Interview with Silversmith Emma-Jane Rule

by: Mandana Oskoui

08-Jun-16

Silversmith Emma-Jane Rule is known for her distinctive folded silver with diverse textures and patinas. Her technique combines foldforming with traditional metalworking practices, such as hammer forming and hand-raising. The results are organic and tactile, reflecting the undulating lines and rhythms found in the natural world.

What does being selected for New Designers: One Year On mean to you?

It was after a visit to New Designers about 8 years ago, that I decided to go to university to do a creative degree, with the end goal of becoming a self-employed designer-maker. This has meant that exhibiting at New Designers and then at One Year On has always been a dream and a goal throughout my studies. I am therefore delighted to be exhibiting at New Designers: One Year On. To be showcasing my new collection of work at such a premier graduate show, to such a knowledgeable and varied audience, is a fantastic opportunity for my new business.


How has attending the business taster course Getting Started at the Goldsmiths’ Centre helped you to prepare for this event?

Getting Started was a brilliant week organised by the great team at Goldsmiths’ Centre. Meeting 29 other talented designer-makers and having very informative talks and presentations from creative professionals, specifically related to the Silversmithing and Jewellery industry, was an excellent opportunity. Having a piece of my work in the week long exhibition and then meeting professionals of the trade and gaining feedback at the industry evening, gave my confidence in my design a huge boost. It also came at the perfect time, at the start of establishing my business and has helped in areas such as marketing, pricing, packaging; all of the areas of business that don’t happen in the workshop but that are required for a successful One Year On.


How would you describe your design style?

I am a materials and process led maker and love to explore ideas and techniques directly in metal. Foldforming is a serendipitous way of working and allowing the metal to influence the final form suits my organic and intuitive style. My designs are sculptural and aesthetic and I am currently designing with function as well as form in mind.


What was it like getting your first piece hallmarked by the Goldsmiths’ Assay Office?

There were no tears but I was very proud! I love the tradition and the history behind the whole process and knowing that my name is now in UK silver history makes me smile. So far, I have never been organised with my time and have always used the same day service, and the London-based Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office has always delivered a fantastic service.


How will exhibiting at New Designers help you to prepare for Goldsmiths’ Fair?

New Designers is a halfway point in my calendar that counts down to Goldsmiths’ Fair. Having two events of such high quality to design and make for has really focused my mind and made my workshop time more intensive (less chatting and procrastinating!) and my designing more productive (start properly designing in a sketchbook!). I had decided from the outset that I wanted a new selection of work for each show and I am really looking forward to debuting a slightly different style and design at Goldsmiths’ Fair.

(Photo by David Usher)