Meet the Maker
This month’s ‘Meet the Maker’ delves into the life and work of Sam Smith, Jewellery designer and maker at ‘Enchanted Nymph’.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I’m a little too close to 40 for my liking haha. I was born in Malta and moved to the UK when I was 6 years old. I still remember swimming in the sea wearing my dad’s oversized goggles so that I could see the fish. I think that memory has resulted in the creation of my ocean-inspired pieces, particularly the cuffs.
I left the corporate world of building projects two years ago to live a life more true to my nature. I was never completely comfortable with the corporate environment, craving freedom and creativity and I’m so happy to have found this ‘career’ – although if I’m completely honest I still can’t think of it as ‘work’. I love it too much.
What drew you into making Jewellery and pursuing a career in the craft?
I came into the jewellery world late having opted for voluntary redundancy to escape the corporate world. I was always creative as a child and always making things. I guess I didn’t believe it was a career option and thought of it more as a hobby. I spotted a flyer in Fred Aldous for a jewellery making course shortly after my redundancy kicked in and thought I’d give it a try while I figured out what my next ‘career’ move would be. The moment I saw the tools and industrial blow torch in the college studio I was hooked. I’ve always loved tools and remember as a child fighting my parents for a tool box toy instead of the doll they wanted to get me. Walking into that studio was like walking into my version of the best toy shop ever. There’s something amazing about transforming metal into something completely new and different.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I wanted to be an architect or a vet and these interests are reflected in my pieces. My senses collection is very architectural in its influences and my woodland collection reflects my love of the natural world and the creatures in it.
What is it about having your own jewellery business/independently making jewellery that you enjoy the most?
I love the process of making and entering that state of flow. I strongly believe that making helped me get well when I was struggling with depression and the process has been shown to have the same beneficial results as mindfulness practices. The process of getting out of your own head and getting lost in the piece is extremely freeing and there’s something wonderful about having a beautiful piece of jewellery in your hand at the end and the satisfaction of knowing that you made it.
What hasn’t gone as you expected in your career?
It’s still relatively early days for me as I only finished college in July last year. In a sense I’m still finding the style of work I want to produce. My head is so full of ideas and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to lock myself away in my studio to design and create, as well as getting everything else done that’s needed to run a business.
Which project or piece in particular are you most proud of so far and why?
I love making my cuff pieces. It’s like a challenge to myself each time I design one. The more complex the idea the better and there’s nothing more satisfying that turning an initial concept into a reality.
What is your favourite tool in your toolbox?
It’s got to be a toss-up between my blow torch and my saw. I’m fascinated by the melting process of metal and the organic shapes that come from that, and equally, I love that with a saw you can literally make anything you can imagine.
How do you spend a typical weekend/day off from making?
Weekend off? I’m still pretty obsessed with the whole process at the moment and getting a better work-life balance is definitely on my to do list. I love spending time with friends, being out in nature, camping and going to the beach.
Do you have any current or upcoming shows where we can see your work in person?
My ocean inspired jewellery will be in Manchester Art Gallery this month as part of MJN’s exhibition. My other pieces can be found in studio 6 in Manchester Craft Centre. I plan to start attending shows from next year.
Finally, could you choose one of your favourite items/designers from MJN and tell us why?
I love Charlotte Verity’s work with glass and silver. I was drawn to her work the first time I visited the design centre and I still have a spy on her pieces whenever I walk past her studio. They remind me of dew drops on flowers on early spring mornings when everything is still moving slowly in a dream-like state just before the day begins.
You can keep up with Sam’s work at Enchanted Nymph on
Instagram – @enchantednymphltd
Facebook – Enchanted Nymph Ltd.
Website – www.enchantednymph.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org