Meet the Vanilla Ink Residents - Kaela Hogg

A few months ago, the Vanilla Ink workshop welcomed five wonderful jewellers into our new space within MAKLab

We wanted to spend a bit of time introducing you to residents of the Vanilla Ink Workshop.

First up is Kaela Hogg, we asked Kaela a few questions around her and her work.

VI - Tell us a bit about yourself?

KH - I was born in Scotland but lived in Thailand for the majority of the year until the age of four, before making the permanent move back to Scotland again for school. Ever since then, we would go back to visit once a year and I would always come back with stories to tell. Having grown up with dual heritage, I have been exposed to two very contrasting, yet exciting, cultures which I've come to appreciate more as I've gotten older. Growing up I have always been creative, and from an early age I established that I was definitely design driven. Once entering the foundation year at Duncan of Jordanstone, the course allowed me to try out different aspects of design, and this was when I decided to specialise into Jewellery & Metal. Before the commencement of the course however, metal was a completely foreign material to me which made it even more exciting! I soon realised that the possibilities did not end there, and I shortly went onto explore other materials.  

VI -  Your work is described as a ‘transition of cultures’ how did you translate this into your work?

KH - I decided to translate this into my work by creating some movement in my pieces. I wanted to explore different ways of how I could do this so the experimentation stage was quite fun. There are lots of intricate and unexpected details that move in my work, I think this makes it more interesting for the wearer but allows more interaction. This aspect also helped in terms of the materials I was using. As I had decided to work with silver, acrylic and aluminium, I felt as though the combination was feeling a bit too static and rigid, so injecting movement was a great way of solving this. I think with design, you need to decide what it is you want to do, but then be able to problem solve around it.

VI - Your work is heavily inspired by Thai architecture, can you tell us why you particularly focused on this aspect of your culture?

KH - Initially, I wanted the project to explore the cultural differences between both sides of my heritage. However, as my final year progressed, I wanted to concentrate on the Thai side; the most unknown to the people that surround me. On our yearly trips to Thailand whilst growing up, we would always visit the Thai temples with my family. Although I didn't know too much about what was going on, I was always amazed by the intricate patterns, vivid colours and different features. I would still visit on my own accord purely because I think they're beautiful and I find the architecture truly inspiring. Although I am not Buddhist myself, I definitely appreciate and respect my Mum's way of life and I am amazed by the practices they follow.

VI - What processes and materials do you enjoy using?

KH - My work involves various processes and materials, and what I find interesting is how to combine them together. Taking inspiration from my drawings and photography, I draw up linear shapes which would be translated onto Illustrator for laser-cutting. I then take these shapes to create new ones through repetition and reflection, which develops onto creating my own patterns. These patterns are used for sublimation printing onto aluminium and laser-engraving onto acrylic. Even though I have introduced technology into my work, my pieces are still very much hands on. I like to spend time in the workshop experimenting with different compositions and structures. I feel I have a good balance of incorporating modern technology alongside traditional techniques such as keum-boo and lost wax casting.

VI - What tool could you not live without?

KH - As I use a lot of cold connections in my work, I definitely could not live without my trusty mini ball pein hammer that I used for riveting! I'm also a big fan of my titanium pick which I now use for soldering after picking up a new technique on exchange in Toronto. Oh, and of course my jewellers saw as I enjoy intricate saw-piercing! To be honest, this list could go on as us jewellers need so many tools!!

VI - What’s your own personal taste in jewellery?

KH - I would say my personal taste is rather vast as I appreciate varied types of jewellery. For me, a piece has to be instantly visually appealing whether it be through the use of colour, shapes, pattern, processes or materials. I appreciate good design and an interesting concept behind the work definitely makes it more thought provoking.

VI - What’s your favourite piece you have ever made?

KH - I would definitely say my crazy ring piece that I like to call The Palace. It has two ring shanks, the middle of the ring sits above your knuckle and when you bend your finger it will open to reveal an etched pattern. It could be used as a defence weapon really, I definitely would not be allowed on a plane with it anyway.

VI - You’re now in the new Vanilla Ink Workshop @ MAKLab, are you enjoying being part of the studios?

KH - I absolutely love the space! With a jewellery workshop, alongside a textiles space inside the hub of MAKLab, it is a great interdisciplinary space. Although I haven't taken advantage of all the facilities yet, it literally has everything I need to carry out my work. And you can't forget Maklab's mascot Brutus! Thank you for having me so far!

VI - How do you see your work evolving, what’s next for Kaela Hogg Jewellery?

KH - Now that I have created a body of work for my graduate collection, I feel as though I have created a style that is recognisable to myself as a designer. I would like to continue with this to create pieces that are more for everyday wear. Really, I would just like for people see a piece of my work and to instantly recognise that it's mine. Now that I am settled at Vanilla Ink, I wish to continue with my work to create new designs. I would also like to be able to learn 3D modelling skills which is the way forward and its really exciting!

You can keep up to date with Kaela through her facebook page, instagram and twitter.