A blog post written for The Hepworth Wakefield's blog:
Our retail assistant, Kate Green, caught up with jeweller Kirsty Fraser to find out more about her creative processes. Kirsty Fraser is one of the newest designers to be stocked in The Hepworth Wakefield shop.
Where were born and where are you based now?
I was born in Glasgow and now live in a small village just outside called Uplawmoor, where I have turned one of the rooms in my home into a workshop space.
What materials do you like to work with and how do you source them?
I like mixing precious and non-precious metals with different types of wood and acrylic. Sourcing materials can be quite difficult, but I usually word of mouth is the best way – I struggled for a long time to find wood thin enough for me to work with and that you didn’t have to buy in huge quantities!
What or who do you take inspiration from?
As I have always had a love for architecture, this is often where I take my inspiration from as well as interior design and the subtleties of negative spaces and the shape formations that they create.
What is your process – how do you develop your ideas?
I use a lot of my own photography for research purposes, and I develop many of my ideas from the images I take. I often scan the images onto my computer and manipulate them to highlight different shape formations, patterns and repetitive sequences, or perhaps just areas that I really like the look of. When I was studying at Edinburgh they were very keen on sketchbooks and I believe each designer develops their own sketchbook style. I still use them in my design process today.
Do you hand-make the jewellery?
Yes, all of my jewellery is hand-made in my workshop apart from the wood and acrylic sections which are laser cut by a company in Glasgow. I am in the process of applying for funding for my own laser cutter as I would love to be able to explore this technique further, and use the machine to help in my design process.
For your collection ‘honeycomb and lace’ what prompted the idea of combining these two geometric designs?
I loved the structure and form of the honeycomb and how you could create so many different shapes by joining lots of them together. The lace came about when I was researching different surface textures for the metal. I liked the idea of incorporating lace as it helped to soften the rigid structure of the honeycomb.
It must have been exciting to feature inBritish Vogue; is it important to you to create fashion forward jewellery?
It was amazing to be featured in British Vogue! In third year at Edinburgh College of Art I did a collaborative project with a fashion student where I created accessories for his garments and I absolutely loved it. Since then I have always been really interested in fashion and definitely have the runway in mind when I am designing my bigger, more sculptural pieces.
The necklace and earrings that you make illustrate organic architecture, how do you feel about them being available within an architecturally important public space like The Hepworth Wakefield?
I absolutely love that my work is available at The Hepworth Wakefield. I love the building and even have a picture of it on my inspiration wall now. Who knows, the gallery could be the inspiration for my next collection!
If you could pick one person, living or dead, to wear your jewellery, who would it be?
It would be incredible to see someone such as Anna Lewis wearing my jewellery as she is such an inspirational designer. I have always followed her work and think her installations are amazing. However, it’s just as important to me to see a stranger on the street wearing my jewellery. Recently I was at the opening of an exhibition in Glasgow and met a girl wearing one of my necklaces, which meant as much to me as any celebrity or designer wearing my work.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not designing jewellery?
Photography and travelling are two of my great loves, and they serve as the most important sparks of inspiration for my work. Exploring new places and capturing memories on my camera is where I draw most of my design ideas for new collections. I believe it’s vital to constantly search out new sources of inspiration which also gives me a great excuse to visit new places and see more of the world!