Interview with Amma Gyan
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Soft colours often make me want to design something very elegant, whereas bright purples and gold lend themselves to captivating and enticing designs
How did your interest in jewellery start?
I became a jeweller in a very roundabout way. I started off by making leather bags, which I did for about eight years (and still do). However, I was left with so many small pieces of leather off-cuts that I began to make things such as rings and tasselled necklaces. I knew I wanted to make wearable art, not really knowing that I wanted to make jewellery.
Where did you train?
I like to call myself an extravagant beader as I am not a trained silver or goldsmith. I have learnt skills from friends who are silversmiths and developed the techniques needed in beading. I have spent a lot of time studying books and experimenting with different materials. Moulding leather into jewellery was a very conscious decision. I wanted to learn more about what was possible with leather and then try to add a little bit of my own style. I have always had a flare for creation and design, so when you think this way, you can generally apply it to any medium.
Where is your studio?
My studio is upstairs in a converted shop on Watford High Street. It was taken over by Watford Borough Council as part of the 'pop up' scheme to revive the high street. It is set up as a gallery on the ground floor called Space2 Watford Gallery. Upstairs are the studios that I share with two other artists. It is great because it brings art and design to lots of new people. The studio is open Thursday to Saturday, when you can pop in to see what we are working on.
What is the main inspiration for your design?
I am heavily inspired by colour, emotion and nature. The colour of the stone or material will spark a desire to create something in the vein of the emotion that it evoked. As well as colour, I am always trying to combine techniques from other craft skills and trades to create interesting beads and construction methods. Currently I have a desire to work weaving and basket making into my work.
What is you preferred medium?
I do not have a favourite as I am constantly trying new things, sometimes being a little fickle, with a new flavour of the month continually appearing. At the moment, and for a while, it has been gold. I find it is warm and rich and goes with everything. I love to mix it with soft suede as I think the contrast in textures is beautiful.
Do you have a favourite tool?
Yes I do: it is probably my
Most of my moulded leatherwork is painted
to create the surface finish I am after. With
my brush and paints I can honestly transform the simplest of things into something
What are your goals?
My goals change weekly, but my current goal is to collaborate with other well-known designers and stores. After the success of the Jigsaw collection I would really love to do more work like this. I would like to get my business to a place where I can take a little more of a back seat and maybe pass some of my experience in building and growing a small business on to others.
Do you offer workshops and jewellery classes?
I am going to start holding some
introductory beading techniques workshops at the
Space2 Watford Gallery, followed by talks
on contemporary jewellery making and approach to design. The initial workshops will be free of charge, as they are part of the council's commitment to bring art and design to local people.
Where do you exhibit/sell your work?
I tend to exhibit at a few shows each year and this year I plan to hold some more intimate events as opposed to the big shows. My designs can be bought at a couple of stores across London as well as select Jigsaw stores, Mania Mia in New Kings Road and the Style Showroom at Kingly Court. I occasionally pop up in Beautiful Interiors on the Orford Road, Walthamstow.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Without a doubt being spotted by the Jigsaw buyer at the Hatton Garden festival, during London Jewellery week. It is one of those things that you dream of happening and never think it will, but it did.
Details of forthcoming shows or exhibitions:
J'Adore on 13-14 October, 2012
Jewellery, Silversmithing and Fine
www.ammagyan.com and www.wear-me.co.uk
Wear me Ltd:
93 Sutton Road, Watford
Hertfordshire WD17 2QG