CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?
My jewellery career started with two years of beginners metalwork night classes at Edinburgh College of Art. I already made beaded jewellery as a hobby, so was keen to learn new techniques and move on to working with silver. I started my business in 2006, and through study placements and lots of professional development courses over the years I now work increasingly in the fine jewellery sector making work that I’m increasingly proud of. I’m currently studying Computer Aided Design, as I feel this will help immeasurably in the future with scaling my production capabilities.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?
My workshop is based in Coburg House Art Studios at the Shore in Leith which is home to around 75 artists, designers and makers. A typical day for me would involve working on small capsule collections to send out to galleries, and sometimes a customer appointment to discuss ideas for a commission. I’m a bit of a night owl, so try to do any noisy processes after 5pm when the majority of other artists in the building have gone home.
I am working on a unisex line of chunky signet rings and cuffs right now which combine my preference for a simplified silhouette with a more organic textured finish. As a lot of my jewellery is absolutely tiny, it’s a really nice change to be working on some sizeable pieces!
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON?
This month I will be taking part in the Fruitmarket Gallery’s DesignMarket which is one of my favourite events of the year! They always curate a fantastic selection of exhibitors and I invariably spend most of my takings at the other stalls.
I’ve also recently become a Fairtrade Gold licensee, which means that I now have the means to start producing jewellery which hasn’t adversely affected the health and human rights of the people who mine the raw materials. Over the next couple of years I hope to make this the main focus of my business. My first few pieces of work made from Fairtrade gold and recycled silver will be on show at the DesignMarket event this month.
WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD CITY TO BE BASED?
For me, Edinburgh is the ideal city to be based in because of the thriving jewellery and creative communities. The tourist industry here is hugely important to me too, as I can take advantage of seasonal retail opportunities during the Festival in August and the Christmas market in November and December.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?
I think one of the main mistakes that I made in the first few years of running my business was trying to cater for every possible consumer taste. This might sound very obvious, but if you follow your instincts and create something which is truer to your own values and aesthetics, your product and message come across as much stronger and more authentic. I’m still working on rectifying this 12 years later, so if you can get it right from the start, you’re winning! Also, it’s okay to say no to a job that won’t make the best use of your time and skills.
Follow Fiona's work via her website here.