Emily Kidson is an award-winning contemporary jeweller whose layered, intuitively designed jewels marry bold materials with traditional craftsmanship.
Emily makes every piece of jewellery by hand in her London studio, and each piece is the culmination of an immersive creative process. Her inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, whether a quickly-captured image from nature or the careful contemplation of a painting. Nature, art and architecture are particular influences, and her eye for detail informs the minimal, subtly layered aesthetic of her work.
The design process might start with a key image. From this, Emily uses her sketchbook to create initial designs, shapes and compositions, before moving on to the bench where she experiments with materials and card models. Her sketches complement her making process as she works intuitively with the materials, allowing her work to develop naturally and spontaneously.
‘When I begin a piece I will know the general direction I want to take. But the finished jewel will often surprise me in some way. I know instinctively when it is complete.’
Emily combines modern materials with traditional jewellery and silversmithing techniques. Handmade silver details, inlay, wood and resin feature in her work alongside the boldly coloured laminate work she has become known for. For this, Emily uses laminate by Formica, made from paper and resin bonded under extreme pressure. She chose it for its endless possibilities: available in 120 colours, its bold modernity is the perfect foil to the soft, oxidised silver finishes and woods she combines it with.
‘My work is constantly evolving and changing. My job is to keep pushing myself.’
Sensitive use of colour is central to the work. She always makes her colour choices carefully, aiming to be restrained even when bold. Her work can be subtle, neat, playful, but it is never garish.
Whilst a modern, minimalist look is important to Emily, she is equally concerned with detail. Her jewels have quiet but important details such as silver inlay on the backs and edges. It is important to her that the back of each piece of jewellery is as perfect as the front – that each piece is ‘strong and whole’ – and these hidden details are for the wearer alone to enjoy.
‘Making a piece by hand is really important. I have control over every little mark, every detail.’
Above all, Emily sees jewellery as an artistic expression of the personality of the maker and the wearer. It makes a statement, speaks of individuality, and is something to be treasured and understood.
‘I know when someone instinctively understands my jewellery. They look at it with a kind of recognition…I want my work to have substance to it. In a hundred years I hope it still speaks to people through its craftsmanship, strength of design and detail.’
Awards & Achievements
Selected for IJL KickStart 2017
Selected for London Creative Network 2017 at Cockpit Arts
The Design Trust Award, MADE LONDON 2015
Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme 2015
Best in Show, MADE BRIGHTON 2014
FT How To Spend It, online, 14 March 2017
Collect 2017 catalogue, p. 68
Findings, issue 63, Autumn 2016, p. 9
New Necklaces by Nicolas Estrada, Promopress, 2016
Crafts Magazine, no 257, November/December 2015, p.91
UK Handmade Magazine, Summer 2015, p.9
Crafts Magazine, no 254, May/June 2015
Findings, issue 59, Autumn 2014, Front Cover
Crafts Magazine, no 251, Nov/Dec 2014, p. 95
Findings, issue 58, Spring 2014, p. 25
The Orange Zine, May 2014
ACJ Newsletter, no. 51, January 2013, p. 2
Henley Standard, 3rd August 2007, p. 23
Textiel Plus’, Nummer 193, Herfst 2005, p. 7
2016 Mount Making and Settings for Gemstones, Morley College
2014 Experimental Enamelling, Morley College
2013 Contemporary Jewellery, Morley College
2013 MA Information Studies (Distinction), University of Brighton
2005 Getting Started, Goldsmiths’ Hall, London
2005 Bishopsland Workshop, Reading
2004 BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Crafts, University of Brighton