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Meet the maker...Rhiannon Thomas

September 16, 2017

 

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to silversmithing and making jewellery?

The amount of control you can have over even the finest detail really appeals to me -- coming from a fashion background, usually you have to work with so many variables. This just is, in the best way possible. It can be whatever you want it to be. Carving and moulding something into your vision feels amazing (when it goes the way you want it to).


Your pieces are named after character flaws (some of which are hilarious - Stage 5 Clinger people!) where did the idea for that come from?

Ha! I’m glad you think so. A friend jokingly suggested it, and as it snowballed no other idea had the same appeal. I love the idea of acknowledging that no one is perfect, especially when rings are associated with beauty and adornment. It’s a great equaliser. I like it when people don’t take themselves too seriously. I also love the idea of connecting jewellery to a part of your personality, each piece then becomes symbolically more than adornment. A pretty thing is nothing if it doesn’t mean anything to you.


Can you describe what the process of silversmithing looks like?

My current process usually is to carve the object I want to make from wax, which can take any shape I want it to, and is such a fun and fluid process, but it’s easy for it to get away from you and carve too much. It’s much like cutting your own hair -- one moment there’s just one thing you want to fix, and next minute you’re bald.


I like to work and design as I carve, though if it’s for someone specifically I’ll channel my idea of them while I’m working. It’s very much informed by my mood or that person or thing I’ve been inspired by lately. Channeling whims and essences into tangible things is the whole point.


Basically, forged into each piece is a tiny, tortured part of my soul.


Lost-wax casting is used to create the cast, which forms the main structure of the ring. Once that’s returned to me, I go about making that ring into its final form using smithing tools. It’s the perfect method -- creative, adaptable and with as little waste as possible.


Where do you draw inspiration from your designs from? Are there any other artists or designers who inspire you?

Moreso for process, yes. The frustration of the creative process is very well documented. I like to think that these people had moments when they hated everything they did -- but making it felt better than everything else. Barbara Hepworth speaks beautifully and insightfully about her progression as a sculptor.


I like work that evokes a strong emotion -- the paintings of Pierre Soulages, David Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe of course.

What would you be doing if you weren’t designing and creating jewellery?

Crying into a pillow, worrying about what to do with my life.


Do you think you will ever work with other precious metals or stones?

Yes, gold especially! I have also worked with lapis lazuli, and there’s so much beauty in precious stones. It’s just a case of the right commission!


And finally, what do you do to relax at the end of a long day of being creative?

Truly, I live in fear of unwinding in case I never start working again. That said, I also like a nice gin or whiskey.

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