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)
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.