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Our Meet the Maker interview, today, comes from the very lovely Emma Garner. Over to you Emma!
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
My name is Emma Garner and I create ‘print miniature’ jewellery. Each piece features one of my images encased under glass. I love to produce vintage styles but with a modern twist. I use antiquelook settings along with quirky typography, images inspired by entomology or tiny reproductions of my larger illustrations. I then add a splash of colour with resin flower charms.
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I began my career as an illustrator working with various publishing houses on projects including books, greeting cards and even decks of tarot cards. After having my children I took a slightly different direction, beginning to sell my prints online, starting a range of jewellery and eventually opening a shop called 7th Sea, which sells the work of many artists.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always been an artist/maker. I don’t know what else I’d do in life if I couldn’t make things! I guess I realised that it was something I really wanted to pursue when I was a teenager. After arriving in Bristol as an art student years ago, I’ve been constantly surrounded by creativity. It felt like a natural thing to stay here where there are lots of opportunities and become part of the scene.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
What I most enjoy about making jewellery is that my designs are incorporated into people’s everyday lives. If someone chooses to buy one of my necklaces or a pair of earrings, then they’ll wear them or give them as a gift because they really like them. That makes me feel very happy and fulfilled!
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get my inspiration from many places... I might be walking down the street or through the park when something catches my eye and triggers an idea. Maybe I’ll see a certain combination of colours which I think work well so I’ll make a mental note. Sometimes I come across a phrase which makes me smile so I incorporate it into a design. I love typography so I can get very excited if I see an interesting hand lettered shop sign! I also dip into Pinterest occasionally.
Describe your studio or workspace?
My workspace is a room at home which tends to get very cluttered with family life sometimes encroaching. I find it hard to work in a messy environment so I’ll sneak off and take over the kitchen table for a while until I’m eventually forced to confront the tidying up situation in my studio.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I’d love to have a peek over Frida Kahlo’s shoulder at her studio... I imagine it would be a riot of colour and probably not too tidy either!
How would you describe your creative process?
The process can begin with a hand drawn image which is then turned into a digital reproduction. The design is then sealed under a dome of glass and I choose a setting which I think compliments it. There’s a lot of sticking, gluing and then the jewellery tools come out for the final stage of assembly.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have lots of amazing handmade possessions made by creative friends over the years. It’s hard to pick a favourite but I’d probably have to say the most treasured item is my wedding dress which I keep hanging on a wall in our bedroom. It looks like something Charles Dickens’s Miss Haversham would be very proud of!
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
If I’m ever having difficulty getting the creative juices flowing then I find that just walking away from it for a few days is the best thing to do. When I return I’m usually in a fresh frame of mind and can approach things from a new angle.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
In 10 years time I’d love to be collaborating on projects with other designers. It’d be great to be selling more work internationally and I’d absolutely love to produce a range of homewares one day.
Thank you Emma, it's been a pleasure to read your interview. You can find Emma's delightful pieces in our Paper Scissors Stone shop.
Paper Scissors Stone
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