Cymru Culture

Articles / Erthyglau

Silverwear Designer Suzie Horan

(September 12, 2009)
Interview with Suzie Horan
 
 


Suzie Horan is a well established silversmith working in Wales, with exhibitions in Wales, the UK and America. She has been the recipient of a number of awards such as the Gold Medal for Craft and Design at the National Eisteddfod, together with the Young Designer of the Year 2008 at British Silver week, Suzie was awarded a Distinction by the Society of Designer Craftsmen too name but a few.
 
Suzie designs a range of accessories for the home, as well as jewellery in the form of statement necklaces, earrings and stunning cuff bracelets.

We caught up with Suzie, to ask her about her work, her inspirations and her influences ...


 
CC ...Your work has received considerable recognition (having won the gold medal for Craft and Design at the National Eisteddfod, Young Designer of the Year 2008 at British Silver Week and being awarded a Distinction by the Society of Designer Craftsmen, together with lots of other awards). It's an intensively satisfying feeling when people appreciate your work, is it not?

SH ... Indeed! Quite often, I have to overcome many technical challenges with my work - especially on the larger pieces of silverware - and I can spend so much time alone in my studio working things out. I have to say that it makes all the hard work worthwhile when your work is appreciated by others.


Suzie Horan 1
Napkin Rings, Suzie Horan


CC ... Your pieces are heavily influenced by the Welsh coastline. Why do you find these areas of such inspiration?

 

SH ... I have always lived near the coast and find the movement and reflections of the sea so interesting. I have always been fascinated by ammonites which are light, delicate and beautiful structures, whilst being naturally strong. I try to thread these qualities through each piece I make

 
Suzie Horan 2
Bracelet with freshwater pearl, Suzie Horan

 


CC ... Your ammonite necklaces are something which are strongly associated with you as an artist. How long would a typical piece from this collection take to produce?


SH ... Each piece I make is very time consuming, as the silver naturally wants to stay flat! I create a few ripples at a time before the silver work hardens and needs to be softened with heat. This creates oxides, which need to be removed before the process is repeated. Once the piece is completely rippled it needs to be formed and soldered. And finally, all the highlights are polished by hand. This would take quite a few hours and then the piece is sent off for hallmarking. If I decide to darken the silver, this is also done by hand and would take another hour or so, including hand polishing.
 

Suzie Horan 3
Ammonite pendant with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals,
Suzie Horan
 

CC ...Some of your pieces are real statement pieces, especially your cuff bracelets. Do you feel that it is important that jewellery and accessories should tell you something about the wearer, in terms of their sense of style etc.?

SH ... My favourite pieces are my statement pieces, especially the wide cuff bangle and the long ammonite necklace. I do feel that jewellery and accessories can tell you something about the wearer in terms of their sense of style etc. By the same token I think that a person’s mood can affect what they choose to wear, as well as the occasion they are attending.
 
 
Suzie Horan 4
Silver cuff bangles, Suzie Horan


CC ... You also design a range of home accessories. Please tell us about these pieces and why you have diversified from designing only jewellery.

SH ... Actually, when I attended university, we were encouraged to concentrate on silversmithing or jewellery. I choose silversmithing, which essentially means making larger pieces of silverware such as napkin rings, dishes, bowls etc. My degree show in 2007 had no jewellery in it at all! By the time I was selected to exhibit at New Designers in Islington, London, I had created some jewellery for myself to wear as I stood by my larger work, and this created lots of interest. Since then, I have designed and made a whole collection of jewellery to complement the silverware.
 


Suzie Horan 5
Dark silver pendant, Suzie Horan


CC ... You've recently released a range of jewellery which supports and commemorates the silver anniversary of the George Thomas Hospice charity. Why did you design this range and what inspired the design of the pieces which form part of this collection?

SH ... My mum, Colleen, and her partner, Tony, have supported the charity for many years. Now, sadly, he is not well enough to attend the events and is using the services of the Hospice. In response to this, I decided to create a small collection of solid silver jewellery to celebrate the silver anniversary of George Thomas Hospice Care this year. Each brooch pin and pair of cuff links is handmade, engraved with GTHC and hallmarked. My aim was to include the initials of the charity in combination with my own style. For each pin or pair of cufflinks sold at £75 I donate £25 to the hospice.

 


Suzie Horan 6
George Thomas Hospice-inspired pin, Suzie Horan


CC ... You work both in the mediums of solid silver and gold. Do you have a particular favourite material you like to work with?


SH ... I enjoy working with silver as it has wonderful reflective qualities. I also like 18 carat gold which has a wonderfully delicate colour.
 

Suzie Horan 10


CC ... Please tell us about the exhibitions/shows you have planned for the remainder of 2009?

SH ... In June I will be exhibiting large scale silverware at Goldsmiths Hall in London, B. Silverman in London and Palterman & Thomas in Swansea.

Following that it’s best to check my website www.suziehoran.com for up to date information.

 


CC ... Your work is on permanent exhibition at The Model House, Llantrisant. Tell us about this very special exhibition space and why you choose to design from a studio within the gallery?


SH ... Thee Model House, Llantrisant is a lively community of artists' studios sitting above an excellent contemporary gallery. It’s an ideal place for me to work and I have a wonderful view across the countryside from my studio window. We would like to invite everyone to come to our Open Studios Day on Saturday, 6 June for a wonderful day. The artists will be available to meet and there will be refreshments and plenty for sale!


I also have work at Ruthin Craft Centre in Denbighshire, Craft in the Bay in Cardiff, Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthen, Palterman & Thomas in Swansea, Llantarnam Grange in Gwent and Studio Fusion in London.

 


CC ... Your work wll shortly feature in the newly opened Coron Gallery in San Francisco. That must be a really exciting prospect.


SH ... Yes. It's very exciting to have my work in San Francisco and I guess this shows the power and potential of the internet! The gallery owner spotted my website and came over to my studio to choose the pieces she wanted, which was great!



CC ... Is reaching an international market something you aspire to as an artist?


SH ... Not especially. I aim to continue to design and make work of quality, and there are plenty of excellent contemporary galleries and exhibitions here in the UK to keep me busy!

 

 

CC ... Suzie Horan, thank you.


© 2009 Caregos Cyf. | Hawlfraint - All rights reserved

 

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