Since beginning my jewellery studies at college 2 years ago, we have been reminded often to look at other jewellers’ and their work, how they work, what it is about them that inspires us and so on. I personally never took too much notice at other jewellers’ work, not thoroughly anyway as I was and still am finding my own feet and direction in the craft and didn’t want to be too heavily influenced by someone else’s style. I wanted to find my own first. However, it is hard not to notice the work of others. It does help with inspiration when I’m feeling a little stuck and now that I’ve found a few techniques, shapes and materials that I like to work with I’m going to look a little deeper into the work of a couple of jewellers I have come across to analyse what it is about their work that I’m drawn to and inspired by.
Ruth combines silver with resin and creates very intricate designs by 3D printing and casting. She also uses recycled silver and she tries to keep her work and packaging as eco-friendly as possible.
I love the shapes Ruth uses in her work. Her more recent collection has a lot of triangular shapes involved which is also beautiful, however, her hexagon-like work is my favourite. She doesn’t use a high polish finish in her work either and adds vibrant colour with the use of resin.
I’m drawn to her work because of what I have mentioned above. I began my personal jewellery journey using resin which is what pushed me towards studying jewellery and I’ve loved incorporating this material into my work when using silver. The way I work with resin has changed so much from when I began using the material 3 years ago thanks to the college course and I am now using Rhino software to create 3D pieces that will then be cast in silver and have tiny compartments to be filled with resin. This is a personal collection project I have been working on outside of college.
Ruth creates statement brooches as well as tiny stacking rings and studs. No matter what the size of the piece is, the bold colours and intricate designs really make the pieces stand out. She also hand mixes the colours, combining them to get new colours. I have been experimenting with resin pigments but am now looking into mixing pigments myself to get the ideal shades I want. Ruth’s work is truly inspiring. I have also discovered a few other jewellers’ with a similar style to Ruth in terms of using coloured resin, Quercussilver is one of them.
I discovered Misun’s jewellery originally in 2014 when our lecturer Eilidh took us to an exhibition in Edinburgh. I had noticed her work then but never looked into it further as I suppose it didn’t relate to my own work at that time. I recently attended the Elements exhibition in Edinburgh this month and found her work again where on this occasion it really stood out to me. She works with silver and 24ct gold foil. She works with soft, circular shapes and takes inspiration from Jogakbo, a traditional Korean patchwork.
Although originally I did not connect with her work, I have recently taken great interest in her minimalism which makes such a bold statement. The pieces are simple in design but really catch your eye and I love the three dimensional layering she has in her work which also looks really clean. She adds a tiny pop of colour (which I know is a complete contrast to Ruth Hollywood) using the gold foil and occasionally coloured cord.
I suppose her work has particularly caught my eye recently because I have been layering the same shape over one another trying to achieve a more three dimensional piece? Although my colour choice for my theme is yellow this can be adapted to a gold as I have been looking into goldlfeaf and gold foil. I also use goldleaf in my personal work now with some of my resin pieces. As much as I love small, clean pieces of jewellery, I do love a big, sculptural piece of jewellery too which I feel Misun achieves with her work. (Below left – pendant and earrings. Right – brooch).
In conclusion to this research, I feel between these two jewellers, Ruth and Misun, all the boxes are ticked for me; small and simple, big and bold, lots of colour and clean with not too much texture. In my own time I make a lot of random, spur of the moment pieces because my tastes in jewellery change dependant on my mood (also because I’m trying out something new), which I suppose is the case for most people. However, this is also why I think I’ve found it difficult to stick to a colour, shape etc for college as my tastes change quite rapidly. I am persevering with this though, as it’s something I want to be capable of achieving as I believe it’s vital to being a successful jeweller.