Meet the Maker - Ruby Taglight

Posted on 25 May 07:00

This week we speak to Ruby Taglight whose sculptural jewellery explores the importance of adornment. Drawing on themes such as myth, history, and religion, her pieces play with combining traditional materials and forms, with those less conventional, such as synthetic gemstones and figurines, celebrating the over-feminine, over-embellished, and the kitsch.

The pieces are from a collection called “Untitled”. The collection name comes from the starting point; those little details that exist somewhere between historical artefact and pure ornament.

Ruby Taglight workbench image for Queer exhibition Diana Porter

When did you start creating jewellery?

I started my journey into jewellery after studying sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art. I became obsessed with the ornament, and the value we place on the objects that adorn us. I moved to New York to study Gemmology, and on returning to London I began an internship with Pippa Small, an ethical jewellery designer. Alongside this I started taking short courses as an introduction to the world of jewellery making, and found wax carving to be really accessible, having trained in sculpture. From there I started to carve wax at home before and after work. The start of the pandemic was when I really started to focus on jewellery making full time, as I was already set up at home to carve pieces. I now have a workshop at Cockpit Studios, London, where I make jewellery full time.

sketchbook drawings by Ruby Taglight Queer Exhibition Diana Porter

Who inspires you the most? 

I’m inspired the most by museums, my favourite being the V&A. I love the way that it is packed with artefacts from all different areas of art and design history, all in one place. Every time I visit, I start in a random section and allow myself to wander non-chronologically. I always discover something new that inspires me, down to found colours, or a detail in a frame. I have a huge folder of images from museums I have visited around the world, which I regularly reference when making work.

Ruby taglight working at her jewellery bench Queer exhibition Diana Porter

What does ‘Queer’ mean to you?

Queer to me means not adhering to the binary rules within society. I am inspired by the idea that anything is possible, and expression can be endless. I think Queer holds space to explore and have fun with whatever I am creating. I enjoy creating within the realm of insanely extravagant pieces, to inject a little bit of magic into the everyday, and retell history from new perspectives.

Soldering and settings stones by Ruby Taglight for Queer exhibition Diana Porter Jewellery

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

Each piece I make starts from a found story, myth, piece of art, building, etc. I look to the stories that have survived hundreds or even thousands of years, and try to understand the emotions that people at the time must have felt on seeing for example sea monsters on maps, or giant ornate churches. I always start with a mixture of wax carving and drawings, usually getting straight into wax forms without a clear idea of what the piece may be, while surrounding myself with images and texts of the chosen starting point. Once I have a rough form, I start manipulating it into something wearable, in the hope that the outcome will be a fine balance of function and form, with the story retaining a life of its own.

Ruby Taglight working on the Crown

What’s next for your creative practice?

I am starting to work on a capsule wedding and engagement ring collection, all under the theme of excessive love; think huge stones, bulging forms, bright colours. These will be giant statements of love and commitment, with a mythical twist.

Finally, for fun, what would be your dream piece to make or person to make for?

My dream piece is to make a huge candelabra, covered in narrative details to discover. I have been dreaming up ideas for this object for a couple years now, and am slowly experimenting with practicalities for the work.