We are a nosey lot here at the Guild of Jewellery Designers, Andrew, so we’re delighted you’ve allowed us to turn our spotlight on you! We’ll try to make the process as painless as possible…
How did you get started in jewellery designing and making?
It all started a long, long time ago. I think they call it the Jurassic period. Art was always my preferred subject and when i was allowed near hammers, anvils and fire I started getting into forging metal. This soon turned into studying jewellery techniques and I was particularly fascinated with stone setting – hence my passion for creating engagement rings today.
Was there a particular piece that made you think “yes, I can do this”?
No, but i remember being told to purchase the jewellery bible by Oppi Untracht. The images in this book really inspired me dig deep and immerse myself in the craft.
That's such a heavy book (literally) isn't it! Have you had any formal jewellery training?
Three Dimensional Design degree, some shorter courses, a few short lived apprenticeships and on an informal note, years on the bench.
Where else you get your knowledge from?
Speaking to experts in the industry such as my chief goldsmith and stone setter. My team have an incredible and rare wealth of experience which is one of the reasons why my work is selling well.
Where do you work?
I work in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Are there any artists or jewellery designers you admire? What for?
Heinrich and Denzel - a German outfit with extreme precision and pieces with incredible balance, grace and innovation.
Wow, I just took a look at their site - what amazing work. And I could listen to the site soundtrack all day!
Is there somewhere or something specific that gives you inspiration?
Not sure about this one – but I know that the more relaxed and calm I am then the more inspired I am. I do tend to design rings like an engineering brief – as in here is a stone, here is a finger and here is some metal – and abracadabrah!
You'd be surprised (maybe) how many male jewellers say that. Do you think you have a a 'signature' style and, if you do, how would you describe it?
My style seems to be always evolving and fluid. Initially my designs were very angular but this has softened somewhat in my old age. Obviously getting in touch with my feminine side. Saying that, I have a design coming out shortly which is very angular again so there is no set pattern. Fluidity seems to be a key feature of late where I strive to develop a seamless flow within the pieces but with twists and splits along the way.
What skill or technique would you like to learn?
I would like to further improve my CAD ability – it appears that this, like most subjects, is a never ending school of learning. Thank Buddha it is Fun!
Which piece are you most proud of - can you tell us the story behind it?
The piece I am most proud of is actually a range called the Reveal. This was developed a year or two ago and has gone bananas for me. It is the closest thing I have designed to the ‘perfect’ engagement ring if there was such as thing. This range epitomises fluidity and has a good measure of intrigue, state of the art jewellery techniques and exquisite grace - but I suppose I would say that wouldn’t I.
Do you have any pets?
I have just recently bought an Hungarian Vizsla puppy called Wilbur. The most fitting way I could describe him is that he is Ace! He has a penchant for eating the skirting board at work but apart from that he is brilliant fun. He decided to chew my accountant recently but some may say that’s a good thing. I would obviously disagree with that statement.
Of course you would - the man has your money at his fingertips! Apart from your obvious sense of humour, which of your personality traits comes through in your work, do you think?
Control freak and perfectionist.
What are you currently working on?
In a sentence – Space Rock, Pure Gold (nearly), something for Wilbur and Twitter!
Where do you see yourself/your work in 1/5/10 years?
Ask me then.
Where can we see more of your work?
If there was one tip you could give to aspiring jewellery designers/makers, what would that be?
Establish your strengths and develop them. If you are a great designer but maybe not so hot on making, then use the talents of good goldsmiths and setters. Oh, and don’t cut corners – three words; quality, quality, quality.