Organic, yet geometric.
I was drawn to Rebecca Burt’s beautiful pieces online because I felt they were a beautiful contradiction. Like all the best contradictions – sweet and sour and salted caramel – I love the combination of geometric shapes in organic forms.
So I was so happy that Rebecca agreed to tell her story to the The Jewellery Spot. I was also pleased to find out she has a soft spot for rings – just like me!
How would you describe your jewellery?
I would describe my jewellery as organic, delicate and feminine, using silver, 9ct and 18ct gold with highlights of precious and semi-precious gemstones.
Where do you create your jewellery?
I have a little studio space in Pontcanna in Cardiff. It’s a shared space with other makers, called Red Door Studios. It’s a lovely little studio space, always smells of freshly cut wood and is very handy as we open up the studio doors for open studios, every Saturday morning.
What’s the favourite piece in your jewellery collection?
My favourite piece from my jewellery collections is probably my Eden rings or my contrasting Eden brooch. I really enjoy the directional quality of my Eden rings and enjoy mixing them up with different stone selections, in particular different marquise shaped stones. I also like my Eden brooches, as I enjoy the stark contrast and layers between the oxidized and brushed silver.
What’s the piece you’re most proud of creating?
Definitely my Eden rings. My business is pretty new, having started it in September 2017, and I’m still learning how to run it everyday. For me, my Eden rings have come to symbolize the point when my business went from purely making lots of jewellery, to running a jewellery business with its own momentum.
Your designs are very detailed, how long do they take to put together?
I’m drawn to very process led detailed pieces of jewellery, so love to make it quite time consuming for myself! For my Eden collection, all the little shapes are individually made from sheet silver and undergo quite a few stages before the shape is ready to be soldered into a unit. This is the most time consuming part, but your hands get used to the rhythms of it and it can be quite a meditative process, or a great opportunity to zone out and put a podcast on.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’m very inspired by nature and that manifests in my work through a love of organic shapes, juxtaposing textures and surfaces. I never seek to imitate nature, but let themes of nature guide me. I’m especially interested in ideas of growth, flow and movement. I think this can be seen in my jewellery.
What’s your favourite part of being a Jewellery Designer?
Being able to create freely. I love that I have a job where I can be creative and work with my hands. I also love taking a design to fruition, going through the whole process and then getting to see/wear the finished article. It’s such a satisfying feeling when all of the elements of your design come together, the final finish has been applied and it is complete!
What’s your design process?
My design process is very play-led and surface driven. I start in my sketchbook, scribbling down sketches of starting points for ideas. Then I take this into the workshop to start playing. This is where designs start to bloom.
I really enjoy this process, letting my hands and my brain work together to develop techniques and designs to form something new. My background in textiles often informs my approach to my design process, building up surfaces – just like embellishing a piece of fabric.
What do you love about jewellery?
Jewellery is a little piece of wearable art, something you can take and wear everywhere you go. It’s also a piece of art that moves and interacts with your body. I’m particularly fond of rings, I love that when you wear them, you can also see and admire them all day. This makes them extra special for me.
How did you start creating jewellery?
My background is actually in textile design, which I have my degree in. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I got into metal work. I’d always been fascinated by jewellery when I was younger, putting weird and wonderful charms and found objects together into pendants, but had never considered it as a career.
In my third year of university I began to make textile inspired jewellery (which didn’t really work for me) but knew I wanted to get into working with precious metals. So when I graduated, I enrolled in an evening class once a week and loved it!
A couple of years later, I managed to get a place at the lovely Bishopsland Educational Trust, which was a wonderful eye opener into the world of jewellery and silversmithing and helped propel me to where I am today.
Why did you fall in love with jewellery design?
I love jewellery design as I love making it, I love looking at it and I love wearing it! I enjoy working within the constraints of it being slightly functional and wearable, but having the freedom to create anything within this.
It satisfies my need to work with my hands – with the rhythms and gestures of making. I also feel with jewellery I’ve achieved what I was always striving for in textiles. I was fascinated with heavy embroideries on sheer fabric and lace, but struggled to capture what I wanted. But in jewellery design I’ve been able to do that by taking away the background fabric and leaving the heavy embroideries.
Who else inspires you?
There are so many wonderful jewellery designers and makers who inspire me everyday. I’m also very much in awe of the fashion designers Rodarte. I adore how they put things together, contrasting fabrics and surfaces. And also the story of their collections, how they stitch together different inspirations into one collection.
How do you juggle all the different aspects of the job?
I quite enjoy the juggle, I think my brain appreciates the change – from the creative side to the practical side. I also have a part time job a couple of days a week, in a lovely family-run fine jewellers. It can sometimes be pretty tricky to navigate the right work/life balance but it’s so worth it to be able to spend my time immersed in jewellery and beautiful materials.
What advice would you give to people looking to buy jewellery from independent makers, but who don’t know where to look or how to go about it?
Seek out craft fairs, independent craft/jewellery galleries and your local guild. I am a member of the Makers Guild Wales, who host an array of different talented makers. Like many of them, Makers Guild Wales also has a gallery featuring work by many of their members.
Also Instagram is such a handy tool for discovering makers and keeping up to date with what people are making and up and coming events.