Catching up with Susan Ewington
This week we are launching a brand new collection of work by artist Susan Ewington. Known for her clean lines and timeless designs, Susan’s new work focuses on soft pastel stones combined with subtle asymmetries and feminine textures. Her rings are known for their low profiles and hand fabrication, making them perfect if you’re wanting something to wear every day for the rest of your life.
We speak to Susan about how she became a jeweller, and what’s inspiring her right now:
Where are you finding inspiration at the moment?
Because of the types of stones that feature in my pieces, they will often dictate how I design around them, the stones themselves inspire me. When it comes to textural features or embellishments, I am drawn to a kind of quiet symbolism. Elements or motifs that have been incorporated in jewellery throughout history, but I might execute them with a modern touch. I suppose you could say it’s the traditional and ancient fabrication methods of goldsmithing that inspire and guide me.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic has mostly been described by others as modern yet timeless, clean lines meets organic. Designs that have a contemporary edge matched with a classic undertone. I also find durability and a comfortable, wearable nature to be of the utmost importance when designing and making.
How did you get into jewellery making?
After being disappointed at a young age doing a Bachelor of Photography at uni, realising that most of my time would be spent on a computer and not in a darkroom, my hands and brain yearned for something really gritty. I’d always been a collector and a crafter growing up, so when I started jewellery at Tafe, it was everything I’d been looking for and I’ve never looked back.
What’s most challenging about this job?
This has definitely changed throughout all the stages of my career. Right now, it’s probably managing all the stages of production as seamlessly as possible. Such as everybody’s ideas, timelines, deadlines and expectations, without losing my marbles. Oh, and fighting the urge to keep all the amazing gemstones.
How do you overcome that?
When it comes to production management, I have worked really hard behind the scenes setting up software systems and processes to suit my style of production. When it comes to not keeping all the gemstones, it’s still very much a work in progress!
Favourite materials to work with? Why?
It became clear early on that I am drawn to naturally coloured gemstones, and I love the challenge of combining unusual colour combinations and shapes. Australian sapphires have a special place in my heart, and make up the majority of my gem collection. I will forever thoroughly enjoy making anything in 18ct yellow gold. Other carats and colours of gold are still enjoyable, but they all have different nuances and properties to manage when fabricating. And I am finally getting to really ‘know’ platinum in terms of hand fabrication skill, which is really very satisfying.
Advice you would give your past self, who just started making jewellery?
Don’t be too caught up in trying to decide a design aesthetic or a “look” for your work from the beginning. Just enjoy experimenting with different techniques and executing them really well before you tackle the next experiment. Your natural style will develop on its own if it’s not forced. And never, ever underestimate the journey your developing skills take you on. The best jewellers are still learning.
What’s next? What is something you aspire to achieve in upcoming years?
I suppose you could say it’s all very practical business stuff, as I feel like the creative side is inherently always aspiring and doing its own thing. I would love to be able to continue developing certain skill sets such as more advanced gem setting, and I’m always thirsty for traditional techniques. And maybe getting some sweet new equipment in my workshop such as a bench microscope set up and a laser welder.