Vanilla Ink: Tell us a little bit about yourself, who are you, where you grew up?
Emma: I grew up in the tinniest of villages in Dumfries and Galloway. It definitely led to an appreciation of nature, and as I got older that translated into a love of texture and organic forms. I was a collector from an early age and I became increasingly interested in art and design. I graduated a few years ago from ECA. I took a break from making after college so I've really just got back to it this year. I live in the Southside of Glasgow now which I love.
VI: Did you always want to make jewellery? If not, what was the pivotal moment for you?
EG: I was always pretty sure I wanted to make jewellery once I had decided to pursue going to Art college. I tried to keep an open mind in my first year when we got to try out a bit of everything, and I did enjoy glass and textiles but nothing really compared. When I did the jewellery rotation it just felt right. I was in awe of all the processes and just wanted to learn everything.
VI: What inspires your work, do you think this will always inspire your work?
EG: What really inspires my work is the overlooked textures and patterns in nature. I try to highlight something interesting in each object that I find, whether that is shape or colour or pattern. I think it is likely to always inspire me as I still find it impossible to walk past driftwood without picking it up and imagining what it could be. However, I do want to start concentrating more on transferring the features that interest me in natural objects into metal as well.
Of course I'm also hugely inspired by the work of other artists. There is so much talent in the contemporary jewellery community and beyond that in fine art and other design disciplines. I think it's so beneficial to get out of the studio and go to exhibitions and events to see whats out there, it can be re-energising.
VI: You’re also inspired by your coastal home - do you find it hard getting the same kind of inspiration from Glasgow?
EG: I think there's still loads to take from Glasgow, it's a really green city so I'm constantly collecting on walks - much to the annoyance of my husband and friends! I also love old architecture and crumbling structures. You can find inspiration anywhere, for example I took photos of the rusted stairs at my train stop last week in preparation for some enamel work. But I do really look forward to days away at the beach.
VI: Do you find it difficult working with unusual materials; like bone?
EG: Yes and no. It does mean you are usually starting with a set shape, such as the circle of bone, and that can be hard to see past. You can find a beautiful piece of wood or slate but it doesn't always easily translate into something wearable. Sometimes it can be really frustrating because everything you find is a one off. That makes it hard to make a repeat commercial collection, but its also what makes the work unique. I've had this debate a lot with myself lately, but ultimately I think you can only really make good work by being true to what inspires you, whether that makes you're life difficult or not!
VI: What tool could you not live without?
EG: Tricky one! I think my ball pein hammer as it gives my metal a weathered texture to compliment the natural elements, not to mention it lets me avoid my fear of polished surfaces!
VI: What’s your own personal jewellery taste?
EG: I love so many designers who make completely different styles of work. I have a beautiful pair of earrings by my friend Mariko Sumioka that I adore. I love Caroline Holt, Pauline Edie, Grace Girvan, Heather Woof, Emma Mcfarline and Grace Hamilton to name just a few.
VI: What’s next for Emma Gall Jewellery?
EG: There's so much I want to do and make still! I'm really looking forward to the Vanilla Ink enameling course this November. I've been wanting to start adding some colour to my work for a long time.
Now that I've got my website set up and some work behind me i'll be focusing on getting my work into galleries and maybe doing a Christmas craft fair.
VI: How have you found being a resident in Vanilla Ink so far?
EG: Brilliant! It's a great space with a really nice chilled atmosphere. I only wish I could be there full time. Being based in MAKlab, there is always loads of exciting new technology and work being created around you which is great. And of coarse we get the pleasure of Brutus the workshop dog's company!