Meet The Maker - Issy White

Posted on 9 Jul 07:16

For this weeks installment of Meet the Maker, we interview Issy White, an independent jeweller based in Sussex. She turns elements of nature into jewellery that captures the beauty of the world around us. A varied selection of her work is on display as part of the enchantment exhibition including textural silver cuffs and a showstopping green Sapphire Ring inspired with textures cast directly from the bark of the Hawthorn tree.

When did you start creating jewellery?

 "My first vivid memory of making jewellery is from sitting on a roof top in Nepal, learning to make knotted bracelets with beautiful hand made beads. I was 18, so that was over 20 years ago."

 "After university (not studying anything to do with jewellery) I signed up to evening courses in silversmithing and it went from there. I did a variety of part time courses and diplomas – and I experimented on my bench at home. A lot."

Who inspires you the most? 

 "My father is a big encouragement to me. He didn't have a creative career but he has the mind of an artist and he's always taken a keen interest in any creative pursuit I've wanted to follow."

 "When I first started making jewellery, the mother of my boyfriend at the time was also very supportive and encouraging. She is an art critic and has the most inspirational house, crammed full of art and interesting work. They got me my first website domain and I still have some beautiful jewellery books that she bought for me."

 "As my work has developed, one inspiration has eclipsed everything. Nature. I'm obsessed with capturing the natural world in the jewellery I create."

What was the inspiration for the jewellery in the exhibition?

 "In this exhibition I've shown pieces made from the bark of an English Oak and Hawthorn tree. Most of this bark was collected in Epping forest, which is near where I lived until very recently. I've spent so much time in Epping, finding bits of nature to cast and also just enjoying the space."

If you weren’t a jeweller what would choose as a career?

 "I always liked the idea of working with children as an art therapist. Art is such amazing tool to work through some of the more complex emotions we have."

Please can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

 "I use a process called 'lost wax casting'. Although the initial stage is really 'lost bark casting'. Contrary to what most people assume, I cast an actual piece of bark, rather than taking imprints. Once I have the texture in metal I then go about shaping to fit a finger or a wrist."

 "I love to use gemstones in my work too, I try to reflect natures nature palette using blues and greens. Finding the gemstones and hunting for the bark are the best parts of the job!"

What are you listening to?

 "I love working to music or audio books. The last book that kept me company for about 30 hours was The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. I loved it. I'm also a big fan of Folk, Jazz and Blues music. Diana Cluck and Nina Simone are two artists that spring to mind. Although I do love 'shuffle' mode on iPlayer which throws out all sorts of music from what I've collected over the years."

What’s next for you?

 "More bark, of course! I want to try out more textures from different trees. This is something I'm always doing in the background but after my next deadline I really want to take some time to properly develop some new bark from a Cherry tree I have waiting for me."

Which is your favourite piece?

 "From this exhibition, it would have to be the two stone diamond ring. I think that the contrast of the red rough diamond next to the polished white diamond work so well together. I like trying to find the balance between nature and the sparkle that people want from their jewellery."


Issy's Work is available to view and purchase as part of our exclusive nature themed Enchantment exhibition.
A collection of jewellery, inspired by the rich textures found within the flora and fauna of our world.
Featuring the talented works of: Catherine Hills , Clio Saskia, Issi Bulloch, Issy White, Lucy Stopes-Roe, Maria Manola and Victoria Walker.

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