Esther Smith Jewellery
After studying jewellery design to degree level I set up a jewellery business back in 1991. The business has evolved over the years following the ebb and flow of family life.
Currently my work reflects a variety of interests: the properties and qualities of metal crafting, the power of narrative and my love of nature. I have explored these elements in the form of jewellery and automata. I predominantly use silver in jewellery making, aiming to achieve subtle textures with careful use of hammers and formers. I also like to incorporate semi-precious beads (e.g. lapis lazuli, jasper, agate) to add colour and focus to my pieces. I also produce a range of jewellery that reflects my love of nature, this includes simple silhouettes of British animals such as hares, foxes and badgers, as well as earrings and pendants which are inspired by leaves and seeds from my abundant Cornish garden.
Whilst designing my animal jewellery I felt there was a missed opportunity to relate a story about the characters. This, and my proximity to automata makers in Falmouth, brought me to the art of automata making, which has been a recent development in my work. I employ metal working techniques to make these miniature mechanical objects in copper and brass. I thoroughly enjoy the interplay of the characters as well as the opportunity to explore colour and texture in metal further. The automata play with stories or rhymes from the past and also express an interest in tiny moments from everyday life (a dog being taken for a walk, a fox on a moonlight ramble...). I use patination techniques to bring colour and texture to the metal and apply leaf metal to add bright finishes. They are small enough to sit happily on a mantelpiece but only truly come to life when the handles are turned.
At times my jewellery and automata come together with brooches or earrings incorporated in the automata that can be removed to be worn.