Lewes based designer-maker Phoebe Sherwood combines silver and gold with different types of wood to create timeless jewellery with a playful narrative. She began making jewellery whilst studying Art &Design at Brighton City College. After working as a trainee jewellery-maker for four years, she set out to design and craft her own original collections founding Phoebe Jewellery in early 2012.
Find out more about Phoebe from our interview below or come say hello at MADE London - Canary Wharf!
1: How and when did you want to be a maker and how did you start to realise that aim?
My passion from a young age was drawing and I was determined that one day I would be an illustrator. I got my first taste for designing jewellery making a ring in a metalwork project at School at the age of 14 and then again on my Art Foundation at Brighton City college. From then my head was filled with ideas but it took until I was 23 to acknowledge that my early aspirations had evolved and I wanted to pursue jewellery design. I talked to a few jewellers about where to start, one of whom gave me a bench trial before offering me an apprenticeship. It was a very lucky break and I've never looked back.
2: Who did you learn from, who inspires you? What and who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
I was taught to make jewellery by goldsmith Justin Small at Alexis Dove Jewellery. Instead of looking at other jewellers or artists to influence me when I started out, I was determined to develop my own style and looked to the countryside around me as well as photographs of natural forms. While I'm creating jewellery which features common themes, it's always my objective to make pieces which are not a direct copy the subject, but an interpretation of it in my own unique style.
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 recent trip to Cape Town was inspiring, there's so much to take in with the architecture, colours and huge variety of wildlife. The local art scene was was really impressive and I loved the use of colour and texture. In my own work I enjoy playing with contrasting colours and textures by combining wood with silver and gold. The themes relate to connections within nature and also the connection between a natural and a manmade object. I'm still constantly inspired by the surrounding countryside and often think up ideas while out walking my dog Ernie.
4: What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques? Tell us a bit about your process and what environment do you like to work in?
I work mainly from silver sheet and wire and sometimes carve in jeweller's wax to create a master. I have a little workshop I converted from a garage about seven years ago which is hidden away at the back of a garden in Lewes with
windows looking out onto the South Downs. It's a bright and cosy space with two benches and desk. The wall above my bench is lined with images and objects I find inspiring and the windowsill is home to an ever expanding collection of plants and succulents.
5: How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
When I started out my ideas were drawn purely from my love of nature and the countryside. Over time my designs have also been influenced by themes from my Scottish heritage and more recently from my travels overseas which is particularly apparent in the Cacti collection.
6: Which book would you recommend as inspiration?
The Natural Geographic