Features / corinne evans jewellery

Talking Passions: Corinne Evans Jewellery

By adam chisman, Friday Nov 18, 2016

Now it’s time for this weeks interview with the wonderful Corinne Evans. Inspired by the natural world around her Corinne has been making delicate ornamental jewellery for the last few years and, as you will see, her pieces are absolutely heavenly! Though very busy preparing for Christmas Adam caught up with her very recently for a coffee and a chat about her passion for metal work and jewellery making…

Adam Chisman (TP). “As a young girl what did you want to be when you grew up and how did you get to where you are now?”

Corinne Evans (C). “Well, when I was really young I wanted to be Michaela Strachan from the Really Wild Show, that was my plan, but then I realized that you couldn’t just become another human being, that’s not a job. I’ve always wanted to own my own business so then I wanted to open an ice cream parlour where all of the ice creams were made into the shape of cats… but that didn’t happen. I was about eight years old at the time though. Then I just got into loving art, it was what I was good at at school, and I studied a foundation art course and moved to Sheffield Hallam to study contemporary fine art. The main reason I chose Sheffield Hallam was because of the accent there, I really liked the Northern accent, which isn’t really the best way to choose a university based on regional accent but that’s what I went for. I did my interview for that university and the lady who ran the course was really nice and she said something really bizarre to me, she said, you come across like the kind of person who when you die would have your ashes put in a firework and exploded everywhere. It was crazy because I’d actually had that thought at one point in my life, and it was really weird that she’d said that so I thought this is where I should go. So I studied contemporary fine art for a year but then decided that I wasn’t really enjoying it because I was finding that it was more about selling yourself and I wasn’t learning any skills. I was wandering around the campus there one day wandering through all of the different art departments wondering what I wanted to do with my life and I stumbled across the metalwork department and I saw all of these massive machines and flames and I thought that looks awesome, I’m gonna learn how to do metalwork. So I signed up to that course and so I had two first years which is quite a fun thing to do at university, an expensive thing to do at university but very fun. I’m glad I did it.”

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TP. “Amazing. So when did you start making jewellery for you and going into business for yourself?”

C. “There was one module on my course which was about mass production and selling jewellery and that was the one I did the best on and the one I really liked. I started doing it mostly when I graduated in 2010 and then I moved to Bristol and started trying to work for myself, largely part-time, and then I started doing it full-time this year. It’s been rocky and hard but it’s worth it definitely.”

TP. “Well I really love your jewellery, and I know that you cite nature as one of your inspirations and your pieces clearly reflect this. What is it about nature that draws you towards it?”

C. “Well I think growing up in mid-Wales and being surrounded by nature is part of it. I was always collecting stones on beaches and big leaves, things like that, so it’s always been a part of my life, and I do think that people have this big sense of biophilia, a love of nature and being out in the world, and it’s something that I want to recreate in my jewellery. Some of the most beautiful things that exist in this world form naturally, even something simple like when you cut open a red cabbage and it’s gorgeous with all the different layers and different colours. One day I want to make something that beautiful, it’s my goal. If you look at my jewellery there’s a lot of animals and a lot of plants involved and that’s what I mostly like to work in.”

TP. “What else inspires you in your work?”

C. “It’s largely nature but then, and it’s gonna sound a bit cheesy, I also find people quite inspiring, and being around people, which is partly why I’m in Bristol because there’s so many creatives here, and so many people who are musicians and artists and it’s just a lovely thing to be a part of. I feel that being around people who are excited by the arts makes me excited by the arts and makes me want to do my jewellery more and more.”

TP. “Fantastic, and I love how detailed and delicate your jewellery is. How do you go about designing and creating a new piece?”

C. “Well the way some people design is they know what skills they have and they work from there. What I do is go, well I wanna make this thing that’s kinetic and spins around or something like that, and then I work out how to do it afterwards. I’ll say, okay I want to pierce out this really intricate tree design and then I work out the best way to go about doing it. For example at Workshop 22 by Colston Hall I’ve recently got a kinetic collection that spins around. It was in mind of people who are a bit awkward or socially awkward and they just want to fidget with things, but there’s six layers that all spin independently, with a gold bead center, and it’s one of my favourite pieces I’ve made this year.”

TP. “Oh wow, you must just constantly be learning new techniques then.”

C. “Yeah, and YouTube is really good for that.. and of course my degree... but I probably learnt 50 per cent from YouTube and 50 per cent from my degree.”

TP. “Do you make a lot of one-off commission pieces and things like that?”

C. “Yeah I do, I’ve made a lot of unique Christmas presents and birthday presents but also a lot of wedding and engagement rings. I also try to source my metal as environmentally friendly as possible, so I use a lot of recycled silver and recycled gold where possible so none of the metal is freshly mined on some of them.”

TP. “That’s great. Well you mentioned art and are very creative, and I’m sure have many hidden talents. If you weren’t designing and making jewellery for a living what do you think you’d be doing?”

C. “I know a lot of creatives but I’m not a painter of an illustrator, and you wouldn’t want me to sing for you either, I’m really good at metal and that’s about it. I think maybe my cat ice cream business, maybe I could start that up. Or maybe something wildly different like conservation or looking after animals.”

TP. “There you go, Michaela Strachan coming back in.”

C. “Yeah I know. I’d like to look after hedgehogs or something like that. I don’t think this job exists but maybe in a secret world looking after hedgehogs, that’s what I’d like to do.”

TP. “I’m sure that’s someones job somewhere. Well finally, what with Christmas coming up what do you have in store for us over the next few months?”

C. “Everything, I have a lot going on. I’ll be largely in my workshop like an elf working away hopefully making peoples Christmas presents. I’m doing the Tobacco Factory in Bedminster and the Harbouside Market, Workshop 22 and the Bath Artisan Market. I’m also doing the Made in Bristol craft fairs at Colston Hall which are really good events, and I’m doing all three Saturdays up there, the 26th of this month, then the 3rd and 10th of December. There’s loads of Bristol makers there so everyone should go and buy their Christmas gifts rather than buying off the shelf because you’ll be supporting somebody who’s trying to make a living from their work. Also, whenever you buy anything from an independent make on the inside they’re screaming with happiness and dancing around, so support that.”

If you’d like to get in touch with Corinne about her jewellery you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at her website www.cejewellery.co.uk

Here’s a feature on Bristol24/7 called Talking Passions. It’s a Bristol-based interview series that hopes to inspire your creative side by interviewing passionate individuals in Bristol’s arts and music scenes. The driving force behind the series is a belief that within each of us is a creative soul with untold capabilities. It’s not always easy to follow your dreams and try to make it work, and it should be celebrated!

 Started by local journalist Adam Chisman, and with links to various Collectives in the city including Liquifyah, The Coconut Collective, as well as Irish online magazine Ceol Caint, Talking Passions comes in two weekly parts, with brand new written interviews on talkingpassions.com and Bristol24/7 and audio interviews on BCFM’s The Bristol Music Show and Soundcloud.

Words: Adam Chisman (Talking Passions)

Pictures: Corinne Evans Jewellery

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