Peaches. Have you ever seen a jewellery collection based on peaches? Well, you have now.
When I met Eloise Kramer, she’d been selected as one of IJL’s Bright Young Gems.
Her work is so creative and I love the playful aspect of it. Her first collection’s fantastic because it nods to peaches, whilst not all being explicitly about the fruit. For instance, the introduction of fruit fly rings and a peach stone ring inside a peach-shaped box were so inspired and, (pardon the pun!) so refreshing!
I was also struck with the passion Eloise has for her work, as well as clear determination and hard work ethic…she certainly is one to watch, so I was thrilled she agreed to be interviewed for The Jewellery Spot!
How would you describe your jewellery?
Romantic, playful, poetic.
What materials do you use?
I like to use a mix of precious and non-precious materials, chosen for the qualities they offer to the piece rather than their ‘value’. My graduate collection featured copper and resin alongside 18 carat gold, orange sapphires, brown diamonds and ebony. I’ve been refining my use of materials, working in 9 carat gold and precious stones, with some elements in resin.
Where do you create your jewellery?
After graduating from Central Saint Martins I moved back to Northamptonshire. I work in London a few days a week so I pop into Hatton Garden to pick up materials and meet with people in the industry.
During University I worked as a bench assistant to a mounter, I now work collaboratively with him to produce my work. I make the original prototypes at my bench, then I meet with him and we discuss the design – considering how it could be improved and any problems we can foresee.
I trust him to use his skills and experience to produce the piece. If stones are a feature then the piece is passed to a setter, and then to the polisher. When creating bespoke boxes I’ll work with a woodturner or furniture maker. I oversee the creative process from start to finish.
Your current collection is inspired by peaches. What is it about peaches that inspires you?
Art and nature are two big sources of inspiration for me. This collection was inspired by still life paintings. In these paintings each object and element has been carefully considered. The peach features in many of the paintings due to its symbolic associations.
The fruit of immortality, eating peaches is believed to bestow eternal life. It’s a symbol of prosperity and is also believed to have protective magic. Peaches have a feminine charm with their plump shape, soft furry skin and smooth curves.
Desirable when ripe, fruit inevitably decays, this ephemerality adds to its romance. This is where the fruit flies come in, stacking up the rings they swarm around the peaches. The symbolic qualities of the peach appealed to me and fit with the qualities I bring to my jewellery. I felt that these would also appeal to the women who I would like to wear my work.
You recently graduated from Central Saint Martins. How has the transition been from college to running a business?
It’s been challenging. I’ve found building a network of other makers, freelance designers and industry professionals invaluable. I’m lucky to be part of such a supportive industry, with people who I can ask for guidance and advice.
What’s the favourite piece in your jewellery collection?
I loved the peach ring from my graduate collection. It’s made from copper and resin, the two materials come together to create an iridescent quality. I am currently developing smaller, more wearable versions of this design.
The fruit fly rings look great with the peach ring. I like to wear multiple pieces of jewellery at once, and develop my collections so pieces can be worn together to tell a story, developing a visual narrative on the body.
What’s the piece you’re most proud of creating?
The peach stone ring and bespoke box. This piece was supported by British jewellery designer Solange Azagury-Partridge. During the third year at Saint Martins, Solange runs a competition to design a ring. She chose my design, allowing me to create the ring in 18ct gold, with orange sapphires and brown diamonds.
The peach box is made in ebony. I worked with a wood turner to create this, magnets are set in the peach slice which is the ‘lid’ of the box. The piece is an object d’art, a small piece of sculpture, not just a piece of jewellery. It showcases my aspirations as a designer and my passion for British craftsmanship.
What’s your favourite part of being a Jewellery Designer?
As a designer, I see myself as the person with the vision. I developed making skills during my degree but I enjoy having the opportunity to work with others who have specialist skills, this allows me to realise my vision without limitation. I get a huge amount of satisfaction producing designs that others enjoy working on.
