Meet the Maker
In our October issue of Meet the Maker we are finding out all about talented Bishopsland graduate, Gemma Scully.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I was born and raised just outside the city in Greater Manchester. I moved away to study, completing a BA hons in Jewellery and Metalwork at UCA and then a year at Bishopsland Educational Trust. I am now a fellow of the trust and a full time jewellery designer maker. I work in Studio 6 in Manchester Craft and Design Centre making work to sell across the UK.
What drew you into making Jewellery and pursuing a career in the craft?
As a child I always loved arts and crafts, I made origami boats and knitted with my grandparents. At a very academic orientated secondary school Art was a welcome break. Studying design at University started as a dream, which then became a reality, with the goal of learning to make jewellery always at the back of my mind.
What are your key inspirations in your practice?
In my work I am often inspired by textures and contrasting looking in nature, photos taken on Sundays (usually a day off to explore) hang in my studio of interesting bark, lines in rocks and drifts in the sand. I think this is all reflected in the organic shapes and surfaces in my work. I would say that my jewellery is colourful with striking contrasts.
What is it about having your own jewellery business/independently making jewellery that you enjoy the most?
I love my job, it can be hard at times, there is a lot of responsibility and taking holidays isn’t easy, however every day I design, I create jewellery, something that I really enjoy doing. I then have the added pleasure of meeting the people that choose to buy my work in the craft centre.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
The only other thing I wanted to be other than a maker was a singer or dancer, it all looked so glamorous, and unfortunately, I am tone deaf and a little too short for a dancer!
What are you working on right now?
Stock, as a jeweller told me recently “Christmas is coming!” I also have a new range in the pipe line which I have been designing for a little while and very excited about.
What hasn’t gone as you expected in your career?
Having trained UCA in Farnham Surrey and then Reading, everything I knew of the jewellery industry and all the contact I had were based in and around London. I never imagined I would return home to Manchester or base my business here. In the first year I returned I discovered how many opportunities the North West had to offer and now I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.
What is your favourite piece of advice or feedback that have you been given that has given you the confidence to persevere?
My Grandma always said if you don’t try you’ll never know and always wondered what might have been.
How do you spend a typical weekend/day off from making?
Having just brought a house lots and lots of DIY. I can now build stud walls and lay flooring. But usually I would be walking my gorgeous five year old border collie in the peak district, we are slowing ticking off all of the big peaks. Or taking lots of photos at English Hertiage and National Trust sites.
What is your favourite tool in your toolbox?
My Blazer torch I literally use it every day in my workshop. It was the first tool I bought when I graduated. Since, my work has developed to involve a lot of soldering so my blazer is vital.
Do you have any current or upcoming shows where we can see your work in person?
Yes, at the start of November I will be showing at Made by Hand at Cardiff City Hall, it is a great show featuring 135 makers from across the UK working in many craft disciplines including metalwork, woodturning, glass blowing and textiles.
Finally, could you choose one of your favourite items/designers from MJN and tell us why?
Toby Cotterill he is a very talented maker inspired by the natural world, he creates beautiful creatures in precious metal by forging sheet silver. I love the movement in his work and the detail.
You can keep up with Gemma’s work on:
Instagram – @gemmascullyjewellery
Facebook – @gemmascullyjeweller
Twitter – @GScullyJeweller
Website – www.gemmascullyjewellery.com