Photo Credit: Callum Downs
SOL sat down with jewellery designer Caitlin Hegney from her studio in Scotland.
The talented Caitlin is a force to reckon with, since graduating she has acquired a number of awards including a sponsored residency at Cove Park in Scotland, working on a collaborative project at her alma mater The Glasgow School of Art and making it onto Wallpaper* Graduate Directory 2019.
Caitlin spoke to SOL about her journey into jewellery design, her fascination with materials and ancient jewellery making techniques and her current fascination for the colour blue.
For Caitlin’s Wallpaper* Graduate Directory 2019 feature click here
How did you get into jewellery design?
I was always creative, I loved gathering materials and making things from a very young age. I pursued a preparatory year at The Glasgow School of Art to build a Portfolio before starting my BA Hons degree. I was in a shared studio space with other creatives. It was within those months that I started exploring Jewellery. I was so inspired by the ethos of the contemporary jewellery movement of the 1970's in terms of wearability and challenging material conventions.
Do you recall the moment you decided that you would pursue jewellery making as a career?
I believe that jewellery chose me. In my preparatory year, I was making drawings sculptures in response to short but intense project briefs, meaning I was responding very intuitively without over thinking my outcomes. When reflecting on my practice, the scale of my work and fascination with materials told me that I was meant to be designing and making jewellery. I think I am drawn to jewellery because of it’s primordial connection. Self adornment has played various roles through human history. I celebrate this as many of my processes are rooted or influenced by ancient techniques.
As someone involved in the field of Design, aesthetics plays a vital role- what does it mean to you on both a professional and personal level?
Aesthetics are unique and personal. From a professional perspective as a jeweller, I use aesthetics to build up a coherent atmosphere through a body of work. Aesthetics helps communicate ideas behind the designs. Aesthetics is the tool I use to reach out to like-minded individuals. On a personal level, I think aesthetics is intuitive, it's in what you wear, what you surround yourself in, even in the things you do.
Take us through your creative process when coming up with a new collection.
I visualise myself as a collector and researcher. Making Jewellery is the medium which allows me to combine my fascinations surrounding heritage and materiality. My processes are rhythmic and resonate with the expressiveness of drawing. I primarily work with metals and woods and the lapis lazuli stone. The materials converse with each other through the processes that I use. I draw with these materials in three dimensions, through the ancient processes of chasing metal, carving wood and crushing stone. My creative process is very intuitive, I make a collection of samples and assemble them into designs.
Colour research is a prominent feature in your work- can you tell us a little bit more about this relationship.
My work explores the enigmatic qualities of heritage. I am currently fascinated by the colour blue because of it’s rich history. For a period in history, the colour blue was once more valuable than gold was, as blue lapis lazuli was the raw material that formed ultramarine pigment. I play with the notions of value and hierarchies through the processes and materials that I employ. I crush the lapis stone to encrust surfaces, and dye wood to echo precious stones.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
I am inspired by the historical objects, processes, stories and places. I use processes within my practice that simultaneously celebrate and subvert tradition, demonstrating respect without being overly reverent of the past,engaging ancient craft with modern culture.
How would you describe the woman that wears Caitlin Hegney pieces?
She is practical, confident and wants to make a statement through wearing jewellery. She is earthy; attuned with nature and finds serenity in wearing a piece of jewellery.
Are you open to creative collaborations and if so are there any creatives you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yes, collaboration for me is a large part of being a jeweller. I have worked on various collaborations with other jerwellers as well as performers, musicians and most recently, antique furniture restorers and upholsters. I think it is particularly important to collaborate out with your discipline to keep an open minded approach to your practice. My dream collaborator would be Iris Van Herpen, I am fascinated by how she creates movement within her work. I would also have loved to collaborate with the ceramicist Beatrice Wood; the richness of the colours she achieved in her glazing is astounding.
You were recently featured in Wallpapers Graduate Directory 2019- what was that experience like?
It was a privilege to be featured in such a prestigious design magazine. Being selected to be in the Wallpaper* Graduate Directory 2019 amongst so many amazing up coming designers was such a great opportunity for my work to be platformed to a wider audience. It was also a fantastic to be part of a professional photo shoot in London; the creative team were amazing.
Are there exciting projects that you are working on at the moment and can mention?
I am currently an Artist in Residence at The Glasgow School of Art, working with undergraduate students and developing my own practice. I am working on a collective called Flourish with the other Artists in Residents. We are currently working towards an exhibition in Glasgow in the Spring. The show will them be part of Radiant Pavilion, Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial in Melbourne Australia, this September. I have also been very lucky to be in receipt of a Sponsored Residency at Cove Park in a serene Scottish Landscape, to take a period of focused research this March. You will have to stay tuned with my social media to find out more!
Where can we follow your work?
Finally if you could be summed up in one of you jewellery pieces which would it be and why?
I would be my Mazarine Brooch. To me, wood is a warm and sensitive material. It’s colour is influenced by dyes in the same way that I absorb inspiration everyday. Each piece of wood possesses natural grain which is traceable like a human finger print. Like me, this piece is inquisitve; it asks it’s wearer what it is made from, it gives the visual illusion of volume and yet it is very light to the touch.