It’s important to me that there’s pleasure in the work. I think you can see this in the finished pieces. It’s very much a team effort. When you buy one of my pieces you are supporting a line of other craftspeople. I am passionate that everything is made in the UK and that I support the skill we have in this country.
What’s your proudest moment of being a Jewellery Designer?
Being selected to attend the inaugural Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery design summer school in Paris this summer. It was a privilege to step into the world of this distinguished jewellery house and work alongside the design team.
Showcasing at International Jewellery London as a Bright Young Gem was a fantastic opportunity, allowing me to present my work to the industry and launch my business.
Do you work directly with customers? Or sell your work to galleries.
I do a bit of both. My graduate collection was more sculptural than wearable. I explored ideas and developed a concept but it wasn’t ‘retail ready’. I’ve also been refining the pieces I developed for the collection. And also moving into 9ct gold and precious stones, and raising the level of craftsmanship.
I showcased these pieces at IJL and received positive feedback from retailers. These new pieces will hopefully find homes in shops and galleries, whilst they can also be purchased from me directly. For bespoke pieces I work directly with my clients.
hese new pieces will find homes in shops and galleries, whilst they can also be purchased from me directly. For bespoke pieces I work directly with my clients.
What’s your design process?
I start with research, visiting art galleries, museums and libraries. I am constantly on the lookout for inspiring and unusual things, taking photographs and collecting objects. Drawing is very important to me, I always have a sketchbook with me.
Initially I create quick sketches of ideas, before I add colour. I also use Adobe Illustrator to prepare technical drawings, if and when they’re needed. I make prototypes and models to help figure out designs in 3D and see how they’re working on the body.
What do you love about jewellery?
For me jewellery design fits alongside my love of art, design and culture. It allows me to bring together colour, texture and my keen eye for detail. I love the unique way that jewellery holds poetry and sentiment in the form of an object that is so personal.
How did you start creating jewellery?
I started creating jewellery during my degree at Central Saint Martins. I’ve always been creative, making models and drawing. Art was my starting point. Initially I developed my skills across art based media and textiles. Jewellery seems like the perfect way to bring my skills and interests together.
During my degree I created conceptual contemporary pieces, which were more sculptural than wearable. This allowed me to explore ideas but weren’t pieces that could be enjoyed by the wearer. During my final year I moved towards creating jewellery in a more ‘traditional’ sense, pieces that you could enjoy wearing that had a strong sense of style and design.
What are your aspirations for your business?
I enjoy designing bespoke pieces, working with craftspeople, pushing design and skill. I’d like to develop this side of the business, alongside creating accessible collections which can be worn day to day, with a few special show stoppers.
Where do you feel most inspired?
I love disappearing into the Victoria and Albert Museum for the day. The variety of the collection is so inspiring, the pieces in the jewellery gallery are stunning. Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, providing something different throughout the year.
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?
Blogs and Instagram have made it so easy to find new designers work. Personally, I love finding jewellery gallery gems.Iin London there’s a great selection from contemporary jewellery such as the SO gallery through to Gill Wing. But outside of London they’re harder to find.
There’s a local gallery where I live in Olney called BOO. Louise the owner stocks beautiful contemporary jewellery and I really admire how she’s bringing exciting makers to an audience outside of the jewellery world. The Goldsmiths’ Fair is an event that should be in every jewellery lovers calendar. The Sarabande Foundation also supports exciting new talent.
A jeweller has to be multi-skilled! How do you find that?
It’s a constant juggling act. Making connections with people who have skills that I don’t has been very important. I have found that people are more than happy to help, all you have to do is ask.
Gaining work experience whilst at University at a range of different companies, from traditional workshops to commercially successful brands presented me with different ways of working which I can now bring to my own business. Organisation is key, but even with a plan you can’t foresee everything. I need to be adaptable, open minded and willing to learn something new everyday!
Jewellers often have to work flexible hours, how does that fit in with the rest of your life?
I have a job whilst I establish my business. The work I do allows me the flexibility to create my own work whilst givine me stability to build my business. I’m lucky to have the support of friends and family. It can be hard to find a balance, but I hope it will happen with time.