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Equilibrium | In Conversation With Emma Ware

Monday 30 October 2017

 "We wear jewellery to be seen, to be heard, to be felt, as an extension of ourselves, letting the world know who we are."

- Emma Ware 

Borne out of a desire to celebrate the human spirit, Emma Ware's visual artistry and individualistic approach to the concept of jewellery undoubtedly set her apart from her peers. The accustomed idea that jewellery is to be merely worn for an aesthetic purpose is forever void, and instead, adorning jewellery is the ignition of your senses, how it feels as it curves and angles around the human form, and thus becoming an intimate playground for textures, geometry and patterns as they emphasise, highlight and trace your very being.

Emma's new collection Equilibrium is a seamless continuation of the visual recording of her previous collections' narratives. With an emphasis on linear materials such as dark leather straps and delicate silver wire, each piece play off with one another in the form of poetic dance and spirited energy. The straps and chains traces, and not restraint, the body's contours and its most intimate parts, empowering the essence of self and finding an equilibrium between the masculine and feminine. 

I interviewed Emma about her inspirations, her art-focused creations and the idea behind her new collection.

What inspired you to become a jewellery designer? 

It’s something I always wanted to do and it felt like the right time. I was working as a camera technician and years worth of long hours and no creative outlet took its toll. I moved into a warehouse in East London and burst into a new life of fun, freedom and creativity. I had studied Fine Art and grew up in a family of artists so that mindset was the norm for me. I see jewellery as an art form, it can be anything you want. It’s brought to life by the wearer who has a unique relationship with it. It’s expression, communication, and unlike seeing a piece of art hanging on a gallery wall you can appreciate it from a unique perspective.

Your jewellery is described as unconventional and art-focused. Tell me more about the concept/theme of your jewellery? 

I don’t start with the idea of making a necklace or ring, instead I play with a material, apply a process to it, see what happens then see how it responds to a human form. This way designs happen that I could never imagine initially. The more limiting a material seems, the more creative you have to be, really pushing its potential. The body is the star, I want my designs to celebrate, reflect, flatter and also empower the wearer.

The use of leather is central to your brand, what is it that draws you to a material seldom used by other jewellery designers? 

I realise I don't see much point in doing what has been done before. I started making jewellery from bicycle inner tubes. This was inspired by an ongoing search for ‘waste’ materials to re-purpose and realising that the rubber looked like leather but was lighter and softer and in plentiful supply. After feeling like I had done as much as I could with the rubber, leather being more rigid and colourful gave me new design options and took me on another route. I love that it’s biodegradable, can be made without chemicals and gets more beautiful as it is worn. These are big materials, I love bold structural pieces that have associations, maybe they look like organic forms or like some sort of strange artefact.

How does your surrounding influence your work? Is there a city, country or place you're also inspired by?

I’m inspired by people creating, other peoples thought processes, determination and achievements are fascinating. And feeling like you’re in a hub of creativity, a part of something, is massively motivating. My studio is in London’s Hackney Wick in a converted warehouse with gallery and caf√© and studios overlooking the Olympic stadium, we’re all working on our own things but aren’t alone, I’m very lucky! I find other cultures inspiring too, we wear jewellery and adorn ourselves but in different ways and for different reasons.

People spend most of their lives in a work space. How would you describe your studio? 

I’m in a room shared between three overlooking the river Lea in a warehouse with 35 creatives. We all know and support each other and have the backdrop of Hackney Wick which apparently is (or was) Europe’s most concentrated area of Artists. Everyone here is so sad that it’s all being demolished and turned into flats no-one can afford. It's a very special community, maybe because it’s temporary. The whole area opens it's doors to the public in the last weekend of July for Hackney Wicked, hopefully it be happening next year too.

Tell us about your new collection
 Equilibrium. How is it different from your previous collections? 

Each collection tends to be an exploration into a process or material. Equilibrium plays with lines that form structures. I love the idea of lines playing over the body and how it feels to be adorned in this way. There’s also an element of humour in an ear circled by silver. I don't take myself too seriously and I like to think my customers feel fun and excitement and freedom in wearing my pieces.

Describe the creative and technical stages of making your jewellery collection. What is the hardest and most enjoyable part of the process?

Creating needs energy… once I get started its hard to stop adding to a collection, so I have to remind myself where I ended last time and get that momentum/flow back. I then add to that the new ideas that have popped up and choose a direction and a feel for the collection, And think about what has been popular and why, and then start playing with the material and see what happens. You have to enjoy it and be genuine otherwise I think it shows in the final pieces. It’s also tricky because it doesn't feel like work, just like having fun/wasting time! The technical part is difficult as the designs need to sit or hang right and fit a range of sizes, not break, and be comfortable. Some pieces are a challenge but those are often the best or most interesting ones.

Ideally I would be designing a lot more, it's the magical part of the process, but in reality I’m making and doing admin and marketing.

Do you have your favourite piece? Which design do you wear most often?

I wear rings, earrings and hand pieces most. It used to be the Contra Mohican and Wing earrings but my favourites change as I go and at the moment I’m loving my Fulcrum and Almost rings and the Linear hand piece. I love wearing things a bit unconventionally, ie a single earring or thumb ring and it has to be a statement piece, so the bigger the better!

If you could adorn your work on a public figure (dead or alive) who would it be and why? 

Ooh Bjork is up there although I'd need to make something extra special for her. She’s an artist and pioneer in so many ways and it would be a collaboration. Also Frida Kahlo for the same reasons and for her strength and passion.

Is there a brand you would love to collaborate with?

Yes although I can't pick one right now!

Describe the person wearing your collection.

 She’s a successful, independent creative. Passionate, aware and inquisitive. Enjoying life not afraid to be herself.

I love meeting my clients!

5 words to describe your jewellery. 

Conscious, elegant, unconventional, spirited, unique.

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