I find it fascinating how different designers approach the making and design process in different ways.
Most of the people I interview on The Jewellery Spot say the design of a piece of jewellery is the most important thing to them. And they evolve their businesses to a point where they are designing, but someone else is making their pieces.
But for Laura Creer, it’s the making of a piece which she finds the most important. Maybe it’s because she started out as a maker, rather than designer. But it’s the making she enjoys most!
Read here about her work, which combines metal, porcelain and even cotton!
We need to get to know you! What’s your favourite toast topping?
I am very definitely a huge dollop of real butter and honey fan.
How would you describe your jewellery?
My work is heavily textured and bursting with colour and pattern. Metal-wise I work in sterling silver, creating organic textures in the surface of the metal using heat manipulating techniques – such as reticulation and fusing.
I add colour contrasting detail in the form of 24ct gold foil, applied using the ancient Korean technique called Keum-boo. Then if that’s not enough, I dabble in porcelain pieces as well. I get to create my own colour palette and add some chunkier pieces that merge with my metalwork.
It’s the best of both worlds really.
What materials do you use?
Sterling silver, 24ct gold foil, porcelain, cotton rope.
Where do you create your jewellery?
I have a very little box room at home which is perfectly sized for my workshop. Having said that I will have to move out of it next year to make room for baby number two. So I’m eyeing up part of the garage or a garden studio for 2020.
Where did you learn how to create jewellery?
I initially went to night school at Leeds College of Art to do a Jewellery OCN course, about 18 years ago. Soon after I had a career change and worked full time in the workshop of the UK’s largest jewellery manufacturers. This is where I learnt the bulk of my skills, along with self-directed experimentation!
What’s the favourite piece in your jewellery collection?
At the moment it’s my newest work as I’ve had a little flurry of new designs. My favourite piece would have to be my Lunar Necklace.
What’s the piece you’re most proud of creating?
My favourite ever piece is my Petal Necklace. I’ve been making it for many years but it brings together my style of work over the years and most designs can be linked back to it in some way or another. It’s also well loved by my customers, which is an added delight.
What’s your favourite part of being a Jewellery Designer?
It’s really hard to isolate one part of what I do as my favourite bit. It’s all interlinked to be honest. I love the flexibility of being self employed, but specific to the job itself it would have to be meeting my customers and seeing which pieces they love and spend their hard earned money on.
It’s such a proud moment every time someone shops with me and recognises the hard work and love that has gone into making that piece of jewellery.
If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you be?
Well, alongside being a jewellery designer/maker, I’m actually a teacher as well. I teach adults how to make jewellery in five classes a week, so I’d have to say I would still be an educator of sorts, maybe an art teacher. It would have to be something that involves working with my hands.
I often daydream about being a joiner as well. I made all of my display system for shows out of wood, and laid my reclaimed wood flooring at home. So whatever it is, it would be something handy!
What’s your proudest moment of being a Jewellery Designer?
When I get to see the affection for my work in a prospective customer, or getting some lovely feedback.
Have you ever gone travelling? Has this inspired you at all?
I went travelling when I was 20 – 20 years ago now! I travelled around South America. I wouldn’t say it inspired me, although it was just before I started jewellery making.
My main inspiration that I link back to travel, is the artist Gustav Klimt. I lived in Eastern Europe from the age of 10-17 with my family. I was always drawn to Art Nouveau, especially the lush gold in Klimt’s work. It definitely led me towards working with 24ct gold foil in my jewellery designs and featuring lots of circles. I also learnt pottery as a 13year old in Bulgaria, so my creative side and love for ceramics began then too.
What’s your design process?
The design side of things can be a bit reflective really. I don’t sit down and sketch ideas, I very much experiment at my bench and explore designs during the making process. I put myself down as a maker before a designer, I think that comes from starting my journey in manufacturing and not the Art degree route. I am also a pretty shoddy drawer.
How important is jewellery design to you?
The design side is secondary for me. It’s more important that the jewellery is well made and functions as a wearable piece. I also enjoy the making side the most, so this is where I make sure the magic happens.
What do you love about jewellery?
I love that it can trigger a memory, and give you a feeling of nostalgia. I can (hand on heart) tell you where and when I got each piece of jewellery I own. I also love that it can span generations and link them together by being passed on to others.
What are your aspirations for your business?
I don’t aspire to out grow my sole trader set up. I love working for myself and the liberty it brings.
I do want to spend more focus getting the online side of my business more coherent. I’m due to have a baby in March 2020, so that will slow me down next year and give me a chance to step back and assess things. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now, so I have a good idea on how to manage the twists and turns.
Who’s the most important person in your life and why?
I can’t pick just the one. It is very definitely my small and perfectly formed family. That includes my son and husband but also my parents and sister. They’re such an immense support and have always championed me over the years.
Where do you feel most inspired?
At my jewellery bench…faced with scraps and shapes that I play with and help start the journey.
What inspires you?
The techniques I use are very unpredictable and this drives my work. I love seeing how each piece turns out. So it’s very much from the act of making and bringing an idea together.
How do you juggle all the different aspects of the job?
Not very well! I am not particularly organised or tidy. I’d love to have a streamlined system and feeling of control, but it’s very rare to be honest. I’m great at making jewellery… not so much at all of the computer stuff. I really need to have a little focus on mastering the technical side of my website.
You can find out more about Laura at her website here.