Katy Hackney September 22 2016

We're delighted that jeweller Katy Hackney is taking part in our current Editions & Objects exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which runs until the end of October 2016.

For the exhibition Katy has created a limited edition of ten box wood pendants, each individually decorated and numbered.

Born in Dundee and now based in London, Katy Hackney received a BA at Edinburgh College of Art and a MA at the Royal College of Art, London. Continues below...

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Hackney’s practice is driven by the materials she’s excited by. Materials she uses include woods, plastics, precious and non-precious metals, found objects, paint, formica and enamel. Her current influences include vintage toys and folk art.

Her work can be seen in the permanent collections of the London Crafts Council, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the Ulster Museum, National Museum of Northern Ireland.

We took the opportunity to find our a little more about Katy's work and current activities...

Can you tell us how to came to designing wearable works of art?

When I left the RCA I set up in business and designed and made more commercial production silver jewellery which sold well but it was tedious work.

Then I discovered cellulose acetate which spectacle frames are made from, began to experiment with it, and my work became larger and more colourful and I became interested in finding other materials to use, such as wood, Formica, other found plastics… colour! Continues below...

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You also teach at Central St Martins; how does this impact on the type of work you create?

I don’t notice that it does, something must seeping in?

It does keep me up to date with what is going on the jewellery world as we have a great programme of lectures.

I enjoy passing on knowledge and working with students from all over the world, and working with an amazing team.

What are your major influences?

Everyday things, I often get an idea from something I see in the street on my journey to college or on holiday or trips abroad.

I use my Instagram account as my visual diary, I often go back to it and print out photos of textures, colour combinations, shapes.

Working on lots of other things also feeds in to my work.

I love old toys and objects with a 'story' showing in their wear and tear - doors, tiles, tools and peeling paint.

What is a typical day for you?

My days are fairly varied. As well as teaching I work with knitwear designer Jo Gordon as colour consultant, helping to design her collections each year.

I also work as a picture researcher for costume in film, a job I started a few years ago and love. It definitely informs my work and I am learning something new all of the time.

Most recently I was the costume researcher on Suffragette and I’m working on other projects that are in production.

What is your preferred material of use?

At the moment it's wood.

You use an incredible array of materials, how do you decide which to use in a project?

I have boxes of bits that I gather along the way from all over and I work in a 'collage' sort of way with lots of pieces on my work table. I’ll move these around and arrange, cut then rearrange until I get something I like.

It gets really messy and I have to have a big clear up then I begin all over again! Continues below...

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You work as a colour advisor to Jo Gordon Knitwear; how does this impact on your work?

It definitely does as we do research on different ways and I end up looking at textiles which I didn't really before.

The costume research really influences and helps in both jewellery and design work for Jo. I'm currently researching clothing in 1950 to 60s for a job. The colours and patterns of dresses then were amazing. This will all feed into my brain and re-emerge somehow in my jewellery!

What is your favourite colour?

Yellow

What can you see from your studio today?

Usually it my neighbour’s wall!

But today from my balcony in Barcelona I can see a narrow street filled with little balconies covered in colourful washing, a man delivering a cooker and a tiny barking dog having a pee.

What single tool would you consider essential to your work?

My jeweller’s saw and my camera (usually on my phone).

What are you working on now and what is coming up next?

The staff of St. Martins are having a show COUNTERCURRENT in Arthur Beales, Yacht Chandlers in Shaftesbury Avenue. My response to the shop was to collect, borrow and steal Nautical themed jewellery and fill a little cabinet with it, we installed in amongst the shops stock... I'm also researching for a costume project. Teaching will begin in October and so will working with Jo.

Editions & Objects at Yorkshire Sculpture Park continues until Sunday 30th October 2016. Find out more about the exhibition or take a look at all the available works online including Katy Hackney's box wood pendant.

Portrait photography by Jenny Lewis.

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