Designer Spotlight: Amy Jennings
A BRIEF STORY OF WHAT YOU DO AND WHY YOU DO IT
I currently make wooden, electroformed copper and hybrid (wood & electroformed copper) rings. For most of my twenties I struggled to realise what I wanted to do with my life but I did know that I didn’t want to spend 5 days a week wearing uncomfortable clothes and staring at a computer screen. About 5 years ago I started making pyrographs, this developed into a desire to create “things”. I soon realised that this is what I should be doing with my life but unfortunately society doesn’t place much confidence in young creatives so I had this silly preconception that you can’t make a living from drawing or being creative in that way. It took me a while to realise that actually it’s very important to listen to your creative voice and not stifle it under a job that might make you money to do the things you want but takes away the time to actually do them.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO JEWELRY DESIGN?
It began last year when I simultaneously met the love of my life and figured out what I wanted to do with it. As a maker of wooden furniture himself he saw the potential in the rings and encouraged me to make more. Initially it started as something that could create additional income to support my university loan. I managed to hone my bentwood ring making technique but as school got more intense I had less time to give to my rings. Now that I have the time and the support from my family I am just enjoying coming up with new designs and seeing the outcomes. Since finishing university I have devoted all my time to just making rings and it has been divine. I am constantly learning something new every day but as someone who is soon to to enter her thirties I am certainly feeling the pressure to succeed at what I love(!)
What Makes Your Collection Unique?
I always remind myself that nothing is original, everything comes from something else but it’s your interpretation of it that makes it unique. There are so many amazing designers coming up with beautiful bent wood rings but I never saw anything too out of the “ordinary”. I began incorporating pyrography and stone inlaying into my ring designs but it was such a tiny canvas and I wanted to do more. I had an image in my mind of a wood/metal hybrid ring and thanks to Pinterest, I discovered the world of electroforming. I have done some pretty thorough research on the internet and I can’t find anyone else who is doing what I’m doing at the moment with the hybrids – though undoubtedly there must be. There are few makers of wooden rings who also incorporate metals into their work but doing so in a totally different way that I haven’t figured out yet haha.
What Are your inspirations?
Anyone who pushes the envelope. I am perpetually intrigued by how people “make” and how they innovate and go beyond the normal boundaries for their field and i’m so grateful to people who share there experience. Equally I am inspired by master crafters who set the benchmark for the rest of us to aspire to and go beyond. This can take the form of unique jewellery, sculpture, interior design, illustrations or anything that just catches my eye.
HOW ARE YOU MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
I grew up with a love for animals and as a result am pretty vocal about my disgust for how we commodify animals today. I am vegan and one of my goals in life is to educate others on the all-round benefits of such a lifestyle. It really seems to be kicking off lately with huge corporations such as Kaiser Permanente and lots of celebrities endorsing plant-based diets. I put aside 5% of each sale to give to animal charities and try to be as green as possible.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I am incredibly messy but will simultaneously get anxiety at having an untidy living situation. I have to have a clean bathroom and kitchen or else I feel “dirty”. My bedroom and studio on the other hand are….a work in progress(!) I am also a sugar addict. If I wasn’t vegan and didn’t have to bake all my own cakes and puddings then I would probably be the size of a house.
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN RUNNING YOUR JEWELRY BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS? OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS IN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS?
Currently my biggest struggle is selling my pieces. At the moment I am only selling online and haven’t yet pursued consignment store options as I’d like to have a solid volume of work before I go down that road. I’ve just read Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work” and it’s got me all fired up to get myself out there. I can’t wait to see my pieces in a real live store!
I have recently gained a BA Hons in Illustration & Graphic Design from University of Hertfordshire and currently live in the home town where I grew up, Welwyn Garden City. I began making wooden rings about a year ago as a way to earn some extra money whilst studying. Prior to my studies, I was focusing on pyrographic illustration and did a few commissions here and there including some for the wonderful SJC Drums out of Massachusetts