Hi Ellys, please tell everyone a bit about yourself and introduce your brand.
Hi! I am a silversmith and jeweller based in Linlithgow – creating pieces inspired by architecture throughout Scotland. I work with silver and gold to create minimal and sleek silverware which can decorate the home, as well as smaller wearable jewellery pieces. I set up my own business in 2018 and since then have sold and exhibited work in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and The Netherlands.
When did you begin making silverware and jewellery , and how have you developed your practice over time?
Since I can remember I’ve always been really creative. When I was younger, I’d make things from plastic bottles and card, and that’s kind of where it all started. I left school not really knowing what I wanted to do or what was out there, so I enrolled in a portfolio course, to see what I enjoyed most. I naturally gravitated towards 3D making, so I applied for the BA(Hons) Silversmithing & Jewellery course at Glasgow School of Art, and then studied there for four years. To develop my skills further I took part in Bishopsland Educational Trust post-graduate programme in 2018. I spent the year living and working in Reading experimenting with new techniques and expanding my knowledge.
Your work is inspired by interesting architectural structures within Scotland, can you share with us some of your favourite structures within Scotland that have inspired your unique style?
My latest collection ‘Caledonian Collection’ was inspired by the three bridges across the Firth of Forth. I wanted to reflect the scale of these structures and also show how the forms transform and distort as you travel across, depending on what angle you’re looking at them. I tried to capture all of that in this collection, using techniques like scoring and folding metal to create angles that reflect the sharpness of the bridges.
Can you share a bit about the process behind making your silverware and jewellery?
My process will often begin by going on walks, taking lots of photos of architecture I’m drawn towards, and then making card models from those photos. I’ll pick out shapes and forms that I like from the images and make three-dimensional card models that are quite quick and easy to chop and change, and I’ll develop these before starting to work in silver. My silverware is created from flat sheets of silver which are scored to create a channel which then allows the silver to be folded to create my designs. My jewellery designs are made from soldering thin wires together to create linear surfaces then saw pierced and formed into wearable pieces.
Your Silverware is so unique and striking, are you able to share some insight into some of your most popular pieces?
My most popular piece of silverware is ‘Caledonain Carafe’. I was awarded a Precious Metal Bursary from the Goldsmith’s Company to make this piece in 2018. It’s the largest piece I have made to date, measuring 30cm in height. I get a lot of compliments about how this piece balances and how the pattern on the surface reflects light so well.
What has been your favourite creation to date and why?
My favourite piece of silverware would have to be the Whisky Tumbler. I made this piece while working in Shetland with silversmith Rod Kelly. While there I learned so many new techniques and methods of constructing forms in silver. I love how comfortable it is to hold and drink from.
My favourite jewellery piece is the Chevron Earrings. I make these earrings from soldering individual wires together, I love this process and when they’re worn the light hits off each of the wires so nicely!
Can you tell us about the area that you live & work in?
I live in Glasgow and my workshop is in Linlithgow. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Glasgow during my studies – I love the buzz of being in the city and being surrounded by buildings that inspire me. Linlithgow on the other hand is more quiet and peaceful, so it’s nice having a mix of both environments.
What would you recommend seeing & doing to people visiting your area?
In Linlithgow I would definitely recommend Linlithgow Palace. It’s such a gorgeous building and the grounds are lovely, especially during Summer when the weather is good to us, it’s the perfect place for a picnic!
Are there any other small businesses would you like to give a shout out to?
JMK Business Supplies in Linlithgow. They are a small printing company I use for all my printing needs – from business cards to booklets. They’re always happy to answer any questions and never fail on quality!
The Coffee Nuek. I love my coffee so this little cafe in Linlithgow is my go to for a wee treat.
Glasgow based textile designer Kitty Lambton. Her prints are so playful and fun – I want to buy them all!
Can you pick out 4 or 5 things in your working space that you can’t live without?
My wee Nespresso machine is my first point of contact in the mornings to set me up for the day!
I make my own tools to create my silverware from old files, I grind and file angles at the tip so I can run this along the surface of the silver to create a channel which allows me to fold the silver up to create the forms I design.
Working alone can be pretty quiet so having my Spotify playlists on all day is definitely something I couldn’t live without.
I have always had a mirror in my workshop, I’m constantly holding up prototypes to see how they are for size/how they sit on the body to make sure they’re just right!
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?
ELLYS MAY WOODS
My work is available to purchase in the ‘shop’ section of my website. I also have a selection of work available to purchase through the Goldsmith’s Centre in London’s online shop, as part of their annual showcase of talent exhibition ‘Shine 2020’.
For bespoke commissions I can be contacted directly via email.
For regular updates on what I’m working on and behind the scenes clips you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook!