Young Designers Grant 2017

Posted on 3 Oct 11:34

With the launch of our latest exhibition, we asked Rosalyn Faith who was awarded our Young Designers Grant, a few questions to get a real insight into the development  and themes behind her collection.




''I feel that the mentoring from Diana and the workshop team has helped me to refine my thought process, evolving from an artist into a small creative business.''


What first attracted you to working in jewellery design?

A lot of my work has always had a sculptural element to it, which I repeatedly thought would lend itself nicely to jewellery, and whenever I was making fabrics samples I constantly designed them with the body in mind. I realised early on that I enjoyed working on a small scale and that I was a bit of magpie for metallic surfaces so I began using wires and metal.

At the end of my degree I was unsure what career route to take, I had gained a lot of skills but my fabric designs were not the most conventional or practical and I had a lot of work that didn’t translate to the types of jobs that were available for graduates in the textile industry. I realised that I was more interested in sculptural work than fashion & interior fabrics so it felt like very natural progression for me to learn to create jewellery.


Could you tell us a bit more about your journey after graduation?

After graduating, I had a few jobs in costume for theatre before moving to Bristol to start an internship in metal work. Here, I began to learn a lot more about metals and how to work with them, furthering my interest in metal as a material. Upon completing my internship, I started working for Diana Porter at the weekends in her gallery. Here, I later progressed into working part-time in the workshop after completing a course in Contemporary Jewellery at Bristol school of Art.

Bristol really opened up the pathway for jewellery. I met an abundance of industry professionals who were excited by my work and keen to help by sharing skills, experience and advice which filled me with confidence to pursue it further. I was surprised how generous people were in sharing their knowledge. I definitely feel like I was in the right place at the right time. 


Talk us through the inspiration for your collections...

Cultural body adornment always inspires me. Particularly Indian and African tribal wear as it is often extremely decorative and holds great meanings. I regularly visit Museums and stare in awe of the historical jewellery. The ancient Egyptian use of body adornment adornment, I like to study their bold and brash statement pieces


Which designers inspire you?

I find a lot of inspiration in contemporary jewellery designers. To name a few; Lucie Gledhill, Karl Fritsch and Romilly Saumarez Smith. I’m drawn to organic shapes, unique gemstones and metal wire working. I also feel inspired by the jewellers that I work alongside at Diana’s as each of them are contemporary designers with their own collections. I’ve learnt a lot from the team and they have provided me with such a wealth of jewellery making knowledge.

There are plenty of artists from other disciplines that inspire me as well, such as; sculptor Arline Fisch who creates structural knitwear pieces; El Anatsui, who creates large scale sculptural fabrics and installation artist Cornelia Parker. Similarly, I like the way knitwear designer Craig Lawerence creates wearable sculptures around the body by adapting traditional knitting techniques.


Your process is pretty unique; please could you talk us through it?

Over the past year I have developed ways of working and I think each is extremely exciting in different ways. One method involves combining different qualities of yarn in the knitting process to create unusual fabrics then supporting by metal frames to hold the structure. Another technique involves adapting traditional knitting styles and using thicker wire to create hand manipulated shapes where each one is unique. One technique that I’ve become very fond of, involves knitting on my domestic knitting machine and casting these shapes in various metals. This process is experimental with varying results but it’s exciting to see how each piece will turn out. Each of these processes add a different quality to my collection and all move differently on the body.




''Words to describe my collections aesthetic are; delicate, detailed, tactile, organic, structural, and rich in colour!''


Which materials do you like to work with?

I love creating intricate wire work and my favourite material combination is yellow gold wire with diamond beads!


How has the Bursary helped in the progression your collection?

Having the bursary has helped me to set up my studio with the tools and equipment needed to create my work. It’s given me the freedom to be experimental with sampling and testing my ideas. It has also allowed me to create jewellery using precious materials I have always dreamed of working with!

I feel that the mentoring from Diana and the workshop team has helped me to refine my thought process, evolving from an artist into a small creative business. I am able to think of my work in a commercial way, working alongside the other designers has helped me to evolve the way I consider each piece and look at my collection more critically. My work is largely process led and I’m still experimental in my approach but feel much more able to refine ideas.


How do you see your collection developing moving forward?

I hope to develop my collection further by introducing more detailed wire working techniques. I would also like to make my pieces more decorative by embellishing my them further using more precious stones and ornamental metal elements. 

Over the past few months I have learnt a lot about the ethical and sustainable issues within jewellery and textile design world and I have become more aware and conscious of decisions i have made regarding material choice and progress. I will aim to continue down this route educating myself more in terms of materials choice and supplier ethos. 



What are your aspirations for the future?

Once I have refined my collection further, I hope to stock my work in Contemporary Jewellery Galleries in the UK, and eventually around the world. I would also like to Exhibit my collections at high end craft and design shows such as Goldsmiths Fair, Collect and Inhorgenta.