Chatting To Truro College Exhibition Silversmith Winner, Olivia English

We always look forward to Truro College of Art & Design's annual exhibition and we are thrilled to announce that Olivia English from Olivia Jane Jewellery was one of the winners! The event was held at Lemon Quay in Truro, we were also back to proudly sponsor the jewellery/silversmithing award. It's a brilliant exhibition, shining the spotlight on artists of the future who are taking their first steps into the creative industry.

We were so excited to invite Olivia for an interview on our blog, where we chat all about the exhibition, learn more about the inspiration behind her designs, as well as hear all about her experience of studying with Truro College and what the future may hold. Plus you'll be able to see more of her incredible award-winning designs as well as more makes showcasing her talent.

Hi Olivia, firstly congratulations on winning the Kernowcraft award at Truro College's 'In View' Exhibition! Tell us all about the pieces in your collection!

These pieces are all a part of my final collection, titled ‘Geo’. The collection was created for the end of my Silversmithing and Jewellery degree at Truro College. 

How did you find your experience of working on this collection and what was the inspiration behind it? 

Well this collection is an accumulation of 3 years work I guess. It’s all inspired around the balance, symmetry, asymmetry and beauty within Geometric design found all around us and the ideology of the ‘Golden Ratio’. The theory of their being mathematical formula for perfect design. I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of designing, testing and making these pieces as it has felt the most authentic to me. 

How did you first discover jewellery making?

I stumbled across Jewellery making by asking for a job in the local jewellers, where I lived at the time. I was trained at the bench by a very talented jeweller when I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. He was very patient with me (fixed many of my muck ups) and is still a great friend of mine now. 

But, I was taught ‘jobbing’ jeweller skills which have been invaluable to me. Cleaning, polishing, sizing, and general repairs etc...  And then the few handmade commissions I was given to make, gave me a bit of  ’the bug’… the rest is history.

The Kernowcraft prize was a £50 gift voucher, what treats have you got your eye on?

I most definitely will be buying some more silver as I already have my next project lined up! But knowing me, I may get distracted by tools….

Tell us about your workspace in the shared gallery Jubilee Wharf Gallery.

It’s great! Come and see us! It is in Penryn on Commercial Road, anyone can come and have a look around. The gallery is open to the public to come and browse and shop. And we hold some great events there too. Open Studios, Christmas Fair and hopefully we have the date of a Summer Fair coming soon! 

How would you describe your style and was this something that took time to develop?

I would say my style is contemporary, clean and geometric? Finding my ’style’ has most definitely taken time. With any creative practice, there is always so much to learn and experiment with. And doing that takes time and dedication.When I started making jewellery I made very simple paired back designs (mainly due to lack of confidence and knowledge in other materials, techniques, equipment etc). I feel now my designs are still ’simple’ but elevated to make them more unique.

Tell us about your experience of doing the jewellery/silversmithing degree course with Truro College!

It has been a real journey! I did the first 2 years throughout Covid-19 which was really tough for students and tutors. I then left after Year 2 and deferred my final year to have my son in 2021. So, I returned last September determined for nothing to stop me! And the mentoring, support, enthusiasm and encouragement there has been amazing.

What has been your favourite commission and why?

I have recently made some bangles for clients with loved ones special birthdays approaching. And creating important, sentimental pieces using my designs is a really lovely feeling.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewellery you own?

Ooo tough one. Either a silver bracelet that used to be my mums, or a bangle given to me by my partner. I wear that everyday.

Let us know about a Cornish creative you're loving right now and why!

Helen Eastham’s vessels are amazing! I love all the bright colours and the way the forms and patterns play with the light is beautiful. 

What is your favourite thing about working in a community space? 

The 4 of us work in the shared workspace in the back and it’s so wonderful to be able to work amongst other creative minds. Favourite thing is that It really helps when you need to ask for help or another opinion!

What steps do you take to make your business more environmentally friendly?

I am using only recycled silver and gold, recyclable cardboard packaging and promotional materials (business cards etc) and Jubilee Wharf, where I rent my workspace has been carbon neutral since 2007. Obviously there is always room to do more and I consistently review this and do what I can. 

What are your favourite ways to beat 'creative block’?

Sketchbook. Sketchbook. Sketchbook. Just draw, doodle, look and play around with shapes, form, ideas. Don’t overthink it. And also - dirty up the page first. (Ink and water, charcoal, soil) It makes making the 1st mark less daunting and somehow allows the ideas to flow quicker.

Silver or gold?

Both! Together!

We can't wait to continue following your journey, what are your goals for the future?

Firstly taking a little breather! And then, I am exhibiting at New Designers at the end of this month in London (tickets on sale now). I am also applying for a few competitions this summer and a few mentorship programmes and then hoping to get stuck into my next project and start working on the next collection.

What are your favourite ways to learn new techniques and what's one you're loving right now?

I love talking to others about their experiences but also I quite like textbooks and online resources. There are some good YouTube videos out there on some techniques. Something I am loving at the moment and excited to get back to at the end of the summer is Chasing & Repousse.

Follow Esther and Keep Updated on Her Jewellery Making Journey


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