Manchester Jewellers Network for an exhibition which was titled ‘Optimism’. I wanted to make a collection with a positive outlook on life, so I’ve used the proverb ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’ with the idea of trying to look for the bright side to our problems. The first step was drawing many different types of clouds! Flattened silver wire is then used to trace around the designs creating an outline of the cloud shapes. The chain is then carefully positioned and soldered to balance them correctly and give a subtle movement. I have enjoyed making a variety of sizes, from the very cute little earring clouds to the larger more complex cumulus shapes that are gradually built up like a jigsaw puzzle. The designs can evolve and grow as I add each segment.
For this collection, I’ve been inspired by aspects of the baroque style, such as the curves of lavish detail used in architecture and wrought ironwork. Drawing shapes and patterns with wire, I like to produce linear and simplified shapes which play with asymmetry and create interesting voids of space.