Sally Ayling

“Bird inspired contemporary jewellery made from silver, wood, collected tins and brightly coloured acrylic”

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About Sally Ayling

Sally Ayling

Contemporary Jewellery

Inspired by nature, and in particular birds, my work is also influenced by a wide range of other ephemera. The graphic images from field-guide books and wildlife illustrations; ordinance survey maps; charming old packaging; classic industrial design; and many other bits and pieces I see on my travels. I enjoy using unconventional materials and bold colour. As for the raw materials used in some of my work, I have a huge collection of old (and some new) tin boxes and advertising items, all of which are religiously compartmentalised into different colour ranges. It's often hard to ruthlessly dismember a beautiful old piece of industrial design, illustration or typography from the 40's for example, but I get a great sense of satisfaction when I think about people wearing the jewellery I have made and giving these objects a new lease of life.

I have been making jewellery since 1996. After completing my Three-dimensional Craft degree at Brighton University, I continued my training with the wonderful jewellery designer Barbara Christie at Morley College, and have been happily making and selling ever since.

I make all my own pins, clasps, and locking mechanisms. And I take great care, pride, and enjoyment in producing pieces that have consistent quality throughout all their constituent parts.

I grew up surrounded by fantastically beautiful objects and raw materials as my mum was, and still is, a textile and print designer. I vividly remember the two weeks I spent off school with the mumps at the age of 9, when my mum decided she would teach me the fundamentals of drawing rather than catching up on the various maths, and English work that I was missing. For one exercise she put a magnolia branch in a vase and we would do studies of it everyday as it's structure changed and it gradually came into bloom and then wilted. From then on I had an avid interest in the intricacies of natural objects. This awe of nature, coupled with a contrary fascination with the engineering and manufacturing techniques that I have learnt on the practical courses I have since done, influences what I produce greatly.
I couldn't be happier than with a window in front of me, a sketchbook beside me, and some materials to work with, on my grandfather’s old jewellery bench.