DEVOL FOLK: STEPHANIE’S STORY
10th January 2017
Stephanie joined us at deVOL a few months ago, after achieving a First Class Honours degree in BA Jewellery and Accessories at Middlesex University. During her time at university, she experimented with combining a variety of different materials, seeing how they shape and form and which materials worked well together (Steel, silver and wood were her personal favourites). She has produced a contemporary, minimal and unique range of jewellery which she has showcased at various exhibitions, including Galerie Marzee, the largest contemporary jewellery gallery in the world. Stephanie’s work was selected amongst the top international jewellery graduates and was given the opportunity to go to the Netherlands to display her work.
What do you like about making jewellery + what pushed you to study it?
“I really enjoy the process of making. There’s something about fabricating an idea into 3D form that really excites me. I knew I always wanted to pursue art, but it wasn’t until my Foundation Art Diploma, where I specialised in 3D, that I stumbled across jewellery. It should have been obvious really, since I’ve always loved working with metal and combining materials on a small intricate scale.”
How are you trying to fit what you know into deVOL?
“It makes sense that every aspect of a deVOL kitchen, right down to the handles, should be equally well designed and made by deVOL. Good design is all about equal consideration for every aspect, form, aesthetic, utility etc. The quality of deVOL is in their attention to detail, the last finishing touches. As a jeweller, I hope to bring a different perspective to deVOL by focusing solely on these details.”
We aren’t satisfied with ordering a bunch of standard door knobs and handles to accompany your kitchen, we don’t want something that any other kitchen company could have, so we thought we’d just re-design them and make our own. Stephanie’s settled in to her new studio, restoring a couple of chandeliers which are hanging around, but she is currently re-designing the Bella brass cup handle, for deVOL’s exclusive range.
At the moment, Stephanie has been producing loads of test pieces, trying to find the right balance between aesthetic and functionality. She explained to me how the process of making the new handles was very similar, if not the same, as the process used to make jewellery. She’s also finding ways to adapt the door knobs used on the Sebastian Cox cabinets. I love how deVOL take extra time to think about how they can make their kitchens even more unique and special, in the knowledge that every last detail has been considered. As well as this, Stephanie has been collaborating with the ceramics team to help create a selection of ceramic pendant lamps and is also in the early stages of examining deVOL’s curiosity cupboards, in the hope to re-design the escutcheons. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!
There are so many different tools and machines used whilst creating wax moulds, cutting materials and soldering and filing metal. Stephanie was careful to prompt ‘If it cuts through metal, it will cut through your finger’..this is serious stuff. While hoping to improve the cup handles, she is also free to create a small range of rings and bangles to be sold here at Cotes Mill. Stephanie was kind enough to show me how to make a ring, it was so cool, a fascinating process and a lot more difficult than I’d imagined
Once we had cut and bent the silver to meet at both ends (sounds easier than it is), we then prepared the ring for soldering. Stephanie talked me through the 3 rules of soldering. 1, the joining pieces of metal must have a good connection, edges must meet flush and tight together. 2, both joining pieces of metal must be clean and remain clean during soldering. And 3, both pieces must reach the soldering temperature at the same time.
Here Stephanie is soldering the ring with a propane torch, she even let me have a go and it still turned out okay!
At this point the ring was connected, but not round. We put it on a mandrel and hammered the ring into an even, circular shape. We then filed, sanded and polished my ring, I actually love it! The amount of concentration, patience and commitment that goes in to making one of these lil fella’s is really admirable and rewarding! Making it myself (with lots of help from Steph) was so cool and I’ll definitely keep it forever. The bangles are also super lovely. I love knowing exactly where they come from and how they have been made, they’re such elegant pieces of silver jewellery and would make the perfect Christmas present, they’ll soon be available to purchase here at Cotes mill!
Stephanie is hammering a bangle around a mandrel, to give it a lovely, circular shape.
Here is a beautiful cup handle that Stephanie has just finished. To make this cup handle, she used an old foundry technique called sand casting. This involves a mixture of sand and clay. The sand works as the mould and the clay binds the sand together. The cup handle feels rough and has a sort of grainy, worn texture. Each cup handle is individually made, there’s not one exactly the same, I love that. They have a real rustic look about them, such a cool addition to your kitchen.
…and here is the ceramic pendant lamp! The ceramicists opted for a crackle effect finish, to correspond with the hand made sinks. Stephanie designed and created the metal lip, which sits on top of the lamp. It has such an authentic look, I love how I have never seen a pendant lamp like it before.
I cant wait to see what Stephanie produces for deVOL in the near future. Her jewellery is just so lovely and I’m SO excited to see the final products of her door knobs and handles, I can’t wait to share them with you either. I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many designers, all with different backgrounds, knowledge and interests in design. Being amongst or just witnessing a design process, the exchange of ideas, experimentation, through to the finished product is quite inspiring.
Check out more of Stephanie’s work here:
Handcrafted knobs and handles by deVOL