Selvedge Talks To... Emma Chapman


Selvedge Talks to…. Emma Chapman Emma Chapman is a jewellery designer. She lives between London and Jaipur. What made you start designing and making jewellery? I used to work in film and theatre and was always serving everyone else’s creative talent. I had a great desire to be creative in my own right. My film work used to take me all over the world and I would always be collecting interesting jewellery from different cultures and countries. I also had a fascination for gemstones, so alongside my film and theatre work I did courses on jewellery making in London and was lucky enough to study with a gemologist in Sri Lanka. I started a love affair with India and Nepal about 20 years ago, and when I decided to break with the film industry I took a years sabbatical, which I spent in Nepal and India developing my first jewellery collection. After that I was lucky enough to be discovered by Hilary Alexander, the then fashion director of the telegraph who choose me as one of the best new jewellery designers of the moment and I was showcased as a Bright Young Gem at International Jewellery fair in London, this led on to me exhibiting at London and Paris Fashion Week and I was able to start a whole new life, which involved my combined passions of jewellery design, gemstones, India and Nepal. _dsc5152_copy_dsc5223_copy_1 What is it about jewellery that captured your attention? I loved the glamour of jewellery and I have always been fascinated by the allure of gemstones and their magic powers. I loved the heritage and culture associated with different styles and techniques of jewellery that all has a story to tell. What inspires you? Ancient geometric patterns and frescoes, Islamic architecture, Mughal and Vedic architecture. I combine ancient couture techniques such as jaali, engraving, enamelling, embossing, and stone carving and use this to create modern pieces of jewellery for today. Everywhere I go in India I find inspiration from ancient shrines, temples, patterns and architecture. Recently I travelled up to Ladakh in the Himalayas and saw incredible Tibetan Buddhist Temples, which led to a whole new source of inspiration. Who inspires you? My goldsmiths in India. They come from a long lineage of goldsmiths who have worked for centuries with the Royal Families of India and have incredible skills and knowledge about different jewellery techniques and gemstones and their astrological properties. They are my greatest teachers. emmacecj_0814_113_1 What is your favourite part of the process of designing and making the jewellery? I love the design process, the bringing together of ideas, and those ideas being turned into samples. Watching the creative process unfold into something tangible is very satisfying and all engrossing. And what’s the hardest part? What do you dislike? I love being creative, so the hard part for me is the marketing and selling. I would happily just be in the workshops all day. _dsc8929_copy_dsc5137_copy_1 How long does it take to make one piece of jewellery? It can take days or weeks, as every piece I make involves a lot of different techniques, such as stone cutting, stone setting, engraving work etc. Each piece of my jewellery has some kind of ornate detailing on it, so it involves a lot of different skill sets. Where do you live? And why have you chosen to be here? What do you like about it? Between Jaipur, India where my workshops are and where I have a home (I recently featured in the BBC Documentary Series, the Real Exotic Marigold Hotel, which showcased my home in Jaipur) and Ladbroke Grove in London. Jaipur is all about creativity, London is more for selling. Meet Emma and her beautiful jewellery at The Selvedge Artisan fair, Summer, on 21 May, tickets are now available. 2015-09-09_20-11-21_b_r8_s3_copy2015-09-09_20-12-03_b_r8_s3_copy_1

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