Designer Jewellers Group member Jo McAllister interviews new designer Morna Darling.
JM: What made you decide to become a jeweller and where did you train?
MD: I have always loved drawing and making things and with jewellery there is so many possibilities of materials, scale and concepts, this definitely attracted me to studying it. Being taken to Dazzle by my parents during the Edinburgh Festival was also a definite attraction as there was so much exciting work. I trained at Glasgow School of Art which I really enjoyed, especially my fourth year when I had free reign to really develop and explore my jewellery skills.
JM: Describe where you do most of your creative work.
MD: I do most of my creative work in my studio which I share with two other makers. I love working with materials and making samples and test pieces before I finalise my designs and sitting at my bench is where this happens. I also occasionally takeover my kitchen table with my sketchbooks, I love to draw and collage and it’s a great calm place to do it.
JM: What are you currently working on?
MD: I’m currently working on a few commissions for Christmas and continuing to develop my current collections.
JM: What are the key themes in your work?
MD: I like to make pieces with texture, pattern and colour. My work is inspired by fabrics and clothing. I am interested in representing the qualities of cloth such as layering, threading, folding and the patterns found within it. Pattern making is hugely important in my process and I am fascinated with the structural repeated elements of fabric and how to emulate these in my jewellery. Using different materials from my source allows playful exploration of how to create aspects of textiles whilst not actually including them in my work.
JM: What would you like people to notice about your work?
MD: I think I would like people to notice the different ways I combine precious and non precious materials and how they can work so well together.
JM: What attracts you to the material(s) you work in?
MD: I work with silver, plastic and copper. I’m attracted to the plastic because of the soft, organic forms I can create with what is actually a hard material. It also means I have the opportunity to add colour to my pieces. I also patinate copper to turn it blue, joining this with silver is one of my favourite combinations.
JM: What do you enjoy most – making or designing?
MD: I like nothing better than to play with different materials and to see what happens. I enjoy drawing and designing, but if I had to choose, I would say materials led processes.
JM: What is your favourite tool and why?
MD: My favourite tool is my rolling mill. I was very fortunate to receive the David Canter Memorial fund last year and I bought it with this. It’s a fantastic tool to impress unique patterns and textures on the metals I work with.
JM: Who and / or what inspires you?
MD: I have always had an interest in textiles as well as jewellery so this is a big part of my inspiration in terms of my designs, however I’m constantly inspired by the many independent makers who create unique and different work and give me lots of determination to continue making and doing what I love.
JM: If you could collaborate with one artist, designer or maker, from any time, who would it be and why?
MD: One of the first jewellers I was aware of at school was American jeweller, Arline Fisch. She uses techniques such as knitting and crochet to create beautiful pieces made from colourful wire. She creates jewellery but also large installations, I’ve always been drawn to colour so to collaborate on an installation with her would be great fun.
Morna’s jewellery is on display and for sale in the Designer Jewellers Group pop-up shop in the Barbican Centre, London, every day now until 23rd December 2015.