1. Did you always know you wanted to be a jewellery designer?
How did the idea for Nmarra come about? In short, no not at all! I trained in Product Design and then worked in marketing and graphic design for many years, whilst taking ceramics and screen printing evening classes to keep my creative juices flowing. I was investigating some of the technical processes associated with brass and was really into big shiny golden earrings at the time. I wanted to create designs that had resonance with the wearer with a unique and distinctive graphically led feel so you could spot them from afar. The two things just came together and after a few experiments Nmarra was born, the earrings really took off and I never looked back. I mainly learnt through the process of bringing the idea to life, from troubleshooting with metalworking books, online resources and experimentation, then took few jewellery evening classes for good measure! I think when you come at things from a new angle, it invariably creates an outcome that probably wouldn't have happened when following a more straight forward path.
2. Can you tell us a little about the design and making process?
Sure, so design wise I'm very into bold shapes and visual balance. I love to travel, and find out about ancient cultures and object history and take a lot of snaps of natural patterns and the built environment when I'm out and about. Often these spark an idea for a design, a new range or small detail I'm interesting in exploring further. I use these as a point of reference to sketch out different designs and compositions on a million bits of scattered paper throughout the year, then bring them all together when finalising a collection. For this range of earrings I work with an industrial process to cut the shape for each piece, which allows the lines to be so sharp, then hand file, solder, polish and finish them in my studio in the east end of Glasgow.
3. What are 3 things that are inspiring your work now?
I'm working on some new pieces where the inspiration has come from natural shapes found on the sea shore and industrial forms beaten by the power of the sea. The name Nmarra comes from "na mara" which means "of the sea" in Gaelic, as I feel most creatively inspired around water, so it feels fitting that these new forms are emerging. I'm also really interested in ancient folk art and mythology, and developing some pieces that reflect those themes.
4. What’s next for Nmarra?
Who knows! More jewellery for sure...necklaces, hair accessories and rings are currently in the pipeline, along with new colours, different materials and potentially some precious elements incorporated. I'm always keen to expand in all directions, perhaps some textile or ceramic items may emerge soon...I have a million ideas and a lot of half finished things on the development table, so only time will tell what comes out next!
5. What’s the most cherished object in your home?
I have a penchant for vintage furniture, colourful artwork and an addiction to plants and ceramics. At the moment my mug du jour is a pastel marbled delight by Glasgow based ceramicist Ciara Isabel Neufeldt. I like everything to be bold and bright and playful and would say the most cherished items in my home would be a very colourful ceiling to floor wall hanging in my kitchen made from vintage Cote d'Azure fabric by designers Collier Campbell, and my 80's Garfield phone that opens it's eyes when someone calls! The phone was a gift from my sister who knows my outlandish tastes and love for Garfield well. She was living abroad when I was going through a tough time years ago, and sent me it to remind me she is only a phone call away.