Meet Alison

I've been working with Alison now for almost 2 months and learned lots about her and the way that she works.  Here's a little insight into the person behind the workbench.

Describe your style in 3 words?
Simple, timeless and understated.

What inspires you and your work?
I have had a lifelong passion for gemstones, art and design. I studied geology at university and whilst I was studying, I became fascinated by minerals. This then turned in to an addiction and has now heavily influenced many of my designs.

What’s your earliest memory of being creative?
My earliest memory of being creative was winning prizes at school for art. One competition I remember was for designing an Easter card! The competition was sponsored by a local bank and if I remember correctly the prize was £10 and a new bank account (this is maybe why I have so many bank accounts today). I have always been a perfectionist when it came to art. I remember when I was younger trying so hard not to go outside of the lines in my colouring books!

Give us a brief run through of your average day in the studio.
I come in to the studio at 8 am. The first thing I do is put the kettle on and make myself a strong black coffee. I then usually check through my emails and tidy my work bench ready to start they day.  My assistant (Lillie) then comes in at 9 am and we go through what needs to be done that day, what I need to make and what needs to be sent out to customers and stockists. We try to be as prompt as possible with our customers orders and ensure everything is gift wrapped, packed and at the post office for lunch time, in time for the post to be flown off the island that day.  I try to spend at least one afternoon a week experimenting and working on new designs for future collections.

Do you have a favourite piece?
I like all of my pieces but, the storybook rings are my favourite, especially the mini storybook rings.  They were inspired by childhood memories. There is something magical about the storybook design, much like a children’s fairytale. The texture of the rings reminds me of leather bound books and the wavy edges like the worn pages. I really love how the texture of the bands off sets the sparkle of the gemstones.

What Kristen Saw

If you could collaborate with another designer/artist who would it be?
I love the works of Angie Lewin.  She’s a fabulous artist that creates very stylized works of plants. She uses a lot of organic influences which is something I really like. I am actually currently working on a new jewellery collection along the organic lines which will hopefully be released next year.

Print by Angie Lewin

If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
I used to work in the land remediation sector. I actually started designing as a self taught hobby giving my jewellery as gifts to family. Friends then spotted my pieces and I made a few bits for them and it expanded from there.

What’s on your studio playlist at the moment?
Everything Radio 4, including the Archers. I love it! It Keeps me focused whilst in the workshop.

Who would you love to own one of your pieces?
I think it would be really  cool if J K Rowling owned one of my storybook rings! She is such a stylish lady who has a strong love of jewellery. I think It would be really fitting as she is such and iconic writer of storybooks and there is definitely something ethereal and whimsical about my storybook rings much like Harry Potter. J K Rowling is also known to be extremely passionate about jewellery and I know that she has helped design pieces in order to raise money for charity.

J K Rowling

If you could move your studio anywhere, where would it be?
I would definitely stay in Orkney and although we are not very far from the sea, I would like to be beside the sea with a beautiful view! Although having said that we would probably get very distracted and never get any work done.

The perfect view overlooking the sea in Orkney!

Who are you design heroes?

I love, love, love Scandinavian design, I love its simplicity from home interior, furniture and patterns to jewellery.  The work of Georg Jenson is a special favourite.

A Scandinavian image from one of Alison's favourite books

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I dream of having a tiny shop attached to the workshop - something a bit quirky and not run of the mill.