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Meet Superfrilly jeweller Sally Collins -

Textile Jewellery:

Our second blog in our designer interview series is on the subject of textile jewellery. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Superfrilly jeweller extradordinaire Sally Collins and what a feast for the senses this lady brings with her brilliant jewellery!

Our month two showcase is all about textile jewellery and in particular the use of cotton. This material is our month two because cotton is the gift given for the second wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during April, I will also be making new cotton jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.

Textile Jewellery Designer

Some Background

Textile Jewellery with cotton
How did you and Sarah first meet?
Sarah and I actually studied on the same degree course at Loughborough! I was the year below Sarah, and I didn’t know her but I knew her work. In 2008 we both started on a fabulous scheme in Birmingham called Design Space; it’s an incubator scheme that provides workshop space and business mentoring support to emerging jewellers for a year. There were about 20 of us, and as soon as I walked in on the first day I recognised Sarah and we started chatting.
Throughout this year I got to know Sarah a little better, but it wasn’t until November 2009 when we spent at intense week together in a hostel and exhibiting at the Sieraad Art Jewellery Fair in Amsterdam that we really got to know each other! I’d always admired Sarah’s work ethic and business, but it was at this point I realised she is also hilarious and really good fun!
What are you doing at this stage in your career?
Currently I am working as a full time lecturer on the BA Jewellery and Objects at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. I moved here in January 2017 and I LOVE IT!!! I have been teaching full time since 2010 and running my business and practice alongside this- it’s a tricky balance but I really enjoy the teaching so I want to keep both going. Earlier this month I was working with a very talented group of jewellers (Sabine Roth, Sari Rathel, Rahel Pfrommer, Rachael Colley, Saloukee) on curating a show in Munich as part of Munich Jewellery Week.
The show was called ‘Selfie-ism’, and my work within the show explored the love/ hate relationship I have, and I think others have, with social media. There is a tendency to post selfies and images of work that convey a larger than life, better than ever version of our self- in my case- bigger, bolder brighter, glitterier, shinier and happier!
Not that social media and selfies are always fake, I’m just considering the pressure we may experience in presenting ourselves in a certain light, and the fact that this can sometimes have a negative impact on our emotions. Therefore- the work I made was a series of almost unwearable earrings full of detail, glitter and colour- representing the physical burden this situation can present. I am OBSESSED with making earrings at the moment, and buying them, I can’t stop!!!!!! I’m also developing a new range of limited edition earrings for Om Diva in Dublin to help them celebrate their 20th birthday, and working on a new range of work using silicone. Busy, busy times with lots if exciting projects on the go!!!!
Textile Jewellery Superfrilly Lovers
What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Yikes I am really not sure!!!! I take great pride in seeing people wear my work, so although it’s a small accomplishment, every time I see someone wearing something of mine I am delighted, especially when I don’t know them at all! I remember once when I was teaching at Birmingham, a student came in on her first day of the BA, she was wearing one of my smaller necklaces- I think her mum has bought it for her from the Lustre Craft Makers Market in Nottingham.

She didn’t realise I was going to be teaching her- it was a joyful moment! I was recently contacted by the super talented singer/ songwriter Elli Ingram– she wore some of my work on tour and that was a huge pleasure as well!

Aside from this, some of my bigger achievements have been exhibiting work with Alternatives Gallery at Collect at the Saatchi Gallery in London and selling a piece to a big American collector, being featured in Grazia magazine in the same edition as the Will & Kate Royal Wedding, being selected for the prestigious Lucca Prezioza Young exhibition in Florence and meeting some of my jewellery heroes at Munich Jewellery Week this year, only to have them tell me they love my work in return (wahoooo!!!!!).

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?
I would say very seriously, don’t start your own creative business expecting to make a lot of money quickly. Sure this can happen for some people, but for most people it’s a process of building up the business over time, with some serious hard work and some lucky breaks. I have always found it important to consider the idea of a portfolio career- do lots of different things to bring money in, to interact and collaborate with other people and to keep networking and making connections. As designers and makers we don’t just design and make, we engage in so many things in our practice and businesses- use these skills!

