Interview with a Rebus Illustrator
Rebus’ bespoke design service transforms your ideas to paper and provides you with the freedom to create a truly unique piece of jewellery, something personal and treasured. Our skilled artists have the experience and understanding of the traditional methods of hand engraving that we use, to be able to produce not only a beautiful piece of artwork, but a design that smoothly translates when engraved into metal.
One of our long-standing artists, Molly is based in London and has worked on collections for museums, personal commissions for the big moments in people's lives as well as carrying out her own practise experimenting with forms, ideas and aesthetics around research into light, space, memory and time. She completed a Masters in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art in 2013.
To provide you with an insight to her design process, we met with her to go through past commissions, how she develops a piece of artwork and her favourite designs to date:
What is your process in creating a bespoke design?
First I collect together additional reference materials relating to the brief to check any details, often including images and descriptions from specialist books and a trusty encyclopaedia. Then a quick sketch to check the composition works, fits the face of the ring and will look good when scaled down to the size of the ring. Then I get straight into drawing the finished design, often in pen. Whilst I draw, I think about the engraving process, I try to make sure that the marks made reflect the way engravers use their tools and imagine how the design will be worked into the metal.
How long does it usually take to create a design for engraving?
A bespoke piece can take anything from an hour or so if the idea is really clear from the offset, to several days.
What has been your favourite design to work on so far?
My favourite one is always my most recent one, which is a Raven. I’m really pleased with how the wing and tail feathers look. The most memorable ring design so far though was a piece of broccoli, it really made me smile when I read the brief, as it was so unexpected.
"The design is inspired by the JH Breakell Broccoli that Bill Clinton wore this pin on his lapel during the presidential debates with George H.W. Bush who is on record as hating broccoli. The broccoli pin worn by Clinton is now in the Smithsonian Museum. I owned my pin long before the debates.
The ring is for my daughter- broccoli was her favourite veggie even as a baby!!"
What do you find most difficult to bring to life?
Snakes! They always look amazing when they’re engraved, but it can be a bit of a battle to get all their twists and textures just right when drawing them up.
What are you working on right now?
Octopus tentacles. The client is getting married and wanted to tie his love of the sea into the design.
Which designers/artists do you draw inspiration from?
Without fail, I find new inspiration when I visit small museums like Kettle’s Yard Gallery or the Soane Museum to see personal collections at home in domestic settings. I love to come across a piece by an unnamed craftsperson, sat beside more well-known works, simply because it’s visually striking or well made.
What would you design for your own signet ring?
I would go for a monogram. I like that each monogram produced is unique. Mine would be MP, using the reference books at Rebus as a starting point. Then I would incorporate a rock relating to my family name and a small flourish of acanthus leaves representing my vocation.
If you would like to learn more about the bespoke design service Rebus offers, please get in touch with the sales team and they will be able to guide you through the process:
t: 0207 405 5188 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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