Emma Lumley of Silverdarling Jewels creates jewellery in silver and gold of beautiful delicacy and lightness. Emma trained as a silversmith, but is more inclined towards the intricacy of jewellery making. Originally from the UK, she has lived and worked in Queenstown, New Zealand for nine years. Her work is gentle, feminine and a touch whimsical, with an emphasis on delicate, organic and natural forms.
What do you make?
I have a collection of simple, handmade and elegant silver and gold jewellery, including earrings, pendants, necklaces, rings, bracelets, bangles, brooches and cufflinks. I design for both men and women but seem to have more of a female following due to the nature of my work, which tends to lean towards a more feminine style of design.
How did you get into your craft? Do you have formal training or qualifications?
I studied in the UK at Leicester University. After completing school, I went on to do an art foundation course for a year. During that year I was convinced I was going to be a painter, but found as my year progressed that I was becoming more and more interested in three-dimensional design – and to be honest I found it a lot more to my liking than painting ever was.
This came as quite a shock to me as I come from a family of artists: my mother is a painter and my father a painter and calligrapher, who is also very knowledgable in the art history field. I took it in my stride, put painting on the back burner and made moves towards doing a degree in multi-media: wood, metal and ceramics… This never came to pass, so I went for my second choice of university to study silversmithing.
Strangely enough I hadn’t really thought about doing this before… but I went and it was great. I realised that I loved the intricacy and the delicacy of using metal. I didn’t actually make jewellery on that course – it was geared more towards silversmithing in all its forms: bowls, plates, spoons, cutlery etc.
It was only after my course ended that I realised that I loved making jewellery and that I could actually make a living out of it by doing something that I loved.
After three years I received a BA (honours) degree in three-dimensional design, specialising in silversmithing, from Leicester University in the UK. Since then, as well as my own work as Silverdarling Jewels, I’ve also created jewellery and body adornment for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and have been involved with the film industry for a number of years.
What are your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite metals to work with are gold and silver – expensive for me, but so beautiful. I work on a very simple basis to get simple results. I haven’t used any complicated processes for my work for a very long time.
I like to be able to keep my tools portable and to a minimum as I do a lot of travelling, both near and far, and I have a simple uncomplicated workspace.
Ah-ha… and if I told you how I do my finishing process, I would have to kill you! Secret of the trade.
What inspires you?
Nature and simplicity inspire me. I love the beauty of simple organic forms: the curves and long flowing lines. I have never been a big fan of the square, however I do use it from time to time. My work has been described as gentle and feminine with an emphasis on delicate, organic and natural forms. I tend not to draw anymore, well, seldom anyway.
It is quite a strange process, the way that I work… I can’t quite understand it myself! The forms just seem to come to me when I am already creating. I usually see another form emerging from the piece that I am already working on.
Five words that describe your mind:
Creative, philosophical, laid-back, sensitive and strong-willed.
What do you like about getting feedback from your customers?
I love being a part of Felt. I always have such wonderful feedback from customers, it’s very inspiring and I haven’t had a bad one yet!
What are you currently listening to?
Your favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood book was Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. Very English and a total classic! I still read it now.
What are you reading now?
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
Finally, share a favourite quote with us:
“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” – Kahil Gibran
Make sure you browse through Emma’s beautiful work in her Felt shop – what could be more perfect for a Valentine’s Day Gift? We’ll be bringing you many more talented sellers in our fortnightly Featured Sellers blog posts in 2014 so stay tuned!