Vanilla Ink currently houses 5 resident jewellers. This is Emma Gall an Edinburgh College of Art graduate who works with alternative materials and combines them with silver to create unique and natural pieces of jewellery.Read More
This week sees an introduction to our third resident Nicky Faill. If you have been keeping up, we have already introduced you to Kaela Hogg and GLF Jewellery. In this industry, Nicky spends quite a bit of his time being the token boy, he shares with us his inspirations, his processes and his favourite tool.
VI: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
NF: My name is Nicky Faill and I was born and grew up in Falkirk but throughout my childhood I had a natural pull towards Glasgow. My parents both come from the west coast so I think thats why when it came time to decide where to study Glasgow was the only option in my mind. Originally I wanted to study Architecture but due to a happy accident in my higher art class the idea to study Jewellery came out of nowhere really. I had heard about a course at Cardonald College and it sounded like a perfect way to see if Jewellery was the thing for me. It was and after finishing my HND I was accepted into second year at Glasgow School of Art where I graduated from this year. I have always had a love of making, as a child living in the countryside I was always making dens or swords as any young boy does. That continued into school where I spent most of my time in the craft and design department either in the workshop or being more technical sat in front of a drawing board or a computer on CAD.
VI: Tell us a bit about your work - what inspires you?
NF: For my degree collection I began by looking back at all previous projects and essentially making one big Frankenstein of my favourite parts. I have always been interested in technology, from using CAD and Photoshop to do pretty much all my design work to 3D printing and CNC milling. The idea was to use these tools but flip it on its head so to speak. I am also heavily inspired by music and wanted to see the possibilities of combining the two. My original want to become an architect also plays a big part in the aesthetic of my work, sharp lines and bold geometric form are big influences and an aesthetic I just can't get away from.
VI: Tell us about the processes you use.
My process is pretty much all digital. I begin by using a programme called Quartz Composer which allows me to build my own visualisers. By playing live sound into the computer the visualiser comes into action. I screen record everything that happens then go back frame by frame finding interesting points of interaction. Then the fun begins. Taking something from a digital relm with no rules into the physical can be difficult but after several models and brain malfunctions I have an object that will work and then it is simply (or not as is more the case) recreating that in metal.
VI: We know you are a lover of music, you write music and you make music but what do you love more, jewellery or making music?
NF: I have never been asked this before so this is a tough one. I would have to say equal amounts. Writing a song and designing a piece go through similar stages, wondering if it's really going to work and then the feeling when you complete it and it all works out. The feeling you get when you sell a piece or get good feedback from an exhibition and playing music live I feel are very similar so I would definitely have to say I have the same passion for them both. Finding a new jeweller or a new band give me the same excitement as well.
VI: What tool could you not live without?
NF: I could very easily say my laptop as it really is my design tool but I will always be able to make without it. So I would really have to say my digital callipers. I am a bit OCD when it come to squares being square and sizes matching up.
VI: We discovered that you like to name your pieces, tell us about George. What other names have your pieces have and who are they inspired by?
NF: George was the first piece I finished for my degree show collections. I have always loved the process of naming pieces and I wanted my degree show collection I wanted them to have some meaning. I decided to name all my pieces after people that have inspired me throughout my studies. Cathy and Craig were named after my mum and dad. I named a piece Mary after an old neighbour who was a huge influence to me thoughout my life. That one probably meant the most. The others were named after tutors (Helen, Guthrie/Munro and Jonathan). George was a little different, it was named after a wooden glittery motivational tortoise that we had in our final year. He gave us inspirational quotes to help us get through the year so in a way George represents my fellow classmates.
VI: Can you describe your own personal jewellery taste?
NF: It is very varied, Jack Cunningham was my first big admiration. Two of my tutors for GSA, Andrew Lamb and Jonathan Boyd are also favourites of mine, the technical aspect as well as the story behind their work as well as them being lovely guys is something I really like. I remember seeing a Ruudt Peters show at Schmuk in Munich and that kind of blew my mind. I am also really inspired by the graphic design of Tom Pigeon as well as Matt Burns who works for Freytag and Anderson who I actually met through work designing a label for Brewdog which was a super cool experience.
VI: What have you got planned for Nicky Faill?
NF: Short term plans are to experiment, I have some whacky ideas that I have no idea if they will work so the next while will be looking to work those out and then longer term to be showing at Elements (fingers crossed it happens again) and going down to Goldsmiths Fair. I have applied to the getting started programme they run so I hope to get onto that course which is a week long intense course in January. I have also been asked back to GSA for the artist in residence programme so that involves one day a week helping to teach which will be interesting.
VI: You’re now in the Vanilla Ink workshop - what do you think so far?
NF: The space is amazing, sadly life has kind of got in the way so making a designing has kind of ground to a halt but the space has everything I could want and being attached to MAKLab I am sure I will find a way for my crazy ideas to come into fruition.
Nicky uses Instagram to capture his inspirations and his work, you can follow him here.
Next week we chat to Miriam Woolf.
We are spending some time to introduce you to the Vanilla Ink residents currently taking up a bench in our workshop at MAKLab Glasgow.
VI: Tell us a bit about yourself?
