Alice Barnes is an award-winning jewellery designer and maker. She draws complex beauty from the simplest of forms to make elegant, contemporary jewellery with meticulous attention to detail.
We interviewed Alice Barnes Jewellery to find out more about her work:
1. How and when did you want to be a maker and how did you start to realise that aim?
I realised fairly early on that I had a passion for making 3D art, but it took me a while (and some very patient tutors) before I settled on jewellery. Once I did though I knew that I wanted to study at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, so I enrolled in a part time course where I built up a small portfolio and off I went to Birmingham!
2. Who did you learn from, who inspires you? What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
Growing up in London I was always fascinated by the buildings that surrounded me, and for a while I considered studying architecture. I became more interested in making with my hands though, so I drew on these architectural influences and brought them into my work, creating sculptures with strong lines and repetitive forms. I think this influence is still evident in my jewellery today.
3. What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why? What can you tell us about your current artwork, for example, do you explore any specific themes or subjects?
My current work is very much inspired by paper art. As well as the traditional origami style, I've spent a lot of time looking at contemporary applications of paper folding and the sculptural shapes that can be achieved. Matthew Shlian creates large scale paper art works which blow my mind! I love all of the sharp angles and the way he can use the same shapes and folds to create so many different variations.
4. What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques? Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
All of my work is made from precious metals, but my two collections are made in very different ways. My first collection 'Square Roots' stemmed from a playful exercise in which I limited my materials to a small square of silver sheet. By carefully piercing, forming and sometimes combining squares I realised that just as in origami there were endless possibilities. I also love sculpting though, so for my 'Pleated' collection I turned to wax carving and the ancient lost wax process. I carefully hand carved each section front and back to create pieces with strong lines and a touch of art deco about them. I find wax carving very calming and can get lost in it for hours, especially if I have a good podcast or audiobook to listen to!