Meet the Maker - Aimee Winstone

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Joining our Paper Scissors Stone team for Summer is jeweller Aimee Winstone.  We caught up recently for chat about her work...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My first words as a baby were "draw it" and the only way to entertain me was to give me some paper and crayons. It was inevitable I was going to be a creative person. At the age of 14 I bought some beads to make jewellery, I attended a local craft fair and all I sold was a key ring to my Grandad! However, I was determined to develop my creativity and continued to design and teaching myself new skills, beading. I became passionate to learn more and soon started making silver pieces on a small table in my bedroom. Eventually I enrolled at Birmingham's School of Jewellery and completed an HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing in 2004. Whilst studying I was able to refine skills I initially taught myself and found a passion for wax carving and casting whilst incorporating new technologies such as laser welding and computer aided technology. In 2006 I was awarded Lonmins Design Innovation Award for the platinum Dofleini Ring. This was exhibited at International Jewellery London on the Johnson Matthey marketing stand, appearing in the Platinum Magazine and also gaining press coverage for the use of CAD technology. Building on these experiences I now have a workshop in Bristol where I create my own jewellery,whilst working on a commission basis with customers and I have six beautiful collections of nature inspired jewellery. 

Apart from creating things what else do you enjoy doing? 
My biggest love is to travel. I have just come back from a trip to Egypt which was a snorkelling holiday. I also went to Thailand and Cambodia in February which was the most amazing trip seeing many temples, tribal people, tigers and monkeys. I love to learn about cultures, talk to people and soak up the atmospheres in markets. Travelling gives me lots of inspiration for my jewellery. I also have a dog called Apple and enjoy dog-walking around Blaise Castle and Snuff Mills in Bristol. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
My jewellery is natural and organic. I have been inspired by exotic sculptured flowers and sea life which have ultimately influenced my designs. Many of my designs jingle or articulate and I like how they freely arrange themselves on wearing them. My travel experiences also come through in my designs. My most recent collection “Paisley” was inspired by a trip to Goa in India. I loved the colours, patterns and the Mehndi tattoo designs. The paisleys are still a work in progress and I hope they will evolve into a colourful collection reflecting the colours worn in saris. 

Describe your studio or workspace? 
I work in a converted garage which I love as it's my own space to be creative. I originally painted the walls bubblegum pink and realised immediately it was a bad idea! 

What is a typical work day for you? 
The majority of my work is to create commission pieces in silver, gold or platinum. Many of my pieces have been engagement rings and wedding rings as well as birthday presents. My days often involve meeting customers to discuss ideas and possibilities and then go away to work on the ideas and offer them designs. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
I like tinkering with ideas, getting messy and working on something different everyday. I love meeting people and having a good chat, building relationships with customers who I often keep in touch with. I enjoy the varied requests and the creativity of what people are looking for. A recent wedding ring was for a tractor driver, so I created a tractor tyre patterned ring. I enjoy knowing the fact I am making something that will be cherished and worn for many.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
I would love to have a peek at Stephen Webster’s workshop. His pieces are so extravagant and I would like to know where his initial thoughts come from to arrive at his lovely pieces of jewellery. 

Which local artist/maker do you most admire? 
When I was 15 I went to Nicholas Wylde's in Bath for a weeks work experience. He taught me a lot of basics about how to work with metal and gave me a great basis to start playing with ideas. I enjoyed the week so much I bought some tools immediately. I admire the business he has managed to build. 

Tell us your current loves: 
• Restaurant / Café: I often like to go to the Swan at Tockington as a pub lunch. Proseccos in Clifton is a great restaurant too. 
• Blog: I follow the Adorn London blog, its a jewellery blog great for trend spotting 
• Book: I like to read cultural books such as The Last Empress by Anchee Min or Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden 
• Designer / maker / artist: I like the designs of Ruth Thomlinson, Mikala Djorup and Paul Spurgeon. They all have a natural organic feel in their designs but some are made with a lot of traditional techniques in a contemporary way, others have created organic designs using innovative techniques such as CAD technology and laser welding. 

If you were stranded in the wilds somewhere, what item would you need with you the most? 
A sat nav, my sense of direction is atrocious!

Thank you Aimee, a lovely interview.  Your jewellery is beautiful.  You can find Aimee's work in our Paper Scissors Stone shop this Summer.

Paper Scissors Stone
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