VI | Tell us a bit about yourself Aileen.
AB | I'm originally from the Highlands, I moved to Glasgow 20 years ago to train as a nurse. I have been working as a staff nurse for nearly 18 years now and presently I do 23 hours a week, leaving me plenty of time for my true passion, jewellery making. I started making jewellery about 12 years ago when I received some basic tuition from Shona Carnegie.
VI | What brought you to jewellery making?
AB | This led me to begin to collect equipment, materials and literature. At first I was interested in various crafts and undertook a night-class in woodwork, tried felting and clothing making and made my own cards. I realised that I would never fully master any craft unless I devoted my time to it and it alone. I began to learn the art of jewellery making with many hours at my bench and from books, on line resources and the occasional one to one lesson.
VI | Who or what do you take your inspirations?
AB | My inspirations come from various sources, some architectural, some organic. I regularly take found objects home to my bench for reference and from there use sketches and paper experiments to form and refine my ideas. I have taken some influence from books and other jewellers work too.
VI | What do you use/how do you make your work?
AB | I mainly use sterling silver in my work with occasional pieces of yellow gold. In my work I use various techniques such as soldering, milling, piercing, sawing and forming. I have a particular passion for geometric shapes and also organic plant based shapes. To enable me to create these very different forms I employ the use of wax modelling and casting as well as roller milling and forming.
VI | What do you enjoy the most about making?
AB | My most precious and exciting moments have been and always will be when I realise a design that has been difficult and when I sell to a customer. Each of these moments in their own way make me feel fulfilled and confident.
VI | What don’t you enjoy?
AB | Frustration is a common emotion felt by any jeweller or artist. I feel frustration when struggling to get a design fully realised or when something gets in the way of my jewellery making plans.
VI | What are your aspirations?
AB | My aspirations are fairly simple, I would like to be a successful jeweller! In the short term I would like to prepare a portfolio to show potential clients, create a website and learn more about marketing, selling and branding. In the long term I would like to have a full range of jewellery with which I am able to earn a well established reputation and enough income to replace my current job.
VI | What’s your favourite piece you have created?
AB | My favourite piece of jewellery that I have created is probably my own wedding ring, a simple silver ring that cost about £1.20 and was made in a rush in the lead up to my wedding. My favourite piece in my collections is the 'Bloom' necklace, made from circles of silver which have been roller milled to create a delicate surface and then formed to make subtle movements in each circle. Each piece is then soldered in order of size until a natural circular shape is revealed.
VI | Who’s work do you admire?
AB | My admiration goes to any artist who is working to create jewellery of any kind that is honest and made to as high a standard as is possible. I look at galleries such as 'e.g.etal' to look at the work of those who I admire.
Follow Aileen's journey through Vanilla Ink until she gets her own website and social media up and running.