Ian Day is in his third year as a fellow with Digswell Arts, at the Fenners Building, Letchworth
1. How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions)?
As a Jeweller I am mindful at all times of the practicality of my art being able to be worn and often viewed in three dimensions. This by no means limits what is possible, however it does mean having to approach it thoughtfully and to think about the engineering of each step during design process.
Over the past few years I have had to completely re-think my life style and this has inspired me to examine ideas around the concept of ‘new beginnings’. Using these themes my latest designs are very much exploring my fascination for natural biological forms, in particular the moments of conception and birth.
2. What are you working on at the moment?
I have most recently completed a suite of jewellery called ‘Forever Mended’ which concerns the exploration of romantic love and lust. Broken hearts made in sterling silver with heart shaped holes that are laced together with gold wire as a corset would be, the heart is bleeding represented with gold drops set with a diamond in each drop.
Much of my work takes the form of bespoke commissioned pieces. At present I’m designing gold wedding rings designed to fit with an existing engagement ring. I really enjoy working with clients to come up with a design that really expresses them in some way, especially with wedding jewellery as it is such a personal item. Another client has a beautiful amethyst stone and has given me free reign to design a piece that will show it off at its best.
I have also just launched an Etsy Shop and I’m concentrating on promoting the Metal Graffiti brand in order to promote my work to a wider audience.
3. What are your plans for the coming year?
Although I’ve been a trained Jeweller for around 25 years I’m continually expanding my skills and knowledge. Most recently I’ve been playing about with Enamels and have been practicing with these planning to incorporate some of these techniques into my new designs.
I have set up an extra bench in my studio now and I hope to offer one-to-one teaching sessions very soon.
4. What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
I am often asked how you get to turn something you love to do into a career.
My answer to this question is usually “a combination of determination and pure luck.” In the case of determination it’s down to the fact that if you enjoy something you will go and do it anyway. My bit of luck happened as follows; “I was working full time as a welder fabricator in the late 80’s and found myself interested in finer metalwork so I bought some tools, some metal a book and practiced. A while later, looking for a change of career for something more creative I visited the Job Centre where upon I found a vacancy for a Jeweller. To cut a long story short, as I was able to show them some work I had made and the interest it showed I had, they offered me a full time job and further training.”
5. What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
Form and balance have always impressed me. Growing up I was often surrounded by artists and it just sort of followed that I started to make things, in any materials I had to hand. Certainly, I am in no way confined to metal work. Over the years I have had friends from many artistic disciplines including; sculptors, ceramicists, painters, carvers, jewellers, and they have all influenced and inspired me in their own way.
6. Which artist do you most admire and why?
There are truly so many it I feel unable to choose but if I were to name but a few initially, Rene Lalique, I have always loved the flow and femininity of his forms and I consider his jewellery and glass work amongst some of the world’s finest.
Antonio Gaudi, the man responsible for the design for large tracts of Barcelona whose work has always resonated with me.
Lisa Temple-Cox, an old friend and artist based in Essex, her ability to create Art with absolutely anything she finds lying about has absolutely fascinated me since I first ever witnessed it.
7. How has your relationship with the Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
Art is always with me, a space to work however is a rare thing.
My skills were getting as rusty as my tools and Digswell, providing these amazing spaces for artists like myself is simply a godsend.
I do know I love our little artistic community and there should be more like it.