There is definitely a Northern Powerhouse when it comes to creativity and Scotland continues to be a hotbed for the nation’s design creativity. Georgia Phillips from Edinburgh College of Art stopped the judges in their tracks with her incredible jewellery that appears to grow from the wearer like a parasite from a host. Intrigued? Read on…
Where did you study and what was the course title
Edinburgh College of Art, Jewellery and Silversmithing
Name of your lecturer – course tutor?
Have you got a creative mission?
My work combines silicone and enamelled or patinated metals. Incorporating elements of colour and contrast, each piece explores patterns of fungal growth based on photographs and sketches made while on foraging trips to various locations. I create pieces which embody this random sense of growth, exploring the tension between beauty and discomfort. The jewellery seems to grow from the wearer like a parasite from a host, while the tactile, colourful and unexpected materials invite further investigation.
How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?
Colour has always been integral to my design and drawing work, but it’s only recently that I’ve really begun a more in-depth exploration of how this can be taken from the design stage into metalwork. To this end I have been experimenting with using different foodstuffs to create coloured patinas on metal. The results of this process can vary wildly depending on temperature, time, ratios, etc. so the first part of the choosing colours is a bit more random – I essentially put my work in a pot and come back in a couple of days to see what happens. Once I know the colour the metal has turned, I can either clean of the patina and start again, or else seal it and begin deciding on colours for silicone and stones. I tend to narrow this down by going back to my research images and design drawings, and pulling out colours from there, usually looking for something that will contrast.
Tell us about our creative process – where do you find inspiration?
Plants, and especially fungi. I like being able to use research as an excuse to go out to woods and beaches and take photos or draw. Between that and documenting happy accidents during the making process, I have a wide range of inspirations to use when deciding on both the form and colour of a piece.
What is the best bit of the creative process – journey or destination?
A mix of both! The process of making incredibly therapeutic to me, but the satisfaction of taking a finished piece out of the fume cabinet after you’ve left the silicone to cure overnight and seeing it complete for the first time is also very good.
Creative high point?
Finishing a new piece and getting to set it aside to start on the next one is always a high point.
Creative low point?
Recently, discovering a particular process I had assumed would work did not. There’s nothing like an oncoming deadline and a sudden setback to make you question your entire existence.
Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?
I definitely want more experience working as a jeweller within industry, as a way to continue improving my skills. Ideally, having the space to make my own work on the side and continue to explore my current work would be great. I’m very interested currently in looking at ethical making, so finding alternatives to the chemicals I use is a process I’ve begun, but that still has a long way to go.
Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you? – Maybe in terms of encouraging you when you were at a low point, pushing you in different directions unlocking your potential etc. The tutors at ECA have been really helpful throughout my last year at uni!
What is your favourite colour?
Image credits: Shannon Tofts