Maker's Window: Rachel Jones & Franziska Lusser

Our Maker's Window has been highlighting the talents of our gallery team to show the work they make themselves as trained jewellers.

For our second instalment we shine a light on Franziska Lusser and Rachel Jones, who both gained jewellery degrees at Middlesex University. Rachel is studying for her master's at the Royal College of Art, and makes many of our special wedding and engagement rings here at Gill Wing.

Franziska left the U.K for her own master's degree in Gemstones & Jeweller at Ider-Oberstien; a town with a rich history as a worldwide gemstone specialist, were mines were once brimming with amethyst, carnelian and quartz. The highly skilled local stone cutters once used labour intensive techniques by candlelight, now the university encourages revolutionary approaches to manipulating rocks and minerals.

Franziska Lusser

Franziska was a friendly face in Gill Wing from 2013-2016.

Franziska was a friendly face in Gill Wing from 2013-2016.

Hi Fran, when did you work at Gill Wing & what did you like most about working here?

I started working at Gill Wing during the Summer of 2013. I was very excited to start working within such a creative and interesting shop that stocked lots of my favourite contemporary jewellers.

I loved seeing the wide range of people who would come into the shop with their passions, interests and questions for the different kinds of jewellery that we stocked. I also enjoyed working alongside other talented and lovely jewellery makers who made the atmosphere of the shop a wonderful place to spend your time in.

 

What are the benefits of working in a jewellery gallery?

 I found it a really great place to understand the reach and breadth of people who are interested in contemporary jewellery. I was amazed at the number of people who would travel across the world to visit a good, interesting shop.
Being in such close contact with the people interested in buying contemporary jewellery really helped me understand what qualities people look for in the jewellery they buy and it helped me focus on those details in the pieces I make.

Franziska combines manipulated materials and found objects for her bold jewellery

Franziska combines manipulated materials and found objects for her bold jewellery

 Have you had a favourite moment working at Gill Wing?

I have had many great moments at Gill Wing, both with the customers and the team behind the shop, so that it is hard to choose just one.

A favourite necklace by Franziska Lusser

A favourite necklace by Franziska Lusser

I always loved seeing people walking into the shop wearing one of my pieces or from one of my friends and colleagues and seeing the enjoyment they get from talking to others about where they got it, why they chose it and the occasions that they will wear it to.

 

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

 My work follows two paths; one follows the process of making, breaking and coming back together of materials. I have been exploring the different ways to manipulate materials to create patterns and effects that are completely unique, every time.

Franziska uses exciting processes to transform metal and plastic into something unique, precious and rare.

Franziska uses exciting processes to transform metal and plastic into something unique, precious and rare.

The other path looks at objects that have been discarded and are left to disintegrate in the streets. I love finding these objects which have been aged by weathering and giving them a second life within my work. I want people to see these objects as I do, completely unique, and thus a one of a kind.

Franziska is known for her love of rusty objects which she transforms into wearables to be cherished.

Franziska is known for her love of rusty objects which she transforms into wearables to be cherished.

Necklace made from an early 20th Century chain found at Franziska's Grandmother's farm

Necklace made from an early 20th Century chain found at Franziska's Grandmother's farm

On display are objects from these two processes and a new direction I am exploring in my latest work.  

Destroying to create something new can be unpredictable, but thrilling for a jeweller

Destroying to create something new can be unpredictable, but thrilling for a jeweller

 I am very excited to showcase one of my latest pieces here at Gill Wing. I have been working with new materials and processes to bring forward the rarity of my found objects and to showcase the preciousness of them. In my latest work I am exploring Rock Crystal.
 

Franziska is currently experimenting with breaking and re-forming rock crystal

Franziska is currently experimenting with breaking and re-forming rock crystal

What is your inspiration?

 My inspiration comes from the objects that I find and from the process of making, breaking and coming together of all the different elements. I enjoy trying out new techniques to develop my work and create my pieces.

I am influenced by exhibitions such as ‘Waste Not’ (Barbican, London, 2012), an exhibition about collecting; other jewellery artists such as Bernhard Schobinger and the ancient Technique of Kintsugi, a Japanese technique where broken Porcelain is repaired using resin and gold leaf to highlight the line of breakage rather than hide it.

