Designer and maker Emma Aitchison creates jewellery inspired by the weather. Each piece is handmade – where possible from sustainably sourced materials – in her east London studio. Aileen Murphy meets the maker to discuss the message behind the brand, her new collection and how to shop more ethically
Tell us how you came to launch your eponymous jewellery label...
I’ve always had a creative project on the go, and it was usually jewellery making. But I couldn’t afford a studio so I started making my designs in a shed I built at the end of my garden. I sold my work at local markets and after some time I decided to take the plunge. Emma Aitchison Jewellery was born.
What does an average day consist of?
No two days are ever the same when you run your own business. However, on a typical day I leave the house around 7.30am and cycle along the canal to my studio in Hackney Wick. After responding to emails, I get started on my workbench, hammer-ing and sawing away for the best part of the day. After a few hours I start doing admin for future projects and events; I have an exhibition coming up as well as lots of work-shops so there’s always lots to do. I try to make sure I have downtime in the evenings, spending time with friends, cooking or relaxing.
The work is inspired by the weather. Can you tell us more?
The weather has endless possibilities! I like to look at the forces and their effects in an abstract way, and I attempt to capture those fleeting moments that pass us all by. I like to look at the weather as a universal language; everyone experiences it, and we all have it in common. Given my love for nature, opting for sustainable production was just an obvious path for my brand.
What can we expect from your forth-coming collection?
It’s all about rain, flooding and melt-ing icecaps. I’ve gathered a lot of research and data about the melting icecaps, which I’ll use, alongside 3D technology, to transform the data into unique jewellery. There will be a mix of small pieces with large sculp-tural items and the materials will be sustainably sourced where possible.
Give us your tips for ethical shopping...
Simple changes to shopping habits can go a long way.Buy fewer, better quality items. Shop with independent local traders, at vintage shops or swap with friends. Always take your own reusable shopping bags. Opt for items with the least packaging. Don’t be afraid to ask where things were made or who by.
You run creative workshops in your studio, teaching the art of silver jewellery making and leather belt production. Tell us more...
I’ve always loved teaching and encouraging others to become interested in design so I offer one-to-one jewellery workshops. Typically I teach clients how to make a silver ring or bangle using traditional sil-versmithing techniques. I also offer wax ring carving workshops – you learn the skills to carve an item from wax, and then have it transformed into metal. I have a lot of hen par-ties come in for workshops, as well as clients who want to make their own wedding bands.