Thursday, 5 April 2012

Interview by Two Red Trees


From faerie stories to Kensington Palace commissions - Two Red Trees interviews jewellery maker Jesa on her journey

Jesa's artisan skill is matched only by her off-beat passion for all things dark and fairytale. Her beginnings as a History of Art and Design student steered her towards free-thinking Pre-Raphaelites and although her passion was fuelled, the lack of hands-on work led Jesa to apply her craftsmanship to jewellery making.

Jesa's designs are beautiful and intriguing. Crows and gothic imagery combine to conjure a heady mix of romance and horror. We asked Jesa how this individual vibe has evolved over her 16 years of jewellery making.

"I am totally awestruck by the likes of film producer Tim Burton and his genius at visually creating the worlds that I thought only existed in my head. I have a passion for animation and film and adore anything dark and magical. I am also heavily influenced by the amazing children's book illustrators who have always brought my favourite fairy stories to life from Arthur Rackham to Alan Lee to the wonderful creatures of Brian Froud.

My latest collection 'Firebird' is completely inspired by an illustrated picture book celebrating 100 years of Stravinsky's Firebird which was given to me for Christmas."

The Firebird ballet is based upon the Russian folk tale of a Prince who captures a mythical glowing bird, which is both a blessing and a curse to its captor. The theme of birds resounds throughout Jesa's collection and draws inspiration from faerie, folk stories and even her day to day life in the countryside.

"I have also always been totally aware of the beauty around me. We have a family of crows who live outside our house and I have actually caught them in our bedroom trying to steal beads! They're hilarious and so clever - I think I may have become a little obsessed.

I tend to love the darker side of faerie, I am fascinated by secrets and the idea of lockets which contain mysteries or poison rings - just in case. I love the fact that in the 16 th century poison lockets and rings were all the rage. It conjures up all sorts of images of everyone creeping around trying to poison each other!"

With the mix of dark and mythical influences to her work, we were intrigued to see who Jesa might imagine wearing her jewellery in a dream world.

"I'd have to say Helena Bonham Carter. I think she looks incredible and I just love her image... oh and she's married to Tim Burton!"

But dreaming aside, how does your jewellery translate into the real world? What has been your biggest compliment you have received about your work?

"Well two things come to mind really. Professionally my biggest compliment was being asked by Kensington Palace to design and make an exclusive collection for their 'Enchanted Palace' Exhibition. They asked me to design a collection based on enchanted palaces, crows and thorny roses (think sleeping beauty), which they sold throughout the duration of the exhibition.

On a personal level, it was my dear old Dad who passed away a couple of years ago. He was blind, so never got to see any of my 'proper' jewellery, only my beginnings. He was in hospital and didn't realise I had arrived and I caught him telling a nurse how I was a 'famous' jewellery designer, which to him, I was! It was a moment I'll treasure forever."

Finally we asked Jesa who she really loves amongst the sellers working with Two Red Trees.

"I think if I have to pick one I'd have to say Tina Tsang of Undergrowth Design. I just love the humour and the bizarreness really appeals to me in a twisted Alice in Wonderland tea party kind of way!"

Aside from creating her own stunning pieces, Jesa and her husband Al also run Flux n Flame Jewellery school in Dorset helping other jewellers turn their passion into a day-to-day reality.

It's clear that Jesa's work represents more than just attractive jewellery. Each piece is handcrafted with passion and soul. Her themes are intertwined with stories, her pieces inextricably linked with her personality and life.

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