Maker in Focus - Elaine Day
Elaine Day is a jewellery designer and maker. She creates a new collection of jewellery every year for the summer inspired by nature and particularly the animals she sees in her surroundings in the Cotswolds.
Elaine has been a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen for over ten years and has exhibited around the UK in many galleries and museums.
Elaine's studio is in a corner of her home overlooking her garden and the Nailsworth valley. Her lovely dog sleeps underneath the workbench while she works. Elaine's beautiful jewellery captures her subjects character and really brings the creatures to life.
What inspires your work?
Like many artists my work is inspired by what I see. Most of the time it is animals and plants that I encounter when I am walking around the woodlands and fields in Nailsworth. I also love to scuba dive and find inspiration in the sea creatures I encounter. I have a love of insects and other small animals particularly moths at the moment. Fellow Guild member Amanda Lawrence has introduced me to moth trapping.
How do you come up with your designs?
My designs pop into my head as I'm walking my dog in the countryside or while I'm falling asleep at night. They often begin with a stone or an animal and evolve as I work. Jewellery is such a personal thing and should be unique to you. This is why I really enjoy one offs or versions of my work.
How did you get into making jewellery?
When I was 18 my mother who was an art graduate, ceramicist and all round crafts woman decided to go to an evening class at Stroud College taught by jeweller Mary Noble (a long standing member of the Guild) and I came along to keep her company. I enjoyed it so much that I enrolled again and again and became good friends with the other course members. When my mother passed away in my early twenties I really benefited from their constant support and Marys teaching. When Mary left Stroud College we all carried on the classes at Marys studio in Oakridge. After 15 years I started to sell my jewellery to my fellow workers in the civil service. I became a full time 'self taught' jeweller 18 years ago and was lucky enough to fullfil my goal of being accepted into the Gloucestershire Guild following in my mentor's footsteps.
What materials do you use and why?
I mostly work in silver. I don't like to have gold 'sitting around' my house so I don't often use it. Silver is a nice metal to work with and pleasant to wear. It tarnishes at a nice pace which accentuates the details I add into my work as it ages. It is also precious enough to make it a really special purchase. I often use semi precious and precious stones and fossils and even mother of pearl that I have found!
What is your newest make (one one your most happy with)? What do you like about it and why is it special?
I always love my latest pieces the best. I am sometimes sad to see some of my work go but it's great to think that it's going to a home where someone else will love it. I love to see who is buying my work at exhibitions and through the commissions I make and to see images of my jewellery being worn out and about.
What does being part of The Guild mean to you?
I aspired to be in the Gloucestershire Guild as a mark of excellence to my work, especially as a 'self taught' crafts person. I wanted to emulate my mentor Mary Noble. Being a member also means you are part of a community and provides a sense of belonging. It is also a good way to sell my work. I have made some really good friends who amaze and inspire me. I love the makers who, like me, enjoy wildlife and celebrate the small and beautiful.
Do you have any events coming up?
I will be showing at Guild Crafts Tetbury in Tetbury Market House from 21 - 29 May, 2022.