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Artist of the Month: Anne Morgan

Posted on August 17 2013

Artist of the Month: Anne Morgan

Anne Morgan

Anne Morgan forges a relationship between organic texture and a simple geometry, rather like the placing of a formal structure in a natural landscape. She sets up a coupling in which each element complements the other. Enjoy our interview with Anne...

Anne Morgan, can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you began designing?

I've always wanted to make jewellery ever since I was small, I wasn't sure whether it was possible for it to be a career but my Design Technology teacher at school was very encouraging and so it led me to further and higher education. I studied a BA Hons in Designed Metalwork and Jewellery at Buckinghamshire College in High Wycombe. I then moved to Cardiff after graduating and I've been here almost 18 years.

How would you describe your jewellery? My specialism in jewellery is to use a technique called reticulation (a process that uses a flame to almost melt the surface of the silver). I then often combine this textured silver with semi-precious stones and pearls. My favoured material is mat black lava that contrasts perfectly with the textured surface. The choice of stones used, are hugely important to me; lemon quartz and large colourful druzy stones work particularly well and have excited me to develop my work further, increasing the scale of pieces. These pieces create a bold statement of contrasting colour and texture.

Where are you based and does this inspire your work? My studio is currently being purpose built in my garden in Penarth, just outside Cardiff. It's like a little log cabin and I can't wait to get in there properly. I have a young family so find working at home very convenient. Plus the food there's cheap and very nice! I'm usually inspired by the materials and the techniques that I use. I use a technique called reticulation. It is a process that uses a flame to almost melt the surface of the silver. The texture marks a precise moment in which I withdraw the flame from part-liquefied silver

Which designers/artists do you admire? There are so many jewellers I admire, too many to mention. Having won silver in the Craft & Design Selected awards in May 2013, I have been struck at how wonderful Chris Boland's work is (he won gold). He uses unusual stones and very geometric shapes and his designs are much admired. I think I have a very split jewellery mind as, in contrast to other jewellers, I also admire those who create very organic design like Polly Wales and Ruth Tomlinson. There are so many contemporary jewellers creating great jewellery so in order to see my favourites I use Pinterest where I can collect my favourite designs in one place. There are many I haven't come across before so it's always very exciting to see what others designs have been pinned. 

What are you working on right now? My recent work has been inspired by the coast. 'Coast' is supported by the Arts Council of Wales, which has allowed me to continue using my passion for the coastline and uses a combination of my own work and found objects gathered from coastlines. The objects are both natural and manmade treasures and are often one-off designs. The pieces echo the land around the beaches that ceases to exist through nature's natural erosion; they explore the idea that instead of losing something, layers of the previous history whether natural or manmade are uncovered. Sometimes the most exciting treasures are the items that have been left by previous visitors, claimed by the sea, played with and then given back to the beach for me to find.

What's your finest moment so far? In 2012 I was asked to design and make the Crown for The National Eisteddfod of Wales. The festival is a celebration of Welsh culture and Welsh language. I was so delighted to get this commission, one of Wales's largest commissions each year. The design was based on the coastline of the Vale of Glamorgan, the county the Eisteddfod was held in. I took inspiration from the cliffs and the layers of the rocks. It was a fantastic experience for me and I loved every minute. The making of the crown was also filmed, which can be seen on my website.

Tell us your favourite joke?

What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror? Hello me!

What's your favourite day out?

I love bike riding across Cardiff Bay's Barrage. It goes all the way from Penarth, where I live, to Cardiff Bay. It's a fantastic flat pedestrian road that's great for the kids. There's a sand park half way and ice creams and lunch when you get to the Bay. If you get really tired you can get the water taxi back. We're really lucky where we are as we have great beaches further West and the city is just a stone's throw away. There's a great park nearby that has great nature reserve and lakes and more bike riding opportunities. You don't have to go far for a great day out around here. Check out the Anne Morgan artist page on Seed.