It was while I was in the process of updating the LABSHOP that it dawned on me: I hadn’t interviewed the talented Ella Cooley yet. Ella was one of the first artist I invited to be in the Shop, mostly due to the fact that her sterling silver drop earrings stayed in my head for days after I discovered them. It’s hard to find unique creations in the large pool of handmade shops out there, yet Ella has managed to design pieces that are truly different.
Whether it’s her sterling silver designs or these colorful necklaces, Ella showcases her talents for all to see. I’m pleased to present her interview as another installment in my continuous Handmade Profiles series. Enjoy the interview and be sure to hop over to Ella’s shop to see her entire collection.
1. What inspired you to began your collection?
I grew up in a very creative household, in fact we lived in an building of artists studios, so I was surrounded by artists all day every day. My father is a sculptor, and was very involved in community art projects held in our building, so I was trying my hand at all sorts of creative processes from a very young age. I went on to pursue a Fine Art Painting Degree at college, and half way through realised that all my paintings were covered in beads and sequins. My desire to make purely beautiful objects didn’t sit very well at art school, and I knew I needed to change direction. I have been working in jewellery shops and workshops, and making my own jewellery ever since.
2. Can you name a favorite source of inspiration?
That is a very difficult question to answer! Whilst I keep a sketchbook, most of my creating happens at the bench in a hands on way. I play with materials until I find something that works, and so I couldn’t really say where my inspiration comes from, it just sort of seeps into my work, and it’s often not until a piece is finished that I am able to see flashes of where the ideas came from.
3. What materials do you love to use?
I love to work with metal, It just feels right somehow. I predominantly use silver, but whenever I get the chance I’ll use some gold and gemstones. I also love wood, and I’d like to incorporate that into my work a bit more in future.
4. Do you have a dream collaborator?
In recent years my father Simon Cooley and I have skirted around the idea of some kind of collaborative work, whether that is a joint exhibition or an actual collaborative work I’m not sure, but it’s something I’d be interested in persuing.
5. When you need a musical muse, who do you turn the volume up for?
I can happily listen to anything and everything by Bob Dylan, or Laura Marling, but if I need to tap in to a bit of angry, rebellious energy then Rage Against The Machine or Guns N’ Roses works a treat!
6. How do you use social media/blogging to promote your work?
I use Instagram to show what I’m working on, alongside daily snapshots of things that catch my eye (mostly cats), and I also use my jewellery Facebook page to connect with people and show them new work. I just can’t get my head around Twitter yet, but I’m slowly trying.
7. Where do you see your shop/project going?
I’m working on a couple of production ranges that I hope to work alongside individual one-off pieces (coming to my Etsy shop soon). I also love doing engagement and wedding ring commissions, it’s lovely to be involved in making such a significant piece of jewellery for someone. I look forward to seeing where it all goes, and how my practice changes and grows with time.