With the Fringe gradually coming to an end it was the perfect time to engross myself into the world of “Dazzle” – the place to be if you are a new jewellery designer/maker like me.
Dazzle showcases the best of contemporary jewellery by new graduates, as well as internationally renowned designers. The reason for my visit was to observe current jewellery trends and check out unusual techniques as I too, am beginning a business in jewellery.
To start off, I was welcomed by the colourful abstract work of Heather McDermott, a young contemporary jeweller based on the Isle of Skye. Her jewellery is inspired by discarded objects and windswept grasses on Scottish seashores. Heather predominantly works in stainless steel and coats her jewellery with a special vibrant paint, which she then scratches off, to create the illusion of being weathered, just as you would see on a tidal landscape. I find her use of colour really effective in catching attention of the viewer, something to note if you want to lure customers to your work.
Next, I came upon Beth Legg‘s work and it was such a pleasure to look at. For me, granulation is a lovely technique which instantly makes a piece look more intricate. It is the creation of tiny silver balls which are then soldered onto your design, or in this case, soldered together! Legg’s pieces are inspired by the fragile nature of Scottish coastal landscapes. All her pieces are beautifully made individual sculptures, emphasising her sensitive and detailed approach to working.
Another jeweller’s work that caught my eye was Katie Roberts. I instantly recognised her work from stumbling upon it on Pinterest! The work is stunning in person, with the light reflecting off the three-dimensional forms. Roberts has developed an innovative technique, allowing her to create unusual embossed-like lines on the inside of her creations – creating an amazing rippling effect on the metal. Similar to when you see light reflecting off the water’s surface.
I have always been a fan of Jenny Llewellyn‘s work because of her love for sea life. Llewellyn is a contemporary jeweller and creates playful silicone jewellery inspired by luminous colours, shapes and movements found underwater. The pieces really do look like little creatures that could live on rocks and corals! I love how she has successfully combined this gelatinous soft material with precious metals, not usually found in jewellery. I see she always tries to find ways of fixing the silicone forms without the use of glue, this shows her skill and eye for detail in jewellery and makes the pieces high-end. Llewellyn has recently been nominated as one of the “Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014”, showcasing “innovation, business development and design skills over the past 12 months”, definitely something to be proud of.
Emma Calvert creates statement textile jewellery, combining traditional weaving techniques with contemporary colours and precious metals. Interesting enough, she graduated in BA Textile Design from Central St Martins. Just shows you how diverse jewellery can be. Calvert likes experimenting with woven textiles, transforming a two-dimensional material into a three-dimensional form, which she then translates into jewellery. I have to say, I did purchase a wee present for myself here.
Lastly, I have to mention Heather Woof‘s work. The pieces really evoke a sense of movement. Woof is based in Edinburgh and is inspired by wild Scottish weather – and I think we all know what she means here. She works in hand-cut titanium, steel and precious metals, resulting in elegant wearable sculptures. The colours are beautiful, there is not only blues in the work but greens and purples melded together to enhance a sense of fluidity. I think the colours replicate that of Scotland’s stormy skies and rough seas. It is amazing how she has shaped this hard rigid material into something that looks so elegant and flowing.
Overall, I found Dazzle to be an inspiring event to visit, especially for a new jeweller like me. From what I have observed, I feel that the contemporary trend is growing here in Scotland due to the colours and push for mixed media materials and design. It is great to see that craft in Scotland is flourishing, seems that it is the place to be for a craftsperson. I believe it is important to visit and take part in such events – to observe any changing trends and stay within the loop of Scotland’s Craft community which is growing stronger everyday.