I love art and I am most excited by making interesting yet practical jewellery designs that people enjoy wearing and bring them compliments. I produce a wide variety of jewellery including items that can be used every day, as well as more formal designs for special occasions and items in between.
I take inspiration from many different sources; from nature, from ethnic traditions, from the ideas of various artists and artistic movements, modern architecture and the wallpaper and textile designs of the 1950’s.
I find acrylic (aka Perspex, Lucite, Plexiglass, PMMA) the most fascinating and versatile of 3-D media. It combines deep transparency and intense clarity with the most surprising reflectivity from internal surfaces. It is capable of capturing light and colour and form and reflecting it back in myriad ways. I use a variety of techniques including cutting, heating, and moulding block, sheet and compounds to produce my shapes, while other pieces are cast, laser-cut or moulded. I have developed my own processes to decorate it. It can be coloured or clear, patterned or plain, smooth or textured, sculpted or engraved, matt or polished, in almost any combination to reflect mood. I am constantly experimenting and this material facilitates endless creativity through varying shape, colour, texture and decoration. But I don’t just love it for its impact and visual complexity but because of the many different ways it can be adapted to be worn as jewellery, both as adornment and as art.
Gail’s designs have been featured in the national press, including the Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Mail on Sunday, Elle, Vogue, Country Living, Harpers & Queen.
Her work was selected by the Design Council and shown in “Design Magazine”.
Gail’s designs have appeared on TV in the BBC crafts programme “Hand-Made”, a half-hour feature on Japan’s Fuji TV, and several TV advertisements.
Her work has also been discussed in Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
In 2004 her work was worn by Emma Thompson in the film “Love Actually” and in 2006 Gail was the subject of two BBC training documentaries.
More recently her work was exhibited at the Lesley Craze 30 year anniversary exhibition. Her work can be found at many craft galleries, contemporary jewellery shops, and museums including the Royal Academy where her work has been on sale for the past 8 years.
Gail took her first degree in Wood, Metal and Ceramics at Manchester Polytechnic in 1981.
She won a full bursary from the Royal College of Art for a Master’s Degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery, and was awarded her M.A. in 1985. Her degree show contained a range of jewellery, fabrics, furniture and lighting, and while at the college she won the 1983 Bakri Award.
In 1995 she won the Jewellery Award at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
She has lectured at the Central School of Art, and has acted as External Assessor for jewellery courses at Harrow College of Art (1990).
Gail has exhibited all over the world (Au Printemps (Paris), Barbican Jewellery Exhibition, Liberty, Top 5 Craft Artists (British Council – Japan), The Chelsea Crafts Fair 1985-93, Classic Plastics(Craze Gallery), Goldsmiths’ Hall, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1991 British Council Sogo Store Japan, 1991 From Paper to Platinum (Craze), Itami Museum ,Japan, Today’s Jewels (Craze Gallery), National Trust Shops, 1995 Walker Art Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Oxford Gallery, 1998 The Chelsea Crafts Fair, Hill House (Rennie Mackintosh NT), 2000 SOFA Chicago (Craze Gallery), Jewels for 2000 (Craze Gallery), 2001 Plastics (Geffrye Museum), 2006 Origin, 2007-10 Bovey Tracey Contemporary Crafts Fair, 2008 Architecture Centre Bristol, 2008 50@BDC (Bluecoat), Dazzle (since 1985), 2009 Origin, and Desire.
Some of Gail’s designs have been purchased for the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Saatchi Collection, National Galleries of Scotland and National Galleries on Merseyside.
Gail’s work has also been listed in Judith Miller’s Collectables Guide.
Some customer comments...
