Name: Emily Gray
Website Link: http://www.emilygray.org/
Where are you located? Malvern, England
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m the eldest of four daughters, born to doctor and dentist parents. Born and bred in England with an Honors Degree from UEA, Norwich in the History of Art. I have worked in engineering, investment banking (!), interior design and complementary therapy prior to coming to my senses and following my destiny to be an artist of one form or another. I’m married to David, a musician, and I have an adorable two-year-old daughter Roseanna.
When and why did you begin creating your jewelry/art? I began ‘making’ jewelry in 2003 in a very small way. I actually feel that at this point, my natural artistic instincts had been dormant for such a long time, it re-ignited my creativity and the whole thing snowballed from there! Having been out of the creative flow for such a long time (forced into academia rather than being allowed to take-up a rare and extremely coveted ‘direct entry’ to Art School), I knew something was seriously lacking from my life. Working in London was a thrill in many ways but the standard office lifestyle was so not me! Very quickly after discovering pliers, silver wire and gemstones (I know you ALL know what I mean here!), I became completely obsessed with making jewelry. The Complementary Therapy Practice that I had set-up funded my new passion and I quickly became more and more creative and began selling my work! Five and a half years on and I’m just as obsessed as I was back then. The difference now is that my life is just how I want it. I have a wonderful husband, a gorgeous daughter and I really feel I am living the life I was born to live, rather than the one that society was trying to push me into for so long.
What do you make? I call my style of jewelry ‘Fusion’ Jewelry. It is a synergistic mix of intricate wirework techniques with the finest gemstones.
What materials and methods do you use? I love to work with silver and gold metals and often oxidize the silver as I love the dramatic effect this creates. I have a *ridiculously* large stash of gemstones which I’m sure if I began this very second and never stopped, I could never hope to use up! Wire-wrapping is my favorite style to use in my pieces, but I am always trying new techniques.
Where do your design inspirations come from? I have images flying around my head all the time. Sometime these are inspired by something I have seen, such as a view, a flower, a piece of textiles – other times it could come from music or a smell or a poem. My art background is in world textiles and I am always reading books on the subject. My long-term passion is the Indian Sari which is a constant source of joy.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? I have a home studio here in Malvern. Malvern is a beautiful town in the West of England, full of culture, and is a designated ‘area of outstanding natural beauty.’ However, I can work anywhere and some of my very best work has been done sitting on my rug on the sitting-room floor! David and I are looking for a bigger house and, when we move, I am hoping to have a garden studio. I can’t imagine anything more lovely than having my workspace open out onto a lush green lawn with gravel pathways and beautiful peonies and magnolias all around!
Who are you a fan of? The one person who has constantly made me gasp in awe is Magdalena Borejko, but I must also name Holly of Bijoux d’Odalisque, Ivy of Edera Jewelry, Jennifer of JLeeOhio and Hee Soon of Sky Dreams as my favorites as I love virtually everything they create.
Price range: $65 to $2000
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: My favorite recent piece is the ‘Giverny Cuff Bracelet.’ It was one of those pieces that I created ‘in the zone’ and it went swimmingly from start to finish (sketch to photographs). I was thrilled with the finished piece and even happier that it sold within one day to one of my favorite customers!
Anything else you wish to add: I am so honored and happy to have been invited to do this interview. WorldArtisanGems is a wonderful place for Jewelry Artists of the globe to gather together in mutual admiration and get an insight into the things that motivate, inspire and excite us. Thank you!