Yarning with an Artist: Molly Ginnelly

by Anna Blanch on March 2, 2012

  This week’s Yarning with an Artist is with contemporary jewellery maker, Molly Ginnelly. My friendship with Molly is a testament to how wonderful social media can be for getting to know the work of other artists. Even though Molly lives only a couple of hours away in another part of Scotland, we’ve never spent time face to face (more’s the pity). It’s been exciting watching her work develop and especially to see the fruits of her collaborations with other artists unfold! I am the proud wearer of a When Molly Met Charlie broochthe result of Molly’s collaboration with papercut artist, Charlotte Trimm (who will be featuring on a future Yarning with Artists post). Molly’s website has many more examples of her jewellery. 


When did you realise you where artistic?

During my school years I was never artistic or creative; my poor art teacher must have felt like banging his head against a wall! It was not until my mid to late twenties that my creative side started to develop and it happened by default rather than me thinking I wanted to be an artist; it was not a conscious decision – like making the statement “I want to be a jeweller”.

The story behind it is somewhat two fold…I seen a necklace made by a Danish designer that I  adored and desperately wanted, every time I visited the shop my nose was literally pressed against the glass cabinet wondering how I could have it.   I bought what I needed to have a try myself…it took a little while to master as I had no ‘making’ skills but the finished piece turned out not too badly.

Secondly, I found myself stuck in a less than harmonious relationship and needed to get out.  Without any money to leave I needed a plan.  I continued making jewellery pieces and started selling them, making enough to restock as things sold and save the profits.  I saved for a deposit and first month’s rent then moved in to a flat with my two children.  After moving I needed to get a ‘proper job’ so jewellery making was finished with at that point, four years later my new partner encouraged me to go back to it and things have grown since then.

Could you tell me more about your work? What are you working on at the moment?

There are a few exciting projects coming up this year and am really looking forward to working with artists from other disciplines.   I have been chosen to take part in a collaboration project between  Fife artists and Shetland poets,  the project is called ‘Farlin’ and is ran by the Fife Contemporary Arts and Crafts group.   There are two exhibitions planned and the prospect of new inspiration and jewellery pieces is very exciting for me.

Another planned project is with a fabulous ceramic artist and tutor called Lorraine Robson who I met at my first group exhibition with Craft Scotland last year.  Lorraine’s work is beautifully tactile and smooth, the colours so fresh and modern, I am in total awe of her work.  Her story is also one to inspire new artists to take the plunge into self employment.

I am working on my own designs and am hoping reach the point where I feel complete with regards to the wearability and functionality of my jewellery pieces – recently I have concentrated on commercial work but am feeling deeply unfulfilled.   I have decided to go back to the origins of my source and work in depth with conceptual pieces in mind.

Describe yourself as a sandwich/lunch?

I would describe myself as more of a picnic – although my friends might describe me as a sandwich short of one!  Lots of different little platefuls and accompaniments making up a whole lot of good stuff…lots of different flavours, colours and something for everyone!

What is it that inspires you to create a piece on a particular subject?

There are so many different influences in my daily life, some of which stand out more than others.  At present I am concentrating on the less obvious patterns, shapes and objects in my daily journeys; everything from the weeds on the side of the road and the raggedy bin bag that has been hanging on the farmers fence for what seems a lifetime to the formation of tree branches, I particularly love spaces within shapes and like to carry this through to my own work.  Contrasting colours excite me and remind me of play parks from my childhood, I like the feeling a colour can give…it’s almost like the sunshine.

What famous artists have influence you and how?

Every artist influences me in a different way; I am intrigued by how artists translate their thoughts or message into their work rather than the actual finished piece itself – whether it be the use of colour, material or the scale into which it is worked.

What about a creative/artist person I may not have came across but that you think the world needs to know about?

I have recently been introduced to work by Beth Legg and Amy Tavern – both jewellers which I have completely fallen in love with.  I especially love the feeling of narrative work which relates to a personal story to each of us, giving a feeling of connection and to our past experiences.

What do you do for fun/what other interests do you do besides making art?

Most of my time is taken up by final year course work, hopefully after this year is finished I will have opportunities to work with other artists and am hoping to gain an internship with an established jeweller; I love to see how other creative’s work and how they use their own inspiration and past to influence their work.

Being a bit of a home bird and a creature of habit, I love spending time with my family, being cosy on the sofa and drinking lots of tea.  I love a day out hopping from gallery to gallery and a nice lunch, I’m quite easily pleased!   This year I would love to have time to make a patchwork quilt, I’m not quite sure why but the thought of it makes me feel rather cosy.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Motivation and creation go hand in hand as you can’t create without the motivation to do so, or without inspiration.  Sometimes it can be quite difficult working from my studio at home as its too close to the kettle and biscuit tin, I need to set myself targets and try not to let myself do anything else until I have achieved what I needed to, however I am quite relaxed in my work so it is not such a bad thing to have an impromptu break when there is a mental block going on!  It can be quite lonely working by myself so I sometimes invite my jeweller friends over to work in my studio; it’s good to talk whilst you work!

How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

It has definitely been a learning curve and have learned as I’ve gone along; some things have gone to plan and other things not so well but it is part of the process.

There is a great deal of support out there for artists from all creative paths, organisations such as Craft Scotland and Vanilla Ink have been a massive help to me, providing sources of information and lots of valuable advice.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Ten years time seems a lifetime away!  I’d like to see myself exhibiting work further afield and continuing to progressively develop my work and theory behind designing.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

For someone just starting out, I would say to go for it.  Start off with realistic, manageable goals as this will build confidence and stop you feeling so bad when things don’t go to plan!

Ask for advice as much as you can, it costs nothing and will help you stay focused with what you would like to achieve.  Join associations, groups and networks, use social media to help promote your work and yourself as an artist.  Self promotion (although difficult for some) is vital – if you don’t believe in yourself you shouldn’t expect anyone else to.

Most importantly is to stay true to yourself and enjoy what you do!

What/where is the most inspiring place in the world for you?

The most inspirational places are usually close to home, I love revisiting places from my childhood and remembering the differences between then and now, how I felt visiting for the first time and how I feel in the present time.  One of my favourite places is the Hermitage in Dunkeld, the sound of the water after heavy rain is amazing and the trees are so immense that it makes me feel like am a tiny part of a huge universe.

Thanks so much Molly. I’m really glad to have a chance to chat with you a bit more about your work and to share your work with the blogosphere!

All image are used with Molly Ginnelly’s permission.Take a look at her website for more http://www.mollyginnelly.com , connect with her on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mollyginnellyjewellery and read her blog, http://mollyginnelly.blogspot.com/

This artist spotlight interview is part of an ongoing series of interviews with emerging artists. It is about celebrating artists and the work they are creating and sharing. If you have a suggestion for an artist to be featured in this series, send an email to enquiries@goannatree.com

Connect with Anna on Academia.edu, Linked In, facebook page, & Twitter.

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