Love the designs on the web. KG
The pieces are much loved and admired every time they are worn. AH
Gail, we have just received the earrings and would just like to say that they are beautiful (my wife's reaction), and thank you very much for your great service. AO
Thank you very much for the ring it fits perfectly and looks wonderful with the bangle and necklace. I have already been wearing them and had lots of nice comments !!! SC
I purchased one of your acrylic bangles at Bovey Tracey craft fair and have loved it and worn it a great deal. HS
I saw some of your jewellery on display at the National Theatre this weekend and just loved it! KG
I've been looking at your website and very much admire your work. TN
I love your jewellery and both own and have given a number of beautiful pieces over the years. Thank you for your wonderful work. JD
I just wanted to enquire about the availability of a bangle. I have that one already in different colours and it is constantly admired! Actually one of the people that admired it is my friend SP and I know that her husband M has found you an invaluable source of birthday and anniversary presents ever since! SD
I think my husband has bought me a pair of your earrings every year for at least 10 years...at the fair. JK
Please forgive the delay in thanking you for sending my jewellery. It arrived & is lovely. JB
Thank you very much for my newly restored necklace. Wonderful job. JH
The necklaces have arrived safely, they look lovely, thank you very much. SW
Thank you so much for making replacement earrings for me - I'm absolutely delighted with them and they are now my new favourites. I love the fact that they're so ultra-light to wear, and the way the light catches them. Absolutely gorgeous :o) LM
Many thanks for making me my necklace so quickly, I'm really pleased with it. JG
I bought some of your jewellery at the Islington Christmas fair last year. I love what I have and would love to buy more. SC
Your work is beautiful. LW
Firstly may I say how lovely your jewellery is, I have been buying it for several years at the London and Manchester Dazzle exhibitions - I tour all the cabinets and somehow always come back to your designs. My equally jewellery-crazed friend who comes with me on this outings says (jokingly, I hope!) that you'll end up taking out a restraining order on me if it carries on! I have lost count of the number of people who have complimented the necklaces whilst out and about. JS
I so loved my acrylic earrings (bought a couple of years ago at Dazzle in Edinburgh.) I wore them to my son's wedding last month and lost one. Is there any hope that you might replace one for me? LS
Just a quick note to say “thank you” for organising the fabulous jewellery for me on Thursday. It hardly needs saying that it was a triumph!! It went so well with my outfit and enjoyed many compliments! My daughter was absolutely thrilled with her necklace too and I’m sure your work will spread through family and friends. MP
with thanks -my repaired and new things... now i am a happy bunny again CG
I am emailing from Melbourne, Australia. I have just seen a wonderful choker of yours this evening and I wonder if it is possible to purchase one. NG
I am interested in purchasing a large flat square ring in azure blue tones with gold accents from your collection. I love your work and would love to have a piece from your collection. MP USA
I am extremely fond of this jewellery. UO
I really liked your designs and bought a necklace and ear-rings to match. JFC
I have once again lost one of my favourite earrings which you very kindly replaced for me some 2/3 years ago. Is it possible for me to send you the remaining earring so that you can make one that matches ? JG
Last year I bought two items from your stand at the Contemporary Art Fair in Bovey Tracey - a pale gold choker - a single 'neck-shaped' piece and a ring in the same colourway. I love the pieces and wonder if you might have a bangle in this colourway. I know your pieces are generally a bit more colourful but I love the simplicity of these. JHW
Sadly I have managed to lose one of a pair of rather old earrings I have had from you for many years and I wondered whether you would be able to create another or make a matching second pair ? RG
I purchased a set of your beautiful jewellery at the Spirit of Christmas and have worn it lots and always had such wonderful comments. JG
Jewellery gratefully received yesterday. Looks gorgeous - beautiful intense reds and purples - thank you. TC
My mother’s Christmas present to me was one of your beautiful metallic painted acrylic rings from Dazzle at the National Theatre. I absolutely love your designs. VFG
The valentine’s postman brought me your earrings which are the exactly right colour. TP
Thanks ever so much for the jewellery. The new pieces arrived today, and look stunning on - guess what I'll be wearing to work tomorrow ! CE
Thank you so much for the necklace. What a clever invention. The earrings are fabulous and were much worn over the festivities. JJ
Just to say that when I arrived home tonight my earrings and pendant were here and they are a perfect match. Thank you so much - I look forward to wearing them this weekend and to hinting to the family for my birthday!! MP
I hope I have found the maker of my very favourite pair of earrings, one of which is lost (they match a bangle of the same design). RS
Thank you so much for the elastic for my bangle, it's great to be able to wear it again, I missed it. JF
Thanks so much for sending the invitation for the private view – I took my husband and my daughter and her husband. You’ll be pleased to hear we almost emptied your showcase! My lovely husband bought me a pendant, earrings, ring and bangle in the wonderful indigo/purple colour for Christmas, and my daughter bought 3 rings and a pendant! My husband says you’re not to send any more invitations!! Thanks again, we shall so enjoy wearing them all. AH
I was so pleased to receive a card just the other day about your exhibitions in London this winter because I did not know your name to look to see where I might find more of your jewellery. I bought a choker last year at the Origin exhibition at Somerset House -I love it very it very much it and I do not easily find jewellery I like. I went back to Origin this year especially to seek out your work but I did not see you there. I just wanted to say thank you for the pleasure your choker has given me and please keep me on your mailing list. SB
Thanks for getting back to me, your jewellery is beautiful. ES
I am a big fan of your jewellery and could do with a top up! EC
Choker just received - fabulous just what I wanted - thank you! SB
Just to let you know that the clip earrings which you changed to stud for me at the Devon Craft Fair have arrived and are great. I have been wearing them all day and they look super and are very comfortable. I am looking at your website for something to go with them! AT
I bought some of your work at Dazzle last weekend and think it's really beautiful. SR
I, my partner and my sister have all been enormous fans and collectors of your jewellery, particularly earrings for many years, and I'd be grateful for information on any new events/exhibitions etc. .We fully intend to continue to buy new stuff as and when we find it, but we have, inevitably, managed to amass a small collection of single and/or shaftless earrings. Do you offer any kind of repair/replacement service, or can you recommend someone for repairs? SH
I'm a big fan of your designs (as is the rest of the family) and we all have several pieces of which we are all very fond - bought in various venues RJ
All jewellery is wonderful - colours perfect ! Wearing it as I write... GC
Just to let you know the earrings arrived today and as I suspected it is the larger ones that are definitely best for me - absolutely super! I can see the need for a green pair coming on rapidly! SN
The human urge to make and acquire jewellery is a complex and deeply rooted phenomenon which has been with human kind since earliest times. Evidence of body adornment exists amongst the earliest signs of human civilisation.
