We are so happy to introduce you to a new member of our team, Jen Cunningham (aka JewelleryJen). She joins us on a freelance basis and will be working with Scott in the workshop! Jen is also our newest resident Inker (very handy for us). She has taken up a bench in the studios and is running her own practice from Vanilla Ink.
I caught up with Jen and hear about her trips to Finland, moving back to Glasgow and her idol, Dorothy Hogg!
VI: Hey Jewellery Jen! How are you?
Jen: Hey Vanilla Ink, I am great thanks. Really thrilled to be a part of your team and have a studio with you in Glasgow!
VI: We are so excited to have you join the residents of Vanilla Ink and our teeny tiny team. I’ve known you for 15 years!!!! But for our pals, tell us a little bit about you?
Jen: 15 years, isn't that awesome! Well Hello Vanilla Ink fans, I'm JewelleryJen and I have been a jeweller for over a decade. I have been fully self-employed since 2013 running my own business in Edinburgh and this year I moved west to Glasgow. I recently undertook an artist's residency in Finland exploring the creative process and I have a love for Ilyengar yoga, stars, and reading.
VI: Over 10 years, wow! I'd say you’ve got yourself a well established business there, tell us a bit about your work, what you do?
Jen: I design and make jewellery in a range of metals creating accurate representations of landscapes and mountains. I enjoy exploring the way light interacts with the different textures and colours of metal, trying to recreate the way the light plays across the landscapes of Scotland. I also undertake bespoke work for my clients, from using their own favourite landscapes on a piece of jewellery to reworking their old unworn jewels and giving them a new lease of life.
VI: We are so lucky to have you back West, what are you looking forward to most about living in Glasgow?
Jen: I'm so excited to be back West, it's been too long! I'm really looking forward to being near my pals, a lot of my friends moved here after university so it'll be nice to be nearer them. I'm also excited to learn more from Scott and Vanilla Ink. Being the VI freelance jeweller means I'll get a lot of different jobs to do, from cleaning up castings to repairing cherished sentimental pieces. I love learning new things and I am keen to put the knowledge I have learnt in the VI classes to good use!
I'm also looking forward to exploring more of Glasgow now I finally live here. There are so many beautiful places around, I'm looking forward to exploring them with my partner and Alder our 5 and a half month old Labrador. I can see why Glasgow is called Dear Green!
VI: So you're going to be Scott's right hand woman and helping him out in the workshop, it takes a lot for Scott to hand over his work, he doesn’t just give it to any jeweller, what do you think makes you different?
Jen: No pressure then eh?! I think because Scott has seen my own work and the work I do in his classes, he knows the quality of my making and my desire to keep learning more. He has experience of working with me and knows that I'm not shy about asking questions! He can trust that if I don't know, or I'm not sure about how to do something, I'll ask. We also share a love for complex construction and problem solving!
VI: I've noticed you're a glutton for punishment, what are your weirdly favourite jobs as a jeweller?
Jen: Haha, yes one jeweller's punishment is another's total joy! I love making anything that is just beyond my comfort zone. I like a challenge as it gets me into a flow-like state, making clasps and hinges for example. The challenge of making it well and then the satisfying click when you do!
VI: Have you enjoyed your time in Vanilla Ink so far…?
Jen: Yes! I'm loving being back in a shared workshop where I can bounce ideas around and one that has all the tools I need to create things! The tools, ohh the tools!
VI: Speaking of tools, which is your favourite/couldn't live without?
Jen: My favourite tool has to be my new saw from Green Lion Studios, it's so beautiful and it's got a purple handle, which totally works with my branding. Seriously though, I've always loved my saw as I enjoy complex sawing, so it really is the tool I use the most.
VI: Do you have any jewellery idols?
Jen: I've always love Dorothy Hogg's work. She's someone I've admired for years and really it was her work that inspired me into wanting to be a jeweller, her and my art teacher at school! I love the range of Dorothy Hogg's work and the distinct collections of pieces she's created so far in her career.
VI: We are a fan of all things design in Vanilla Ink, do you have any ‘ones to watch’ tips, anyone we might not have heard of that we should follow?
Jen: Oh this is a tough question, there are so many amazing creative people out there. I love Jane Hunter's textile art, she does amazing landscape pieces. For jewellery I enjoyed Iona Hall Jewellery at this year's GSA degree show. I loved that her boxes are inspired by seascapes and things found on the beach.
VI: Finally do you join the tea (Kate) or coffee (Scott) clan?
Jen: Tea, with just a splash of milk please!