Emma MacLeod is a wonderfully creative contemporary jeweller based in Scotland. From her Dundee workshop, she draws inspiration from industrial construction and fabrication methods, producing miniature, wearable structures. Her unisex jewellery, much of it a homage to Dundee’s docked rig legs, features sharp lines and geometric shapes.
Winner of the Neo Design Award, it comes as no surprise that Emma’s stylish and astutely rendered pieces have been featured by British Vogue. I was keen to find out what led her to jewellery design and which influences shaped her work’s distinctive and characterful style. She says,
‘I was first introduced to jewellery at college before I applied to uni. It was a small class, but my tutor made it really engaging and creative. I’ve always loved sketch book work and this was a key part of the designing on the course. From here I transferred my inspiration and ideas to tangible samples and finished pieces.’
Jewellery design is an impressive feat. It takes considerable skill to draft and mould a piece of miniature architecture that can be worn and Emma’s processes and ethos are a testament to that skill. She tells me that over the years, her approach to designing certain pieces has changed, but that the items she produces consistently communicate the strong personality of the place in which they were cast.
‘My process is slightly different from graduating two years ago. I sample a lot before a design is final. I need to work out size, scale, weight and the final finish of the pieces. My work is designed, cast, hallmarked and finished in Scotland. It’s lovely to be able to tell a customer a piece entirely Scottish.’
When asked about her influences, Emma cites designers such as, Georg Dobler, Ariane Ernst and Filipa Oliveira as her favourites. Also mentioning Katherine Agnew, a jewellery designer similarly inspired by Scottish heritage and the vast landscapes of the highlands, and London-based Michelle Oh.
Her Pylon13 Collection is inspired by the outline shapes of pylons and the solidity of brutalist architecture. These simple, small-scale pieces are finished with a variety of textures and are available in Matt Silver, Polished Silver and Oxidised Silver; all equally as beautiful. I particularly love the way in which Emma refers to her creations as ‘structures’, directly channeling the industrial design inspiration behind each piece. I asked Emma whether she had any exciting news to share, she said,
‘This winter I will be offering the collection in a yellow 18ct Gold plated finish too. It’ll add a little sparkle to the season. The current collection will be heading to some new stockists, and refreshing some current ones.’
Emma MacLeod’s sleek and stand-out creations are available at Neo Design, Dundee, The Shop of Interest, Glasgow and The Barony Centre, West Kilbride and can, of course, be snapped up online
A brilliant fusion of style and site-specific artistry, these original pieces will no doubt make a wonderful festive gift for creatives, industrial design-fanciers and fashion-heads this winter.
Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth