ARTIST OF THE MONTH-ROBB
ARTIST OF THE MONTHEvery month we introduce you to one of our consignment artist. There is no salt and pepper, we reveal the rawest story on our artists' creative journey. How they met and fell in love with jewellery? What inspired them and how? What was the making process like? What are the tips on being a successfully established jewellery artist? Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date on our latest collections. Go to INTERVIEW ARCHIVE to read more stories.
Artist of the Month (14): Meredith Robb
March 28, 2018
What is your origin story?
What makes your collection unique in the industry?
Where do you gather inspiration?
I am very materials-based. I have always found the most inspiration from stuff you find in bins at hardware stores. Nuts, bolts, ball bearings and washers: these things are endlessly fascinating to me. I love nothing more than finding an interestingly shaped piece of hardware for which the intended use is a complete mystery.
What is your work process like? What materials and techniques do you favor?I always start with the materials, and those materials are always some iteration of machine parts and precious metal. This contrast is the source of nearly all my inspiration. In recent years, I have been mostly devoted to industrial gemstones, specifically ball bearings made from synthetic sapphire, ruby and spinel. These are actual machine parts - used for their optical properties (like in lasers), their chemical properties (resistant to corrosion in strongly acidic or basic environments) or their old fashioned durability and heat resistance (high friction situations). When a watch says it is a 19 jewel movement, pop open the back and you will see tiny synthetic ruby radial bearings ticking away back there. When I first learned of them, I thought they were incredible. I started looking at ways I could incorporate them into my work, which at that time revolved around stainless steel hardware.
Nothing comes easy. The most successful people I have had the privilege of working with or for are also some of the most stressed out. Also, it is as much about personality as it is raw talent. Or rather, there are talents beyond the ability to design or manufacture jewellery that are as important to success. Confidence, salesmanship, risk-taking, focus, persistence...etc. Those are skills on which people build lasting careers.
What tips do you have for aspiring designers?
Like any career in the arts, it is really about hustle, momentum, and compromise. To be frank, there are way more people being trained then there is space in the market. Most will not see the five year mark. If you want to keep with it, then you need to capitalize on every opportunity. Your full time job is keeping it going, and that means at least as much time spent on the business end of things as the creative end of things. Also, it might be one particular skill that ends up paying the bills, so embrace that. You will likely be financing the work you love with work you don't. It is romantic to think that being in the arts means being free from the daily grind of other careers, but that is severely misguided.