Re opening of Two Tree Gallery; featuring Jewellery Designer Annie Scales
This month Claire interviews the latest artist to join Two Tree Gallery, the Jewellery artist Annie Scales; we get to find out about her processes, inspiration and her favourite materials.
Tell us about your training and your journey to where you are now as a Jeweller? I studied a BA (hons) degree course in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Sir John Cass School of Art and Design in London. This was a four-year sandwich course as it incorporated a year of industrial placements which were of a tremendous benefit. It revealed what areas of the industry I enjoyed the most as well as elements that were most definitely not creative or rewarding. The Jewellery centre of London Hatton Garden hides a labyrinth of workshops behind all the glamorous facades. Spending many hours at a jewellery bench on repetitive work can sap the creativity from an aspiring naive designer! After 5 years of working for myself as a jeweller I decided to do a PGCE in Design and Technology at The University of Ripon and York St John. The idea was to teach part time whilst continuing my Jewellery business. The predictable outcome happened, and I was swept up into full time teaching. I continued to make jewellery throughout my teaching career but rarely had time to produce more than a few commissions and take part in a few craft fairs. In 2018 I left the profession and decided to try again to pursue my jewellery full time. Where do you get inspiration from? Many artists and designers have inspired me. The daughter of William Morris, May Morris was an outstanding jeweller of her time and demonstrated exceptional skill and originality, her work has been a great source of ideas to me.The sculptor Constantin Brancusi, his smooth elegance and clean lines, my favourite being his group of sculptures ‘Bird in Space’. Andy Goldsworthy has also been an inspiration, I first saw his work at the botanical gardens in Edinburgh. It was a totally new concept to me then and it influenced the way I saw art as enhancing nature besides being stunning installations. I had the privilege to work for Jane Adam; a jeweller who specialises in ‘anodised aluminium’. Her use of colour and the process of forming different materials showed me an incredibly unique approach to jewellery design and techniques. From visiting an exhibition to a walk in the countryside often my inspiration comes when I am not searching for it. Do you have a favourite material to work with? Silver is generally my material of choice. It has a forgiving nature and can be manipulated into a vast combination of shapes and forms. It is also a more affordable material. I often enhance a silver piece with small amounts of gold. Using platinum and gold is a great pleasure but I usually work with these metals when making a commissioned piece. Silver combines beautifully with semi-precious stones, Labradorite has its own iridescence, a lovely ‘inky’ glow, Lapis Lazuli has a real opulent appearance and Rainbow Moonstones their own adularescence. I use these stones in many of my designs. What is the process behind your bespoke jewellery pieces? When designing and making my jewellery I am mindful that it must be worn comfortably. I very much enjoy the personal interaction involved in designing for specific clients. This can include discussing a theme, a series of sketched ideas, making a prototype if the piece is to be produced in a precious metal or making from a client’s own design. Many of my bespoke pieces are made by recycling heirlooms, the brooch that is never worn, inherited wedding rings, broken pieces, sentimental items that are too often left in a drawer. I love recreating a single item or set of jewellery that can be worn and be loved again. I inherited a vast collection of costume jewellery from my mother-in-law, her name was Edith May and I have called my jewellery company ‘Edith May Jewellery ‘after her as she was such a such a prolific collector and would have loved the idea. She was from the generation of women who never appeared in public without waring a brooch, frequently on their coats! What are your plans for the future? Sadly, during the last year many of my future plans have been cancelled or deferred and I haven’t been able to enjoy the usual craft fairs and exhibitions where I can exhibit and sell my work. This has spurred me into action into starting my website and become more active on social media which was always set rather on the back burner in preference to enjoying my workshop. However, I am delighted to have been accepted to join the group at Two Tree Gallery and am excited to display and sell my jewellery at the gallery, To meet the team and the people of Leigh is a whole new venture for me.
To see more of Annie's work and view our online shop, please visit www.twotreegallery.co.uk