Thursday 19 April 2012

Studio Visit - Alan Ardiff

The 'Studio Visits' are a monthly blog installment. We're opening our doors to introduce you to the artists and designers in The Design Tower! Each interview will give you an insight into the individual designer or business. This month we're chatting to jeweller and artist Alan Ardiff. 

How did you come to be a jeweller?
I am an accidental jeweller; having studied industrial design and failed, I fell into the craft department and it seemed a nice warm place to be. However I took to jewellery as I liked the scale of the design and it is nice to be in control of the translation of a design from beginning to end unlike some other media. I was also able to apply my industrial engineering ideas to jewellery design, using intricate processes and articulation to create pieces that are innovative in terms of their kinetic abilities.


Where did you train?
I attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. I have not had that highly refined classic training of a master goldsmith and I am first to admit that I really wouldn't have that level of discipline. My real training I would see as my work experience in Turin Italy and also with the renowned jeweller, Paul Preston. His work has been a great inspiration to me as he uses gold beautifully to create forms which tell wondrous stories.


Where is your studio?
I am split in two; I live and have a studio in the wilds of the west of Ireland where I can spend time to create without the distractions of business side of making the jewellery. I also have a studio in the Design Tower and I work with a great team of makers to make sure my jewellery can be appreciated by a wide spectrum of people.

What is the main inspiration for your designs?

I like my work to be a source of interaction between people, the wearer and admirer. This, I think I have achieved through creating work that has not really been done before, in that I incorporate moveable parts in my jewellery. My ongoing driver is to create work with a new dimension. I am very excited about a new piece called ‘Two for Joy’. It is yet again a development of the articulation I use in my work, in this piece 2 birds move independently.

Head Over Heels

What medium do you prefer to work with?
Gold. It does everything you want and is totally forgiving - it is beautifully luscious and steeped in history. I continue to be in awe of the gold collection in the National Museum of Ireland.

Do you have a favourite tool?
My little hammer - it was my first acquisition and reflects the miniature engineering elements of my work.

What are your goals?
To keep coming up with innovative pieces; I am very happy this year as I have plenty of new ideas but some years this can be a bit of a challenge!

No such thing as aliens

Do you give workshops?
Not on an on-going basis. I have been invited to give courses in design at my old college.

What has been your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is having people who are fascinated with my work, I am humbled by their enthusiasm. From my beginnings at a work bench in my bedroom to a business with five employees has only been achievable through the tremendous support of my customers.

Star gazing

Where do you exhibit your work?
I largely distribute my work throughout Ireland however I would love it to be more accessible around the world. My website is ideal for people to access my work where there is not a local stockist. An email or call to the studio can take the stress out of making a long distance choice and we welcome people to our Dublin studio.

Thanks Alan! You can see more of Alan's work on his website or facebook page. This interview is part of a series called The Studio Visits.

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