Women In Business

Textile Jewellery oversized necklace

How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

When I first started in the industry in 2008/ 2009, I spent a lot more time involved in the business. As mentioned above I certainly had a portfolio career where I did jewellery repairs, ran workshops with secondary school children, and gave lectures, but I was lucky enough with the support of Design Space to spend a lot of time developing my jewellery business. I had a whole range of different work (all Superfrilly of course but at different price points and in different materials). I was stocked in 15- 20 galleries, I was making new work for exhibitions all the time and applying for every opportunity I could. These days I have to more selective about the work I make and where I apply that Superfrilly creative energy as I work full time. In some ways this is frustrating, as I have a lot of ideas bursting out and wanting attention- my current 3rd years at NCAD in Dublin can vouch for this- I always have an experiment or two on my desk! But, I actually find that teaching really informs my practice, and having time away from my own work and a chance to reflect is hugely beneficial.
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe  future generations should know about?
Eeeeek so many to choose from! But if I had to pick one I would say Nelly Ben Hayoun. She describes herself as a ‘Manufacturer of the Impossible’! She has incredible energy and drive, an amazing imagination and a get up and go that just won’t quit. She’s worked to create a University of the Underground, a NASA orchestra and so many other fantastic projects! Go check her out if you don’t know of her already!!!!
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
Fabrics and textile techniques have always been a favourite of mine- I adore the colour and detail you can achieve, and the possibilities of structures and connection to fashion and the body. I love to make textile jewellery. My Mum taught me to knit and sew and I was bought up with that ‘Make Do and Mend’ attitude. This love of fabrics has always gone alongside my fascination with metal- metal is incredible!!! At the moment I’m focusing on metal and silicone for my new collection. But on Friday I received a delivery of work I had in the brilliant Craftspace Made in the Middle show, this work has been on tour round the Midlands for the last year. These pieces were made in press formed, pierced and soldered metal with lots of detailed embroidery and crochet. Opening the box of work up, I got a very strong sense of nostalgia and connection to the pieces and the materials. This made me realise I need to get back to textiles jewellery! Perhaps embroidered silicone????!!!!

Real Life Stuff

Textile Jewellery jewellers hands
What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Creating something, making something that comes from my own brain gives me a unique buzz- something I can’t get from anywhere else, or from anyone else. I’ve learnt to trust in this and trust my own design sensibilities- I’m not saying my work is amazing, or perfect and maybe a lot of people don’t like it at all- but when I make something and I get that fizzy warmth and lift in my heart I know I have got it right. If someone else loves it or values it that’s amazing, but my own reaction is the one I value the most. Gosh I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant?! I just know in the creative industry you have to love your own work- you can’t rely on other people to praise it all the time!!!

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I don’t know that I have a particular sentimental object- I love things that remind me of memories/ places/ people/ times in my life and I am definitely attached to a number of objects, but I also try really hard not to get too attached to physical things. Mainly because I’m a bit clumsy- if I become  terrified of losing or breaking something because it’s so precious to me then guaranteed I’ll drop it down the loo or trip over it and break it!!! Or just lose it! So I’m going to say my hands! I am very tactile person, I obviously love making and using my hands to create, but I am also quite gesticular when I talk, and I love the tactility of materials and always want to touch everything! I also used to hate my hands because they’re those classic jewellers hands- a bit stumpy and worn with plenty of scars and absolutely no nails! I have learnt to love them now!

What does priceless mean to you?
It wouldn’t have anything to do with material or monetary value. I would say priceless to me is that fizzy whizzy feeling I described above- I get this when I see things I love, when I make something I’m really proud of, or when I’m reminded of the wonderfulness of the friends/ family/ people in my life. It’s cheesy but it’s true!!!!
Sarah

Author Sarah

Owner, designer and maker of Saloukee Jewellery.

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