Catherine Marche Jewellery
as featured 05 September 2013, thanks to the Crafts Institute
We take time out to have a chat with contemporary jeweller Catherine Marche
Pink topaz ring photo by Simon Armitt
1. When did you first start making jewellery?
I have had a keen interest in jewellery for as long as I can remember. I was already making beaded jewellery such as earrings and necklaces as a child for me and my dolls. In my teens, I used to help a woman collecting money for African missions by making jewellery items that she sold for fundraising. I progressed later on to commissioning pieces like earrings, pendants and rings to be made to my specifications, and further decided to study the art of jewellery making by enrolling in Central St Martins to learn valuable bench skills. My most memorable accomplishment was being shortlisted as a finalist for a jewellery award by Holts Academy of Jewellery as well as for the Precious Award.
2. How has your background influenced your jewellery designs?
During my youth I travelled and was exposed to different cultures and fashions. I embraced a career in computer sciences, while studying arts at l'Ecole des Beaux-arts where I honed my drawing skills. After a few years in IT, I gave into my love of sparkly gems and jewels and re-trained as a bespoke jewellery designer, allowing me to work freelance while raising young children. My passion for art and creativity, my French cultural heritage, my travels in several countries, as well as my different professional experiences all had some influence on my jewellery designs, allowing me to mix technology with ancient methods.
3. Can you describe your jewellery style?
I would say that from my creations emanates a hint of French playfulness. My jewellery collections are made of precious metals (silver and 18K gold) enhanced by semi-precious stones like sapphire, aquamarine, white moonstone, and pearls. I like my designs to remain simple and elegant, using soft and organic lines. I imagine jewels for a client who rejoices wearing something with an individual sense of style. My collections include engagement and wedding rings, stacking and cocktail rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings and bracelets created in limited edition or as bespoke orders.
4. Tell us about how you design your pieces-do you have a particular process?
I do not have a particular process as such. I might sometimes be influenced by a piece music or a poem, at some other times the gemstone itself will speak to me, or I will be inspired by the personality of the person who is going to wear it (in case of a bespoke commission). I tend to enjoy being able to mix new and antique techniques like photo etching and Keum Bo or granulation, combining and contrasting colours and shapes. I am drawn by the finality of the piece itself: do I want a dramatic piece of a dainty little thing? On which occasion will it be worn? My pieces are quite versatile, allowing the wearer to mix them and wear the same items in different occasions to create a different look. I like combining many delicate stacking rings together to create more of a statement.
5. Is there one piece of jewellery you've made that really stands out for you?
I really like wearing my Coco Gold Necklace, as a choker, as a long necklace, or as a bracelet with several rows. It is always finding a special place with my outfits.
6. Where do you find inspiration for your different collections?
I find the inspiration from my cultural heritage, from my travels, the street, music, poems, the fashion world, vintage finds and the beauty of couture. I love to fuse original ideas with a strong aesthetic, to create glamorous and elegant jewels.
7. How would you describe your personal style?
My personal cocktail style: a touch of class, a hint of French elegance, a dazzle of simplicity and a zest of exuberance.
8. What advice would you give to somebody just starting their own jewellery line?
I would say to stay true to yourself and who you really are. It is the best way to be able to talk about your creations with passions. Do not hesitate to ask for help whenever needed. Make sure you have excellent photos of your work. Communicate with others, let them know what you have just made and of course, enjoy wearing your own jewellery. Seeing people wearing our own creations represents the best thank you for designers.
Photos: Unless otherwise stated Catherine Marche