Kintsugi, "The Art of Broken Pieces"

Kintsugi, "The Art of Broken Pieces"


This process gives the piece a new lease of life, making it unique and beautiful and even more precious and valuable than it was before. My work is about value and beauty in disregarded objects and preciousness in non-precious materials.

In her latest work Franziska combines her experimental material processes, raw minerals and rusty treasures

In her latest work Franziska combines her experimental material processes, raw minerals and rusty treasures

I want to highlight the inherent beauty that I see in old, broken, weathered and forgotten objects by placing them in a new context, one of jewellery. With this new view on the object, we can see it not for it’s former use, but for its shape, texture and colour, and this new context might make us appreciate this object in a new light.

 

Rachel Jones

Yellow gold & diamond ring using speckles interspersed in the settings by Rachel Jones

Yellow gold & diamond ring using speckles interspersed in the settings by Rachel Jones

Rachel uses granulation to create her jewellery, an ancient goldsmith's technique dating back 2500 years to the royal tombs of Ur, in Mesopotamia.

Gold Bee from Eastern Greece, (detail) 7thc BC, Nasher Duke Museum, by photographer Julianna Lees

Gold Bee from Eastern Greece, (detail) 7thc BC, Nasher Duke Museum, by photographer Julianna Lees

Tiny spheres of precious metal are formed by hand and painstakingly assembled and fused by the jeweller.

 

 

 

 

Rachel's variation on this art-form is to flatten each granule to make her "speckles".

Oxidised silver "Speckle" earrings by Rachel Jones using the granulation technique

Oxidised silver "Speckle" earrings by Rachel Jones using the granulation technique

At the Royal college of Art Rachel is learning even more processes as part of her masters, pushing the boundaries of precious materials to combine with the traditional skills of the silversmith.

18ct gold granulation "Speckles" as if precious debris has gathered in a corner by Rachel Jones

18ct gold granulation "Speckles" as if precious debris has gathered in a corner by Rachel Jones

Yellow gold bought in Bullion and treated ready for use

Yellow gold bought in Bullion and treated ready for use

The recipes for different gold alloys

The recipes for different gold alloys

Different alloys of solid gold mixed are mixed with other metals in various quantities to give the varying hues from green gold to red gold.

A rainbow of gold ready to use for jewellery, hand alloyed by Rachel at the RCA

A rainbow of gold ready to use for jewellery, hand alloyed by Rachel at the RCA

A finished wedding and engagement set by Rachel Jones

A finished wedding and engagement set by Rachel Jones

Hello Rachel! When did you work at Gill Wing? What do you like most about working here?

 I started working in October last year as I recently moved back to London. I love working with other jewellers and helping our customers find that extra special piece.

 

 

What are the benefits of working in a jewellery gallery?

Working at the gallery means being able to talk to customers directly, finding out what they are looking for and working with them to commission their own piece of jewellery.  

A recent commission making bangles in white, yellow and rose gold.

A recent commission making bangles in white, yellow and rose gold.

Have you had a favourite moment working at Gill Wing?

I have several favourite moments but all involve working with couples that are to get married. Helping them to find the rings they will wear and treasure forever and hand down to their children is so rewarding.

Delicate yellow and rose gold wedding rings by Rachel Jones at Gill Wing Jewellery

Delicate yellow and rose gold wedding rings by Rachel Jones at Gill Wing Jewellery

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

The objects on display are used in the making of my work, from charcoal bricks that retain the heat and help to create perfect spheres, to fine tweezers used to place each individual grain onto the main components of a piece.

"Drawing" down wire through steel plates to make exactly the right thickness for each piece

"Drawing" down wire through steel plates to make exactly the right thickness for each piece

What is your inspiration?

My inspiration is in the making, one piece inspires the next but in the beginning it was the exploration of granulation, which is the fusing of tiny metal balls.

Rachel making granulation balls in the workshop

Rachel making granulation balls in the workshop

You can see Rachel & Franziska's jewellery processes in real life in our current window display at Gill Wing showing off the talents of our team.

We also have a £100 Gift Voucher Giveaway as a way of thanks if you can provide feedback for Eden Silver-Myer's MA research.

Hope to see you soon!