In the beginning jewellery performed a symbolic function. In the form of amulets it offered protection, in the form of crowns sceptres, orbs and such like it signified power, religious jewellery in the form of goblets, candelabra and rings lent symbolism to ritualistic activities, and crosses and other symbols represented personal affiliations. However jewellery was also used for personal symbolism too, the matrimonial ring, and the enhancement of female beauty. Latterly male jewellery also emerged in the form of functional objects signet rings, watch chains, tie-pins and cufflinks, and medallions for the more brazen!
It is hard to say whether the scarce materials often used in jewellery were considered valuable because of their beauty and suitability for jewellery, or whether the symbolism of the jewellery was enhanced by the value of the scarce and therefore already costly materials. Perhaps both are true and each reinforces the other. Whichever is true, jewellery was always valuable, and the materials used mostly expensive.
There are many types of materials employed, various metals such as gold, silver, platinum, gemstones such as diamonds and sapphires, and many other minerals and organic materials such as onyx, jet, amber and pearls.
As the skills and techniques in handling these materials increased, ever more beautiful pieces were made, but because of their cost they were products for the rich.
The earliest plastic materials were natural organic substances such as ivory, tortoiseshell, horn, bone, pearl and amber which could be moulded and shaped.
The first man made plastic materials had been appearing from about 1850 onward. Pyroxilin (or xylonite) based on cellulose, camphor, and nitric and sulphuric acids was first sold as Parkesine, and later the more refined Celluloid was developed. A second type of plastic was synthesised in the late nineteenth century based on formaldehyde added to a protein derived from soured milk and known as casein.
However the most successful early synthetic plastic was Bakelite which was developed early in the twentieth century. Based on a mixture of formaldehyde and phenolic acid which forms a viscous liquid when mixed and which sets permanently when heated into a hard material that cannot be softened or dissolved. This is called a thermosetting plastic which, once cast, can be further worked only by physical processes such as cutting, filing, drilling and polishing.
Celluloid and casein jewellery was produced on a small scale, encouraged by a fashion for heavy bracelets after the first world war and into the 1920’s. It took some years until Bakelite was refined and colourful dyes were developed, but once this happened, Bakelite jewellery was produced in greater volume from the late twenties onwards. However the jewellery was still hand-crafted and production was therefore limited, and as some materials were not stable over long periods, jewellery in all three early materials has become scarce and eagerly collectable.
The Bakelite Jewelry Book by Corinne Davidov and Ginny Redington Dawes, Abbeville Press N.Y. 1988 ISBN 0-89659-867-5 has some excellent pictures and information.
During the second world war, Bakelite production was channelled exclusively towards the war effort, and by the end of the war, other materials had been discovered.
Thermoplastics in the form of acrylic, polyester, polyamide, polythene and PVC were developed whose physical properties were more advanced than Bakelite. Thermoplastics can be shaped by heating and never set permanently hard like the earlier thermosetting plastics. Several of these have been used for jewellery and the most popular are acrylic and polyester.
The economic depression of the twenties combined with the availability of cheap but durable colourful and shiny materials led to an explosion in non-precious jewellery.
At first this was still the domain of the rich and it was designers such as Chanel who first sanctioned the use of these materials and demonstrated their beauty and use in fine jewellery to an ever widening public.
Today jewellery of all types is more popular than ever before. The United Kingdom produces a wide range of contemporary jewellery which ranges from precious metals and stones to sophisticated uses of modern materials such as aluminium, nylon and PVC.