I want to start off by talking about the incredible photo shoot to showcase the range. What inspired the look and feel?
I definitely wanted something very clean and concise for the accompanying imagery to the store; but also dark. I wanted a kind of delicate but savage beauty from the model, which Holly-Rose interpreted brilliantly.
How did you achieve the matte black arms and nails?
Tara’s fingernails were painted black and then given a matte top-coat; when the nails were dry Holly-Rose meticulously applied specialty black stage makeup to her entire arms which dried matte to match.
What drew you to use Tara McIvor as your model?
Tara was a very lucky find for us because we had only had one date available to shoot on and many agencies didn’t have models free. I was very excited when Andrew showed me Tara’s portfolio; her expressive doe-eyed stare got me instantly – I felt instinctively she would be the one.
Tell me about your creative process. How does a piece of jewellery go from an idea to a physical thing?
Something will spark inspiration and the piece will grow from there. Maybe I see a stone I like or even an image – sometimes I just pick up some wax and play.
You mentioned on Twitter recently that you find yourself drawn to using circles in your work. Tell me more about that.
Circles are incredibly symbolic; cyclic. A circle is soft – deeply feminine, beautiful and vulnerable. It’s been a subconscious attraction for me. I just find I keep coming back to them in my designs and for now that seems right.
How has your return to study helped shape your skills and creative process? Are there any revelations that have occurred?
There’s a reason why you see all of the best contemporary markers have got sometimes two or even three qualifications under their belts. When you’re a jeweller you’re never not learning. The theoretical and practical guidance I’ve had from my tutors has been astonishing. There’s something very glorified about calling yourself self-taught but I’m glad my humility got the better of me; I’m an infinitely better maker for it and the person that benefits the most is my customer.
Let’s talk about the art that is important to you and your label. Tell me what has visually, aurally or otherwise influenced you:
Film: I don’t know if this counts but I just saw the most wonderful documentary on Marina Abramovic and even though our artistic disciplines are vastly different it has deeply inspired me to push myself to the next level.
Music: I’ve been listening to a lot of Om whilst designing. I think it’s very telling in the overall aesthetic of my recent work.
Scientific theory: A lot of my recent work for my course has focused on blending the organic and the geometric. I’ve been delving into a lot of research on Platonic and Archimedean Solids and Scared Geometry.
Aesthetic: Dark, avant-garde, classic gothic romantic – Ann Demeulemeester.
Era of history: Medieval.
Natural phenomenon: The aurora borealis/australis. Always.
What are you working on currently?
A very clean and minimal six-claw labradorite ring for myself with a stone I bought months ago.
What goals do you have for AHN?
My goals have shifted dramatically from what I envisioned when I first decided to move into fine jewellery production 18 months ago. Through my studies I’ve been exposed to the artisanal side of the jewellery industry. Rather than just focusing on commercial collections I now also want to conjunctively work on bigger exhibition pieces as well as other objet d’art.
You’ve always been someone who doesn’t just wear clothes for the sake of not being naked – there’s a real thought process behind it. Where are you now with your personal style manifesto?
The workshop doesn’t lend itself to Rick Owens and ComplexGeometries. I feel horribly sloppy when the nicest (and most appropriate) thing I can wear is an old bonds t-shirt and a pair of jeans to the studio, and I hate that. So on that front I’m struggling a lot. But generally speaking I’m in a great place sartorially; more sure of my style than ever; more confident in the contents of my wardrobe than ever. I don’t get to wear any of it as often as I want but it does give me a good incentive to make an effort when I have the opportunity.
And finally – what are you wearing today?
Today I didn’t have any studio time so I wore a light asymmetric dress by ComplexGeometries, a merino wool bolero with a large druid hood by Lui Hon and low-heeled boots by Dr.Martens.