Meet the Maker: Modern Alchemy

Mon 17 Jul 2023

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?

Hi, my name is Annie and I am the maker behind Modern Alchemy Jewellery. I make minimal recycled silver jewellery from my studio in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

How long have you been making for?

I’ve been making jewellery for about 11 years. I started out making beaded jewellery and that led me to join an evening course. When I made my first silver ring at college I fell in love with it and I started Modern Alchemy in 2014.

What inspires you and your work?

I’m inspired by lots of things! I have collections inspired by art, from movements like ‘de stijl’ and Minimalism (think Piet Mondrian parallel lines and Dan Flavin’s tubes). I have quite a few collections inspired by the Moon. My latest collection ‘Ancient Alchemy’ is inspired by jewellery from ancient civilisations and their use of twisted wire and decorative beads.

What is your favourite thing you have made/ favourite thing to make?

I have made quite a few one-off pieces for my Mum in the past, she was an artist so she would have her own ideas about what she wanted and I liked bringing those to life in jewellery for her. I think my favourite thing is always the newest thing I’m working on. After researching a topic and drawing out ideas it’s really satisfying to successfully translate them into a piece of jewellery.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to make but haven’t got around to doing yet?

Oh, so many things! I have sketchbooks full of designs I haven’t made yet a lot of them involve techniques I haven’t done that much of before or at all. So they would involve new equipment and finding the time to set aside to practice and experiment.

If you weren’t a maker what would you be?

Although jewellery can make people happy, I’d like to do a job that helps people more. I’ve thought about trying to combine the two somehow?! Or re-training to become a therapist maybe.

What is your favourite technique to use? Can you tell us about it?

I like texturing pieces mainly because it involves hammers, which is good for getting out any stress! I also like controlling the silver with heat so it flows into organic shapes it’s quite tricky because too much and it melts into a ball.

What is your greatest achievement or favourite memory from your making journey?

I think my greatest achievement is making things that people also love and want to buy. I’m proud that I have created a successful business out of my little creative ideas.

Your jewellery is minimal in design, is this inspired by your own style?

I think I tend towards more minimal design because I want my jewellery to be wearable every day and something that stands the test of time.

Some of your pieces have celestial names which we love, what made you link jewellery with outer space?

I just really like the moon! I have three collections inspired by it, Moon Landing which focuses on its texture, Phase inspired by its first and third quarter phases and finally the Orbit collection inspired by its journey round the earth. The celestial has also crept into my latest ‘Ancient Alchemy’ collection. Obviously, as a constant presence outer space has been studied and admired by many civilisations.