Designer Spotlight: Emma M Swailes

A brief story of what you do and why you do it.

As a youngster, I had a fascination with creating things; it was the only thing I truly understood. The academic teachings of school baffled me so, however to design & create a physical piece made complete sense and as an adult this continues to be the case.

How did you get into jewellery design?

I can track it right back to when I left school, I was offered a Summer School experience at Bradford University. We had various lessons in all kinds of things, but the Jewellery class has always stuck with me. Plus jewellery is a large part of my identity, I never go a day without wearing it.

What makes your collection unique?

My work is narrative and very alive. I like to make things that are recognisable and that make you laugh or smile. I try not to be very serious, but not so silly as it becomes novelty work. It is a challenging balance!

Brolly pendant

What are your inspirations?

The things we do simply because we are British, small talk about weather, eating fish and chips at the sea side, drinking many cups of tea! When the Olympics came over, I thought it was amazing how all the countries had their name on umbrellas at the opening. I love how people can giggle at our counties ways, but we can also proudly claim them!

How are you making a difference in your life?

It’s amazing how long I have tried to find out my calling in life, after spending way too much time at university, failing a degree in furniture and starting all over again, it’s only at the grand old age of 27 I have figured out my career path. I love the lifestyle. Working from my basement work bench singing to cheesy iPod songs! Now at last I know this is what I want to do, and to see my work bought, worn and loved is an honor.

Memory Vessel

What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?

Apart from my many earrings and strange music tastes! I always reminisce my past, if I was to forget it I would be lost. It’s my deepest fear. I look forward to the future and consider myself a positive person, but I am thankful for my history. It makes me a strong, slightly daft character that people remember, and I would not change a thing.

What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?

I thought it would be a struggle working from home in the basement and coming up with new ideas, but my brain is able to concoct crazy ideas and plans well into the distant future (I call this a creative curse, stops you sleeping at night!) I am proud that I have made my business work and have confidence for the future, it is just a case of catching the people’s attention in a world bursting with talent

About Emma

_DSC0122JEMS Jewellery in Leeds creates a range of narrative bonkers jewellery inspired by the love of Yorkshire, bizarre British ritual and the act of reminiscing.

Twitter: @emma_swailes

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