Sunday, 1 August 2010

Maker of the Week - Peter Spilsbury

Peter Spilsbury is a jewellery designer based in London. He uses beautiful natural objects, hand cast in resin to make contemporary fashionable jewellery. Peter will be exhibiting and selling his work at MADE10 in November.

One favorite living craft maker.
Ooh that’s a hard question because there are so many interesting craft makers. I recently visited the New Designers show at the Business Design Centre and was really impressed by the high standard of work. I guess that I have been a fan of the Dutch design collective 'Droog' since I discovered them when studying for my BA 3D Design at Falmouth. I aspire to their clarity, simplicity and consistent strength of concept and vision. Looking through their portfolio of work I feel that at some stage in my career, I would like to make time to design furniture. Check out some furniture design from my teenage years...

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I have recently acquired a Lloyd Loom chair but I often buy some smaller crafts items such as ceramics, textiles or prints when visiting other makers’ open studios. That's the great thing about living in London you meet so many people who are here to make and create.

At age 18 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
I was studying for a BTEC GNVQ Advanced & A level both in Art & Design. William Morris has always been an inspiration but of course I have never met him. I guess both William Morris' work and my own have been strongly influenced by patterns that can be seen in nature. My father, a keen furniture hobbyist, took me to Parnham House where exquisite furniture is produced. This was a big influence too.

What music are you currently listening to?
Right now I'm listening to Aphex Twin. I like a variety.

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
I work in a co-operative studio, a converted stables hidden away in Crystal Palace. At the moment we have furniture, ceramic, web design, painting, dress making, jewellery and signage. I started out by subletting a desk on the corner and now have a space of my own. At the beginning of 2010 I took on some extra room and spent January transforming the space. The space always seems to be growing and changing with more shelves going up or a new process introduced. I have been here at the Gipsy Hill Workshops for 3 to 4 years now.

Sometimes I have help in the studio and there is always another maker around to chat too. I have built a separate room where I go to do the making, containing my messy/ noisy stuff, so these are my headphone times.

What is your favourite (art) website?
Today I was looking at a jewellery based website named benchpeg. A useful resource for finding out about exhibitions and commission opportunities.

Surprising activity/hobby?
Cycling, tennis, friends, Guinness, cats, tattoos and Dr Who.

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
I'm much better than I have been. When I started making jewellery in Cornwall I was working from home. Now that I have a studio separate from home, I find it much easier to switch off. My work/life balance varies as I think it does with all self-employed creature's. When there’s a deadline it’s all work and no play. At theses times I'm often in the studio into the early hours of the morning.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
The communication of messages heard in different ways bringing people together. Other than that a bit of fun and indulgence is very important.

Any other relevant information? Prizes won, exhibitions etc.
I recently had the pleasure of exhibiting at the Contemporary Craft Fair held in Bovey Tracey. Situated on the edge of Dartmoor, Bovey made a beautiful setting for the event. It was my first craft specific fair and a really great show for me. To those of you who I met at the fair thank you for showing an interest in my jewellery. It was a pleasure speaking to all of you.

I have been working away to create many new and exciting individual pieces of jewellery, as well as some beautiful new ranges specially for Made10 including some bespoke map men’s cufflinks. To get a taste of these cufflinks which are being created from a vintage map of Brighton follow this link:

Making my new paper & resin jewellery has been a thoroughly enjoyable process and I think the fun and experimentation shows though in the work. My next project is going to collaborate with illustrator James Cottell.

I'm also taking on commission work, so if there is something you would like specially made or saw something that sparked your imagination from my website, I would love to make it for you.

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