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Interview with Design Ireland

July 07, 2019

Interview with Design Ireland

The loveliest people are all around us. From some of THE BEST jewellery designers working today Solange Azagury Partridge, Nak Armstrong, Hemmerle, Taffin Jewelry and Hanut Singh (take a look, you will SWOON), to the incomparable, uncompromising (in a good way) gem explorer Yianni Melas, these are just some of the inspirations for Ella Green. If I can keep learning, practicing and in time emulate one hundredth of their excellence, it will have been a good, good life.

This month, I chatted to Design Ireland about what drives me as a designer, how I give back and what I would make if money were no object.  

How would you describe the style of Ella Green jewellery?

Fearless, peerless and precious. I make pieces that I feel in my bones need to get made.

I have had limited classical training in making contemporary jewellery - just three months spent in Ecuador many years ago. I find though that this makes my style naïve which can work in my favour - for example I feel that it often leads to ideas that are less run-of-the-mill.

I also can't bear skimping on precious metal. I really feel that if one is going to the trouble of making a jewellery item, that one should make it really well and be generous with the settings, chains, clasps and packaging to create a truly luxurious product.

Irish handmade solid gold jewellery

What is your starting point when you design a piece of jewellery?

I start with a design in mind, although sometimes while I am at the bench working with materials and stones they seem to arrange themselves into pleasing shapes almost by accident. I have started making prototypes in biodegradable plastics which I then bring to my caster who burns away the plastic and the new piece of jewellery emerges.

Sold gold handmade Irish jewellery jewelry

Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?

I find inspiration everywhere - art, poetry, Pinterest... both high-brow and low-brow sources. I find nature particularly inspirational though - it is endlessly inspiring to me and that is reflected in my designs.

What have been the key moments in your brand’s journey so far?

Being featured as part of Design Ireland and being shortlisted for the Irish Country Magazine Irish Made Awards.

What do you find most challenging about running a small design brand?

Time and resources. I have a full-time job as well as young children and for a long time I felt that I should be designing jewellery full-time because it’s my true passion. But I now realise that social media has a lot to answer for. The hypothesis that all you need to do to #liveyourbestlife is follow your passion and fame and fortune will follow is a fallacy. We have to get good at it first. There really is no overnight success. Realising this took the pressure off and released me to design jewellery for the original reason I started to begin with - love of it - pure and simple.

Who do you most admire in the world of design?

Solange Azagury Partridge, Nak Armstrong, Taffin, Hemmerle and Hanut Singh are some of my favourite contemporary designers.

solid gold handmade Irish Jewellery

Is there anyone in the jewellery industry that you look up to?

I constantly find Yianni Melas inspiring. He is known as @thegemexplorer online and he highlights good and bad practices in the global jewellery industry. It was Yianni Melas who put me in touch with Monica Sepulveda from the Emerging Voices Foundation in Colombia. Since then, I have supported the foundation with every piece I have sold.

We live in a global marketplace - is that something you find inspiring in business?

I love the fact that I can make something in Ireland, sell it to a client in the United States and that part of the profit from the sale of the item supports The Emerging Voices Foundation in Colombia. We are all global citizens now - consuming on a planetary level. It is important to me that we can give something back.

If time and budgets were no obstacle where would your design journey take you?

I would go deep into all of the old manufacturing methods and combine them with modern means to come up with a unique way to create pieces of jewellery. I would travel to the gem centres of the world to see first hand what is fair trade and what is not. I would report on this for my followers as I think transparency is both desired and needed. As a jewellery designer I feel that I have a duty to highlight good practices in the industry.

About Design Ireland

Design Ireland, is a premium brand representing the breadth and quality of Irish design & craft to both an informed global and Irish audience. It is supported by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

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