Exploring contrasts…An interview with jeweller Carol Hunt

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Contemporary jeweller Carol Hunt works entirely by hand to create strong, often sculptural, jewellery from silver, gold and precious stones. In our latest maker interview, we caught up with Carol to find out more about her background and inspirations…

Tell us a bit about how you’ve got to where you are today?  I always loved making things but started off in the corporate world as a Business Consultant working all over the world for large companies. I started making again through taking short courses in jewellery during my holidays, then decided to work freelance so I could study for my City & Guilds in jewellery. At about the same time I started going to extra jewellery making classes taught by Martin Hopton. He is a mind-blowing designer/maker and fantastic tutor and I learned so much from him about design, detail, technique and quality. I then studied for my Masters in jewellery at the John Cass School of Art and Design in London, under Simone Ten-Hompel who really challenged me and encouraged me to really think about what I was trying to express in my making. I set up Carol Hunt Jewellery after graduating and have been making and selling my jewellery ever since.

In 2017 I was awarded the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Bronze Award for 3D Design Precious Jewellery (Silver).

If you were to describe your own work in just 5 words which words would you choose?  Contemporary, Delicate, Complex, Linear, Strong.

From who or what do you draw your inspirations?  I’ve thought a lot about this as it isn’t easy to put into words! For me jewellery is a form of self-expression and I am essentially exploring the complexities of life. There are particular memories and experiences that I often come back to, but I’m not trying to ‘make’ those, it’s more about saying something on the contradictions and complexities of life that we all experience. That’s why I often play with contrasts such as light/dark, strength/delicacy etc. in my work. I hope that this means that the wearer can decide what the piece means to them.

Can you tell us a bit about your studio/workspace?  After I finished my Masters we moved out of London back to the West Country where my family live. Our town hall is managed by an arts trust and part of what they do is rent out studio spaces to local artists so that’s where I have my workshop. It’s not a big space but long and thin which works well for jewellery having lots of bench space down the sides! Its also nice being part of a group of likeminded creative people!

If you can, describe a typical day for you?  I’m not sure there is a typical day really, apart from always starting it with a good coffee! At the moment I’m preparing for my next show, so I’m mostly making in my workshop. There is also a surprising amount of admin to do as a maker as you are your own marketing department, stock control etc, so I’m often in the middle of something else like cooking dinner when I remember I need to order materials or more business cards or something!

What are you working on at the moment? I’m working on two new collections – one is exploring the shapes, colour and contrasts of porcelain and silver. I’ve had this in my mind for a while but hadn’t been sure how to realise it. I spent some time with a local potter just playing about with porcelain so I could understand the material better which led me to thinking about how one particular form could be represented in wax and cast into silver. I’m hoping that when I bring the two together they will be more than the sum of their parts – its not quite there yet but I’m hoping it will be soon! The other collection is exploring fine mesh textures contrasted with silver frames.

Which Makers’ work do you have on your personal wishlist? Too many to count really, on the jewellery front, Ute Decker, Naomi Macintosh and something playful by Helen Noakes.

What do you have planned in the build up to Christmas and where can people see your work?  My next big show is Handmade in Britain at Chelsea Town Hall in London (8th-11th November) so I’m currently preparing for that. I’m also planning a couple of smaller local fairs and trying to get more of my work onto my online shop!

Many thanks to Carol for answering our questions. You can shop from her beautiful collection online with us.