- Alice Waese
“Imagination and a stream of consciousness play a large role, I often start with painting, getting everything out onto the paper, the process is instinctive and intuitive."
PASSIONATE ABOUT DESIGN AND SCULPTURE, ALICE WAESE IS PART OF THE WHITEBIRD FAMILY FOR ALMOST A DECADE. DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE DESIGNER IN OUR LATEST INTERVIEW.
1. How are you doing lately?
I’m doing well, cocooning, discovering motherhood.
2. What is your link to the world of jewellery? Do you have a family connection?
I do not have a family connection to the world of jewellery, the closest I had was my grandmothers’ collection of sewing thimbles which always fascinated me. As a child I would wear them all on one hand, I loved the look of them and the sound they would make as the silver clinked against whatever it touched. My link to this world came about quite organically. I started in fashion design, moved on to textiles and sculpture, then to tiny sculptures cast in gold and silver and encrusted with precious stones.
3. Tell us about your origins and your career path.
I was born and raised in Canada, I studied fashion design and then moved to New York to work as design assistant to Maria Cornejo. After 5 years with Maria I moved to London to study textiles and fine art at goldsmiths College. I spent a lot of time in the sculpture studio learning casting techniques. From there I started to explore Hatten Garden and the jewelry makers in London. I started to make smaller sculptures and to think more about personal adornment. This is how the collection began.
4. What goes through your mind when you create jewellery? Where do you find inspiration?
I think nothing goes through my mind, for me, that’s the beauty of creation, a kind of silence takes over and makes room for creating. I find inspiration in nature, music, paintings, films, sculpture, vintage postcards, traveling and poetry. My boyfriend Pierre, Our baby Zazie Moon, and my cat Frankie.
5. How do you create your jewellery? What was your first creation?
Mainly I work in wax and sculpt by hand, draping on the hand, ear, neck like you would with cloth. My first jewelry creation was a silver cast cocoon of a silk worm to be worn as a pendant.
6. You often keep the edges of your jewellery undefined - can you tell us about the role that imagination plays in your creations?
The pieces have an organic finish which reflects the process of making. I don’t want to over polish a piece because the contrast of a very precious material and a raw edge is part of the beauty of the work.
Imagination and a stream of consciousness play a large role, I often start with painting, getting everything out onto the paper, the process is instinctive and intuitive.
7. What is the driving force behind your creations?
The need to create.
8. Are you attached to any jewel in particular? If yes, then which one?
Mostly I am attached to the first of every piece I make.
9. Apart from the hand (and therefore touch), which other limb or sense would you be unable to live without?
10. Stones and metals are conduits of emotion. What touches you most about the way in which you use these materials?
I do find each piece to be emotional. I believe the materials and the individual stones as well as process hold a lot of energy.
11. What would you have done if you had not become a jewellery designer?
As a child I wanted to be ‘an inventor’.
12. Who are your favourite artists?
Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Annie Albers, Georgia O'Keeffe, Hilma af Klint, Egon Schiele, Giacometti, Donald Judd, Joseph Beuys, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Pablo Neruda, Anne Carson.
13. What would you say to a young designer who is starting out?
To not look at other designers too much. To play. To go inward.