Studio Visit: Alec Doherty
London-based artist Alec Doherty is renowned for his witty & whimsical designs in bold primary colours, creating one-off illustrations for well-renowned brands around the world. Now he takes on the world of jewellery, with a collection of signet rings and pendants inspired by nostalgic memories of colour changing jewellery from the 90s and early 00s. Each piece is cast in silver and hand-finished in London’s world-renowned jewellery quarter, Hatton Gardens.
We visited Alec in his London Studio to find out more about his creative processes, art influences and current music choices.
Garbstore: For those who aren’t familiar, could you tell us about yourself and what you do?
AD: Hey, I'm Alec Doherty, I'm an artist and jewellery maker. I grew up in the North East of England and I now live in London.
GS: What was it that made you first want to explore jewellery design?
AD: I wanted to turn one of my illustrations into a ring and was sharing a studio space with other artists and designers, one of who was a jewellery designer. She lent me some tools and encouraged to have a go myself, and I started making a few pieces to wear for myself. People would always ask where I got them from, and so I started making them for friends and friends of friends, it then grew from there into where we are today.
I've always loved jewellery, from looking through the pawnshop window as a boy to now. I love the way people wear it to communicate, tell stories and express themselves. I wanted to explore that and make some pieces that expressed some of the things I was feeling, like little mementos. There's also something incredibly beautiful about the precious metals I get to work with, there's a magic to them that we've felt from time immemorial and that's also a huge draw for me.
GS: What inspires and influences you to create your art?
AD: I'm lucky to live in a place where I can meet lots of people and I'd say people are my biggest source of inspiration for me. Everyday interactions I have with people have a huge influence on how I think about things, those interactions are also a huge source of inspiration for my work and continue to evolve every day.
GS: Could you tell us a bit about the creative and production process you go through to create the jewellery?
AD: So if it's a painting or a piece of jewellery I always start with a pencil. I'll have an idea and it will go down on paper, a lot of those end up in the bin, the ones that feel right I'll make in wax, carving the shape out by hand. That wax gets made into a plaster cast which goes off to the metal foundry to be filled with hot metal; gold, silver and sometimes bronze. When the metal cools the plaster is broken to reveal the metal inside. It comes out with a textured surface from the cast, (this is actually quite beautiful) we then polish it to bring out the detail and refine it into something shiny you can wear.
GS: Your jewellery designs are centred around face motifs, could you tell us a bit about that?
AD: Yeah there's a lot of faces throughout all of my work. The mood rings are a collection of facial expressions (moods) taken from my own experiences as a youth and the names of the pieces echo some of the scenarios we would encounter on a night out with a little humour: dazed, ecstasy, hungover, hazy, etc. The title 'Mood Ring' a nod to the colour changing gemstones people would wear at that time.
GS: Finally, what was the last song you played?
AD: Remember by Smerz
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