,Clevedon based silversmith Gabbie Gardner explains the inspiration behind her hand-made silver jewellery as well as the process she uses for creating these beautiful, individual pieces.
Having lived in Clevedon since 1998, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, water, plants, creatures and what feels like a million other inspirational elements; all of which are a rich source of ideas for my jewellery designs.
My “Impressions” collection grew from a desire to use Clevedon Pier as an inspiration, but in a less strictly representational way than is often seen. The history and construction of the Pier is fascinating, an excellent example of Victorian design, much loved by locals and visitors alike. My aim was to create a range of jewellery which would give the wearer their own little piece of the pier!
Handcrafted using traditional techniques
Without exception my Impressions collection is made by me, by hand – often involving many hours of concentrated effort and continuing a long tradition of silversmithing skills.
“In a world dominated by mass production, the invisible thread which connects maker and wearer, via design, craft processes and materials is an element of my work that is very important to me.”
The jewellery begins with a flat sheet of silver which is measured and marked into the desired shapes for the jewellery using a sharp scribing tool. Using the same tool, I then draw the designs onto the silver. Earrings often have opposite halves of a pattern to make a pair without both being identical.
The designs are then painted with an acid resist solution and dried, before immersing into a nitric acid mix for between ten and thirty minutes. The acid will eat away the unpainted silver, while the painted patterns will be left in relief. After the acid and resist are cleaned away, the marked out shapes are sawn, filed and smoothed; each shape is curved into a more 3D form using hammers and rounded blocks.
Soldering on rings and fittings is next and then a lengthy polishing process to highlight the raised patterns leaving the lower etched areas with a more matt finish to give maximum contrast.
The final addition of ear wires and chains completes the items ready for wearing. The process means that every piece of jewellery will be different even when patterns or shapes are repeated. I have also made variations with added gold accents or small pearl droplets.
Gabbie’s Pier inspired “Impressions” collection is exclusive to Fizz Gallery. It’s timeless, classic elegance has made this collection one of our longest held ranges.
The intricate designs of the Pier metal work reflected in Gabbie’s jewellery: