Gail creates hand-painted acrylic jewellery which refracts dense colour with metallic gold and silver undertones across smooth and sculpted surfaces.These interact with the organic curvature and geometry of the highly polished optical-quality acrylic shapes, creating shimmering, ever changing iridescence.
Gail has exhibited worldwide throughout her established career as a jewellery designer. Starting her training back in 1981 at Manchester Polytechnic were she took her first degree in Wood, Metal and Ceramics. She won a full bursary from the Royal College of Art for a Master’s Degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery, and was awarded her M.A. in 1985. Her degree show contained a range of jewellery, fabrics, furniture and lighting, and while at the college she won the 1983 Bakri Award. Over the years Gail has attracted a large and enthusiastic following, not just in the UK but in many overseas countries too.
We asked Gail a few questions about her and her jewellery, read on to find out more…
What made you decide to be a jewellery designer?
From a very young age I enjoyed making small things. When I was 4, I used to decorate matchboxes with felts and velvet and braids, and tiny beads and ornaments. At school I loved art and mostly painted and sculpted. I once made a tooth brush that was taller than me. At college I branched out making furniture and lighting as well as jewellery, but in the end jewellery won out. I am always thrilled when I see the pleasure with which people wear my work and the confidence it gives them, and I love experimenting with shape and colour and pattern. I see myself not just as a jewellery designer, but as an artist. I also make paintings on acrylic, decorate clocks and dishes, and any other item that can be fashioned from acrylic.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
I don’t really have a single biggest influence but many people and styles I have encountered along the way have shaped my outlook. My father painted and my various art teachers all left a mark, but I also take inspiration from nature, from different ethnic traditions, from the ideas of various artistic schools such as art-deco , and in particular the Bakelite jewellery of the 1930’s and the wallpaper and textile designs of the 1950’s.
If you weren’t a jewellery designer what do you think you would be?
I have no idea. I am well-nigh unemployable and have never worked for anyone else, so maybe I’d be a furniture designer/maker or perhaps a portrait painter.
What’s the most exciting piece you have ever made?
Probably the piece I made for Lesley Craze’s 30th anniversary exhibition – it was a multi coloured articulating necklace with subtly changing colour graduations which changed depending on which angle you looked at it. (image left)
18ct Gold Cuff by Alison Bradley
If you could own a piece by another maker in any discipline, no price limit, what would it be?
I love Helen Noakes’ work, but Alison Bradley has a stunning solid gold, jewel encrusted cuff-bracelet that I covet.
If you could choose anyone to wear your jewellery, who would it be?
I wouldn’t ask anyone to wear my jewellery who didn’t enjoy it, so don’t have expectations of anyone in particular. If you are asking who I admire, it’s good-natured people with a smiling countenance, positive outlook and good grace, and a current example of that is Nicola Adams, the Olympic double gold medallist!
What do you love most about being a jeweller?
I love the fact that my art can be worn and enjoyed by the wearer. It always gives me a thrill when people tell me how much they enjoy wearing my work and when I get asked where I get my jewellery.
How do you relax after a day in the studio?
I don’t keep regular hours. I work from home and work all hours. I really enjoy my work; it is my relaxation, and my relaxation is my work.