Silversmith Emily Higham is forging a reputation in the jewellery design world for her fabulous pieces inspired by the bee hives at her family home in Grimsargh
There’s a real buzz around the jewellery that talented young designer Emily Higham creates in her tiny Ribble Valley studio.
Inspired by her bee-keeper dad Paul, Emily uses the technique and process of enamelling to translate bee-themed elements onto metal, creating aesthetical, organic and characteristic jewellery pieces.
The jewellery features hues of gold and blue black ceramic on silver and angular shapes that reflect the hives and honeycomb.
“Beehives and the beautiful gradient colours of honey and honeycomb inspired my current jewellery collection,” says Emily.
“I take inspiration from the rectangular shapes of beehive boxes and the layers they are built upon, stacked in a neat uniform line above each other, contrasted with the organic unpredictability of how the honeycomb itself grows and forms around the frames within the boxes.
“These layers are then translated into formed metal and enamel.”
A former pupil of St Cecilia’s in Longridge, Emily, 22, graduated in jewellery and silversmithing from Edinburgh College of Art last year and since then she has showcased numerous collections at exhibitions and galleries throughout the UK.
She has exhibited at a four-day New Designers event in London, which presents an international platform for galleries and buyers and she has also shown her work at Dazzle in the capital at the end of last year – an event dedicated to showing the best of contemporary designer jewellery.
“At both events there was a lot of interest in my work and I made a lot of good contacts,” says Emily, who also exhibited at the Rising Stars event at the Ashgate Gallery in Surrey. The gallery is renowned for its pursuit of excellence, supporting emerging artists.
Gill Wing Jewellery in Islington London has also talent spotted Emily whose work is in the gallery and more locally, the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe has asked for a selection of her work to put on sale: “I am so excited about showing my jewellery locally,” says Emily, who has taken an interest in her dad’s beekeeping since he started 10 years ago.
“I have always been interested as it is fascinating to watch the hives, the shapes and rectangles and the colour of the honeycomb too is amazing so I replicate that in the colour of my enamels.”
Emily uses mainly silver in her jewellery and layers of liquid enamel, which she fires in a tiny kiln in her studio, which is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Grimsargh.
She then draws in to the enamel with a small craft knife before firing it again. The end result is a unique piece of jewellery, inspired by nature.
“One layer of enamel is fired on top of another, thus the process goes on. The process of enamelling allows me to build up gradient layers of colours, marks and surface patterns which are then removed, scratched back and stacked up to reveal a collection of unpredictable marks and varied assortments of colour,” explains Emily, who plans to introduce more colours in her next collection.
Her work has been much admired and in September she won a Guild of Enamellers Bursary Award granting her membership of the Guild.
“It is very exciting as I get to take part in conferences and workshops and there will be new opportunities to exhibit too,” explains Emily, whose work has also featured in Craft and Design Magazine.
“My jewellery aims to portray the beautiful colours and the aesthetical, fragile and organic quality beehives and honeycomb hold, whilst still resembling the structural shapes found within hives.”