Q&A Opal Gems

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What is your practice? Materials? Processes?

I am a jewellery designer and lapidarist. Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing gemstones. My designs are created using traditional bench making techniques using sterling silver, elements of 9ct gold and semi-precious gemstones. One of my signature designs is jewellery incorporating milk sea glass from the North East of England.

What 5 words best describe your work?

Unique, colourful, semi-precious, organic, simple.

Do you have any design heroes?

I have many design heroes, from great artists such as Matisse, with his bold use of colour to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright is the architect who created one of my favourite buildings, the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He utilized natural materials to embrace the natural environment, he described it as ‘Organic Architecture’. You can’t help being inspired!

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Where is your studio?

The studio is located within an old cotton mill in Stockport. The mill once housed approximately 265,000 spinning mules and provided employment to much of the local people. Today my studio is one of twenty plus spaces within The Galleries, which was created in 2008 to provide creatives with a space to rent and work. My studio is on the mezzanine level and from it you get a sense of the height and scale of the building. I like the thought that the mill has been a place of production for over a hundred years.

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Describe in 10 words a typical day in your studio

Cup of tea, research, sketching, sourcing, stone cutting, soldering, polishing.

Are you working on anything unusual at the moment? Commissions? New work?

I am currently working on pieces based on well-known artists’ work, one being The Snail by Matisse.

What will you be selling at the Christmas Bazaar? Anything new? Anything christmassy? Perfect christmas present?

Rings, bangles, earrings and necklaces. There will be new milk sea glass pieces in this seasons graduating greys and complimentary red hues, perfect for the Christmas party outfit. If you are stuck for Christmas present ideas, I will also be offering gift vouchers.

Tell us something we don’t know

I share my studio with Picasso and Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube. Well in spirit that is, I find the photo inspirational as both artists weren’t afraid to experiment. Torun broke with tradition in the 1940’s when she made jewellery from twisted wire, moonstone, quartz and pebbles. It reminds me that ‘to live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong’.

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http://www.opalgems.co.uk

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