I love when people are innovative and start taking the next steps in merging traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques. And this is exactly what the talented duo behind This Jewellery have done. They use traditional jewellery making methods and then combine that with 3D Printing and casting. And the results are uniquely beautiful.
After graduating from Jewellery Design in the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Grace Doran and Kate Dunne went on to take some life drawing classes together and the rest, as they say, is history. Today I am delighted to be sharing an interview with the talented duo and I hope you enjoy learning more about them and their stunning silver creations.
Can you please tell us a little about how you met?
GRACE: We met in our third year of college. Kate had been in the year above me and differed a year and in a serendipitous turn of events we ended up in the same class.
What was the inspiration/moment that motivated you both to start the brand?
GRACE: We had taken some evening life drawing classes together after work when we had finished college, to get back into the swing of regular drawing. We really liked the outcome of those classes and decided to design a jewellery line based on those drawing. We have a really similar taste in jewellery so both envisioned the same linear, pictorial silver pieces.
Do you each have different skills that you bring to the brand?
GRACE: Kate is amazing at drawing! I’ve always loved CAD and used it throughout college and in my own work previous to this, so I do the CAD drawings and translate both of our drawings to 3D prints. We both are trained in traditional jewellery making skills, so hand finish everything together!
KATE: Grace does all of the 3D drawings as I have absolutely no patience with it!
The pieces are just beautiful, what inspired you to create pieces based around the human body?
KATE: For me, I am a dancer/aerialist and was also a life model for a few years, so I’m fascinated with the body’s form and lines.
GRACE: Thank You! I really like the organic forms produced with work based on the human body, it leaves everything open to interpretation.
I understand that you use 3D Printing, this is still quite new in the design world. What drew you to printing in 3D?
GRACE: 3D printing is, in my opinion, one of the most revolutionary pieces of technology in design (especially in the jewellery industry)
We can create things that would never be possible with hand making alone and, in our case, use it as a vital step to add a new quality to handmade pieces.
Do you combine 3D printing with traditional techniques? How do you make these merge togeather?
GRACE: Traditional jewellery making and 3D printing go surprisingly well hand in hand.
We print our pieces in nylon before casting them in silver. The casting process gives pieces that would be really fragile a more robust quality. It can also be a great way to introduce a lovely bit of colour to jewellery.
KATE: In college, we were taught both, and both of our degree show collections merged both so I suppose this is always how we’ve worked. We have a respect for both in the design and making process.
What is your favourite part of the design process?
KATE: I don’t think I have a favourite part of the design process, but there is something satisfying about seeing the pieces in context ie. in a photograph on a model or someone wearing them.
GRACE: I know it’s kind of a cop-out answer but, the end! Its hugely satisfying to look at the original drawing and then someone wearing a finished, polished silver earring.
Are there any designers that inspire you?
BOTH: I’m inspired by the designers and makers that we share a studio with. Clare and Laura, owners and founders of the Irish Design Shop, inspire and remind us of ourselves and what we could be in a few years time! We also share our space with Aisling Walsh and Genevieve Howard, two really talented jewellery makers.
Would you have any tips for those hoping to start a career in Jewellery design- something that someone had said to you before you started your brand?
KATE: Just do it! Haha, cheers Nike for the inspo. But seriously, just make what you like, and if you don’t know what you like, figure out what you like and then make it. It’s a simple idea that actually takes a while to learn.
GRACE: If you can find someone you work well with I’d definitely recommend a partnership. Kate and I work really fluidly together and its reassuring to have two opinions. And just go for it! The jewellery industry in Ireland is really welcoming.
Where would you like to see the brand going in the next five years?
GRACE: It would be amazing to be working on This Jewellery full time, the dream!
KATE: I would love the brand to be my full-time job. At the moment I’m an aerial dance teacher full time, aerial performer part-time, jewellery designer and maker part-time, and occasional waitress! I would love to round it down to two jobs maybe… some day!
And lastly a very important question… Lyons or Barry’s tea? And favourite dipping biscuit?
GRACE: I’m a Barry’s gal for sure. And also anything chocolately!
KATE: You know what, I actually don’t care! Either one is fine! Anything chocolatey with tea and I’m good to go.
A massive thank you to both Grace and Kate for doing the interview, I loved learning more about 3D printing and their story. Certainly, if you are looking for a unique piece of jewellery that is unlike everything else on the market I would check out their shop. Their website is pretty awesome as well, and they are also definitely worth following on Instagram!
All images kindly provided for use.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!