Meet London based jewellery designer, Farah Qureshi, whose love of travelling takes her to interesting places to source beautiful gems and stones for her next collection.
What is your background and where did you study?
I have always loved drawing and painting since I was very young and later went onto study three dimensional design and metalwork at art school, specializing in jewellery design.
What are your essential tools to create jewellery?
When making jewellery I use a number of tools, a few of the essential tools are a piercing saw for cutting out shapes, a file for smoothing the edges and a torch for soldering pieces of metal together. I have recently purchased some repousse tools and am looking forward to practicing this particular technique.
What inspires you?
Many things in life are inspirational, I am inspired by found objects, which can spark new ideas for jewellery. For example the Geo collection was originally inspired by rectangular object, found in a engineering tool box, which was then abstracted to create pieces of jewellery. I love to travel and often find inspiration when visiting different countries and experiencing different cultures. There's always lots to see when visiting new places. I always take photos when I am away, as a visual diary which then spins off new ideas. I also look at botanical imagery, from which I have created collections. In London there is a great botanical garden called Kew gardens which has some very unusual plants, the three dimensional forms can be perfect for new jewellery designs. I also research new ideas from looking at books on different themes.
What is coming forward for your Spring/Summer collections?
For Spring summer 2015 I will be broadening ranges of jewellery which have started as one or two pieces and will be adding to these pieces. For example I have created a ring called the Fraser Island ring which is made in Ethical gold and gem stones, I have created designs based around the ring and will be making earrings, pendants and bracelets. I have also created two pieces based on Microscopic algae and will be adding to the range along with a collection called Geo made in silver and gold plate.
Travel is important to you, where are you going this year?
I enjoy traveling to new places and revisiting countries and discovering more about those countries, its great to hear about the history, seeing the sights and developing a greater understanding of each place. Traveling is also good for developing new themes for jewellery. This year I will be going to Germany, in February. Later in the year I hope to be going to Denmark, Norway, Holland and the Middle East (which would be an exciting destination to go to.) All of the destinations are work related where I will be taking part in trade or retail events. The new destination will be the Middle East. In the past I have been able to travel to South and South East Asia, Australia and Canada (amongst other places).
How do you source your stones and does colour play an important role in your work?
I have a collection of stones which I have built up over the years and source new stones from the internet and from businesses in the U.K. Using stones is a great way to introduce colour into the jewellery that I create. I am interested in working with a broad colour palette and exploring different colour combinations.
What shows or events are you doing this year?
At the moment I am taking part in a craft show at the Mall galleries in London showcasing jewellery with the Society Of Designer Craftsmen. It's a lovely show and great venue. Next month I will be travelling to Munich to show collections at a trade event called Inhorgenta, there is a Valentine's showcase at a gallery I share in London called JeDeCo based at Oxo Tower. There will also be other events to be confirmed during the rest of the year.
What was the first piece of jewellery you made?
The first piece of jewellery I ever made was as a teenager when I took part in a short jewellery making course. It was made in silver with black and red perspex.
If you didn't make jewellery, what would you do?
If I didn't make jewellery I would have gone into another creative discipline such as textiles.
You teach jewellery workshops, where can we find out about these?
I currently teach an evening class in jewellery making in Chiswick, London; for students who have some experience in making jewellery, and students can look on the Chiswick calender (a website for events in the area) for more information.
To find out more about Jewellery Designer, Farah Qureshi go to her website http://www.farahqureshi.co.uk