GF: I grew up just outside of Glasgow. I am very fortunate to have creative parents and grandparents who nourished my interest in art and design. I remember many a holiday absorbing culture and the arts at exhibitions. I loved these experiences and always wanted to find out about the history of artists as well as admiring the colours and textures. There were always art materials in the house and my mum was often drawing and painting with me. I always knew I wanted to do something in art and design but I thought I would focus on drawing and painting until my fantastic art teacher introduced me to jewellery and how diverse and beautiful a subject it is. The work of Jacqueline Ryan and Giovanni Corvaja mesmerised me and made me want to experience working in metal so I undertook an evening course at the Glasgow School of Art. This affirmed my desire to go into Jewellery and Silversmithing, I decided to spread my wings and chose to study at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. I worked in many materials at Birmingham, it wasn’t until my final year at university that I began to explore what I could do with precious metal and after making my final collection I wanted to develop this further. Postgraduate training at Bishopsland allowed me to refine my metal skills and develop other essential skills for working as a jeweller. I moved back to Glasgow in 2011 and have been developing my skills and selling in shops and galleries as well as working to commission.
VI: What inspires/inspired you to make?
My work is inspired by nature, I spend a lot of time outdoors swimming at Loch Lomond, on the bike, running and walking. I constantly admire the scenery as I travel through it and notice the simple forms of nature and beautifully eroded man made forms. I use photography and drawing as a means to record these and work through the design process to create patterns and forms that I can use in my work. Designing and making in precious metals challenges and relaxes me. I am amazed by metal working processes and I am glad to work in a field where I will always be learning. I enjoy working with clients on commission for wedding bands and special presents. It is lovely to be able to make something special for someone to give to someone they love or to commemorate a special event.
VI: You work big and small, which do you prefer?
I enjoy working both big and small. I thought I would be a jeweller through and through until there was a competition amongst ‘the gang’ at Bishopsland to design a piece of silverware for a Goldsmiths’ Company bursary. I developed an idea for a fruit bowl inspired by pond reeds and my design was chosen for the bursary allowing me to work on a larger scale. Working on this piece challenged me and led to me making more big pieces. Jewellery is my preference as I find my designs require more problem solving and the techniques I love using are more suited to jewellery. I still design larger pieces and now I’m in Vanilla Ink maybe I’ll make some of them.
VI: Tell us about your time at Birmingham and Bishoplands.
I feel really fortunate to have experienced both The School of Jewellery (Birmingham) and Bishopsland.
Being in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter was a great place to study with so much history, the Assay Office, all the bullion merchants, stone dealers and tool suppliers on your doorstep. The school was inspirational in many ways and it was really good that all the silversmiths, jewelers, gemologists and horologists were working in the same place. The BA Jewellery Design and Silversmithing course which I took was focused on innovation and pushing the boundaries of materials and design. Over the three years we worked through many different and exciting projects pushing our creativity in design and in materials.
Bishopsland was a fantastic place to be in for the year. It gave me such good experiences in jewellery, silversmithing, working with galleries, teaching and working on a special project with the British Museum. We produced our designs to sell at various events throughout the year including Art in Action, Henley Festival and many others. In addition to this we had weekly guidance from Angela Cork and John Bartholomew as well as specialist workshops on: chasing from Rod Kelly, gold fusing from Jacqueline Mina and spent a week in Scotland learning engraving with Malcolm Appleby. I got to develop the metal working skills I longed for and gain an understanding of what it’s like to work as a jeweller/ silversmith. The gang all had very different styles; we worked together and learned a lot from each other too. It was great to see how the new skills we were learning added something different to everyone’s work. I would recommend this experience to any graduate who wants to develop their metal skills and gain a varied experience in the industry.
VI: Do you see a difference in working and learning in Glasgow to other place you’ve worked?
Absolutely, each place I have worked has been very different. I am glad I experienced living and working elsewhere but now I’ve found my feet again in Glasgow you can’t beat it. The creative industries seem to be taking off in Scotland and in particular Glasgow, there are so many opportunities emerging in jewellery. I am very excited to be part of this development.
VI: What tool could you not live without?
I find this hard to answer as I couldn’t live without so many but if I have to choose one It’s my handy ring vice that helps me hold tiny things and protects my fingers.
VI: We’ve seen you playing with lots of stones in the workshop - what’s your favourite stone?
I’ve always loved emeralds, it’s my birthstone and green is my favourite colour. I also love how the unique conditions from which they are formed means that all emeralds involve inclusions.
VI: What’s your own personal taste in Jewellery?
I don’t have a specific taste in jewellery, I love many different types of jewellery: Egyptian, Art Deco, Celtic and Modern Contemporary. I like highly skilled or well-designed work as well as quirkier work. My most recent purchase was a pair of earrings by Helen Noakes her work is really fun.
VI: What have you got planned for GLF jewellery?
I plan on developing GLF jewellery as a brand over the next few years. I’m quite excited about my new designs and cant wait to start making them over the next few weeks and seeing how they do over Christmas. Watch this space!
The Vanilla Ink Workshop in MAKLab filled it's benches a few months ago. We want to take some time to introduce you to the new residents. First up is DJCAD graduate, Kaela Hogg.Read More