Maker's Window: Eden Silver-Myer & Zoe Stevens

Did you know all of the Gill Wing Jewellery team, design and make their own jewellery? Over the coming weeks at the gallery we will be showcasing some of their work, and giving an insight into the processes behind it.

Our first Window of the series shows off  Eden Silver-Myer and Zoe Stevens. Zoe and Eden both started working with us in November 2014, and both create their pieces in silver. They are sharing the first window to demonstrate two very different approaches to the same material, both with a beautiful but very opposite result; Zoe uses traditional skills raising silver from a flat sheet to achieve polished perfection, Eden uses controlled erosion to eat away her hand drawn patterns. They tell us a little about their own time working in the gallery...

Eden Silver-Myer

Eden worked with us from November 2014, although she is now concentrating on her MA studies, you may still see her helping in the gallery now and again! Our new windows will also help with her research for her MA and you can give your feedback to win a £100 gift voucher as a thank you!

Eden, What did you like most about working here?

Diana Porter ring available in platinum, palladium and gold

Diana Porter ring available in platinum, palladium and gold

I loved being around so much jewellery! There are not many places where you can get so up close to such a variety of work, but Gill Wing has everything from wood to platinum. I loved that when I got there I realised that the other staff members were just as passionate about jewellery as I was, and so were a lot of the customers.

 

Did you find any benefits of working in a jewellery gallery?

There is no better way to learn about jewellery than being surrounded by it. Such a variety meant a real mix of makers at different stages in their careers, and you can learn so much from so many sources. The biggest plus for me was working alongside like-minded people that I could have such a great time with. It never felt like going to work.

Have you had a favourite moment working at Gill Wing?

Every time a dog came in to visit?! Or maybe the time I seamlessly quoted Alan Partridge when unpacking some tear-shaped earrings.

One of our four-legged visitors taking a break while their human companion browsed our selection of over 80 makers

One of our four-legged visitors taking a break while their human companion browsed our selection of over 80 makers

It was really any time a customer bought something that they really loved. It’s wonderful how the right present or the right wedding ring can makes someone’s face light up. Sometimes it got a bit emotional.

Tell us about the objects/processes on display. How do they relate to your practice?

I have chosen to show my etched pieces, and this is a snapshot into the process of transferring a hand drawn design into a piece of metal. The sterling silver has been pierced out in abstracted shapes, cleaned, and painted in bitumen. Then I draw where I want the metal to be eaten away by the etching process.

I always want my hand to be seen in what I have created. I like finishing a piece and knowing it is recognisable as something I have made. Making bares your ‘signature’, just like your handwriting. This is why I like etching so much; with this process you can literally draw into your jewellery, sometimes making delicate marks and sometimes leaving the process to make its own unplanned textures.

What is your inspiration?

The patterns I choose to draw onto the metal are inspired by moth wings, which are inspired by the story of Pandora’s Box. I imagine moths flying out of the box when Pandora opens the lid.

Etched ring from Eden's Mischief collection, inspired by the chaos escaping "Pandora's Box".

Etched ring from Eden's Mischief collection, inspired by the chaos escaping "Pandora's Box".

I love Greek Mythology and haven’t tired of finding new stories and themes to get excited by, and to inspire my work. They are simultaneously beautiful and grotesque and I love that contrast. I am working on a new collection inspired by the story of Persephone being abducted by Hades and taken to be the Queen of the underworld.

Inspiration for Eden's up-coming collection featuring an interpretation of the myth of Persephone

Inspiration for Eden's up-coming collection featuring an interpretation of the myth of Persephone

 

Zoe Stevens

Zoe worked with us from November 2014 and left in September last year for her dream job to make modern day treasures at the established silversmith Grant MacDonald, they hold the Royal Warrant as Goldsmiths & Silversmiths to his Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. 

Zoe, what did you like most about working here at Gill Wing?

Emily Kidson uses formica, walnut wood and silver for her colourful jewellery

Emily Kidson uses formica, walnut wood and silver for her colourful jewellery

 I liked the fact that it expanded my horizons. I learnt about so many different designers and processes that I hadn’t come across before.

Also my colleagues were amazing, it didn’t feel like it was work. Everyone that I have ever worked with became part of the family. It’s so unique. Even with the customers, I never felt the pressure to sell, perform, or hit targets. It was about showing off the beautiful things we had, sharing designer’s stories and inviting people into our world.

Did you discover anything new working in a jewellery gallery?

I wanted to work at Gill Wing because it was the only gallery I knew of that stocks such a variety of work and had such a warm inviting environment the moment you walked into it.

Coming from a silversmithing background I didn’t understand about other materials, I thought they weren’t as important or prestigious as precious metals. My perspective has been completely changed and made me fall in love with different processes and other types of jewellery and crafts. I got to meet the designers and makers and understood what their inspirations were, therefore understanding their jewellery.

Items become a lot more beautiful when you know what goes into them.

Alena Willwroth painstakingly hand cuts polyethylene to sculpt her jewellery.

Alena Willwroth painstakingly hand cuts polyethylene to sculpt her jewellery.

Have you had a favourite moment working at Gill Wing?

I think my favourite moment was an Esther Assouline ring commission. We asked Esther to custom make a ring with certain details and specific stones. The fact that our customer had enough faith in us to commission a ring that she wouldn’t see until it was on her finger, spoke volumes.

Rings by Parisian jeweller Esther Assouline

Rings by Parisian jeweller Esther Assouline

Ultimately jewellery is about the individual, and when you’re part of that process it’s a really nice feeling.

Tell us about the objects/processes on display. How do they relate to your practice?

The objects on display are my hand raised silver candle holders. Hand raising is hitting a piece of silver with a hammer and changing the shape of the metal from a flat sheet into a three-dimensional shape. Understanding what affect each hammer blow has on a piece of silver is what makes you a silversmith. These pieces literally embody what my job started as originally. It’s a process that can’t be taken over by computers or technology; it is fundamentally a silversmith and a piece of metal, and their ability to understand it.

hammers.jpg

Some of the different types of hammers used in silversmithing, (image from ba-education.com)

What is your inspiration?

I want things to be bold but simplistic, but not easy to make. I’ve always said that I want people who are in the industry to look at the piece that I’ve made and say “that’s well made”, and for people who are not in the industry to say “that’s pretty”.