Meet The Maker - Eleanor Whitworth
Posted on 21 Feb 00:00
This week in the Meet The Maker series, we interview Graduate Jeweller Eleanor Whitworth from the New Designers 2020 exhibition.
With an eye for detail and intricacy, Glasgow based designer Eleanor Whitworth draws inspiration from the smaller curiosities in the natural world. These range from ants and aphids to cleaner fish and larger marine animals and all things that creep and crawl and swim in between. She works intuitively using a palette of blacks, tonal greys and rich golds. Merging a mixture of contemporary materials together with a laser welder, she joins these miniature components together to build brooches and earrings that come alive when worn.
When did you first start creating?
"I’ve always been making things… But it’s things that are small and sculptural that have interested me most, even as a young child."
Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
"I find inspiration in the human relationship with the natural world- the enjoyment of seeking it and the scientific desire to collect and research on it. My 2019 collection, Together Living, drew inspiration specifically from various small scale symbiotic relationships in the natural world including that between algae and fungus within lichens, ants and aphids, and humans and microbes."
What influenced you to become a designer?
"If I am honest I see myself as more of a maker than a designer. Throughout university I have mainly developed my work through experimenting with materials, and so my working method is more iterative than design based. Speaking of influences to my practice, I have to mention the staff within my art department throughout school and college, who made things fun but also really pushed me and gave me the confidence to test lots of ideas."
Who are your favourite jewellery designers?
"There are so many amazing artists to choose from, but think I tend to like things best which I know are difficult to make! Three I’m most inspired by at the minute are Romilly Saumarez Smith, Aurélie Guillaume and David Bielander. These artists all produce very different, masterfully made work, but share a commonality in that they produce things that seem to be full of life."
Three words you would use to describe your work?
"Magnified, populous and curious!"
What would you say is unique about your work?
"There is something unique about the tactility of my work in that there is often a contrast between some organic agglomeration and elements that look very much constructed. This duality reflects our relationship with the natural world and the changing ways we observe and experience it."
Which piece is your favourite creation?
"I really like one of the brooches which is at New Year, New Designers called Formication. It is a fairly simple piece, consisting of several brass ants suspended in a steel cube, like a kind of freeze frame. It reminds me of insects caught in amber, frozen in time and preserved for hundreds of years in perfect condition."
What’s next for your brand?
"More making! Since graduating, I’ve been really lucky to have had lots of opportunities to show my work in a variety of contexts, which has been invaluable experience. Now, I’m excited to continue my current line of research and to get some new work out on display."
Eleanor's work will be on display as part of the 'New Designers 2020' exhibition. This exciting exhibition is available to view in store until the 30th March.
For more information please visit the Exhibitions section of our website.