Designer Spotlight: Melanie Muir
A brief story of what you do and why you do it.
I studied textile design at Glasgow School of Art, waaay back when, and discovered polymer about six years ago, after a worklife in business. Its myriad qualities inspired me, and I express my love of organic patterns and bold colour through creating contemporary jewelry, which I think of as wearable art. I adore the fact that polymer has the ability to mimic the best in other mediums, such as ceramics and textiles and metalworking. The technique I use, which is inspired by the Japanese metalworking process called “mokume gane”, means that every pattern I create is a surprise even to me – that keeps me fresh and engaged!
How did you get into jewelry design?
I've always worn very individual jewellery myself, and like the idea that we (and our clients) can take our art out into the world and use it to express ourselves all day, instead of just having it sit on a shelf/wall at home.
What makes your collection unique?
The medium, the technique and the fact that no two pieces can ever be the same. My work also expresses my Scottish surroundings.
What are your inspirations?
Patterns, shapes and colours in the natural landscape.
How are you making a difference in your life?
As a 51 year old single mum of three, I am inspiring my children and students by my actions in life and business to know that you can achieve your full potential at any point. My favourite maxim is, “It's never too late to become who you might have been”.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I combine a savvy business/marketing mind with a confident, creative, artistic soul. I live in a natural, remote location (which inspires me) but have a global perspective. Also was once asked out on a date by C3PO from Star Wars – does that count?!!
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?
My biggest struggle is doing everything myself and making money directly from sales – it has been four long, hard years, but I am gradually seeing an improvement because I have diversified my business by adding teaching and designing complementary products. My biggest success is in persevering to elevate my work to the point where I am now internationally recognised (have won competitions etc.) and am in demand for my work and teaching.
“We hear a lot about ‘new, young designers', but I am that rarer thing, a new middle aged designer! I come from a PR/Marketing/Retail background but now work in polymer, a relatively modern medium. I use it to make unique, one off pieces, inspired by my surroundings in the Scottish Highlands. I also teach my techniques internationally to fans around the world.”