Ten Minutes with... James Ferris (Lonely Soldier Designs)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We take ten minutes to chat with jewellery designer and maker James Ferris of Lonely Soldier Designs.

What is your jewellery making background?

I'm completely self-taught, having opened up a bead shop (Minerva Beads and Crafts) two years ago with my partner Tabatha I though I better learn how it's done to give advice. It was my partner that got me into wire last year by buying me a book on it (I have many now). I'm really lucky that I get to do it day in and day out for my job. Also I do have a huge background in graphics, art and photography education.

How did you get involved with Making Jewellery magazine?

Making jewellery found me through Facebook, I woke up one morning to find a message from Sian asking me if I wanted to be involved in writing projects. "Well, does a bear go to the toilet in the woods?" was my answer, well not quite my answer, but it's what I wanted to say 'til my partner stopped me and made me type something nice.

Describe your jewellery style.

My style is ever evolving. I do have a couple signature processes I do but I'm trying to move away from them now and figure out a new direction for some of my pendants. I have taught a lot of people recently so have to be one step head of my students and also there are some secrets I'm not ready to part with yet 'til I have advanced beyond them.

Do you have a favourite technique?

My favourite technique is to make my pendants symmetrical, I like a challenge. The harder I make the wrap the more satisfaction I get from the task in hand. The down side to this is that there is a lot wraps that have just got to the finishing stage, then I have a paddy (I have quite a few of those) because its not quite right and the piece gets binned even when people say they like it. I set myself a high standard to put the Lonely Soldier name to a piece. But that's how you learn, you have to make mistakes.

What is your biggest inspiration, when it comes to making jewellery?

I find inspiration can come from anywhere: a movie, a book, a piece of music, a pattern I've seen somewhere, other designers' work… You name it, I take it all in. It helps that I've got an arts educational background, the first thing I was taught in my art education by a great tutor called Phil was to study everything around you and to investigate at least one skip a week for materials.

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