Meet the Makers showcases artists, creative entrepreneurs, and up and coming brands throughout Los Angeles.
An eye for design is something that all artists have, across different mediums, techniques, and aesthetic. I'm no jewelry maker, but I know that as I walk the isles of all of the major fairs, certain artists just stand out, regardless of what they're making.
Emily Phillip's jewelry does that with Fulcrum, instantaneously. She understands the organic spirit of creation, and her creations seem to rise from the earth itself, with just the right amount of clean, asymmetrical balance, the kind of golden ratio you see in nature. Case in point: she made a ring by cutting out the metal in the shape of tree DNA under a microscope at 400x. It's beautiful.
We wanted to share a bit about her process and background as a fellow maker.
What does Fulcrum mean for you, and how does it apply to your jewelry?
A fulcrum is the point at which two opposing forces have the potential to balance, like the base of a see-saw. I believe that balance is a key component in the persistence and thriving capacity of nature, on a macro and micro scale. The balance of many different kinds of forces dictates much of what we experience in the world, and is a quality of my personal life that I try to maintain. So, whether it relates to the balance of planetary movement that create seasons, or creating a design that utilizes asymmetrical symmetry to create a visual balance, it is the concept and design principle of balance that informs and inspires my designs, and where the name "Fulcrum" originates.
What made you get into jewelry in the first place?
I have always been a visual artist, presumably since my parents put me in painting classes as a six year old. Drawing and painting is often where you start because the tools you need are taught to you as a child and feel like an extension of development. So I learned how to draw and paint in a more classical, realistic style, and pursued those skills through high school. Though I always had a propensity to make things with my hands- paper clothing for my dolls, cardboard cities, stringing beads. Those tendencies were always there but didn't fit into drawing, painting, photography, or any other avenue that my schools had in their art programs. But the summer before my senior year of high school, well, frankly I was totally bored with painting and drawing, so as a breath of fresh air, I signed up for a metal-smithing/jewelry making class at Idylwild School. It was a nature oasis at the top of a mountain, where I learned to handle metal. I learned to use tools I had never even seen before to manipulate a material that felt so permanent. I learned to use a hammer, a torch, chemicals, and my own strength and physical skill to transform raw materials into delicate, shining tokens of beauty. It was this transformation of material that transformed something in me, and it just clicked! That next year I applied only art colleges that had jewelry programs. I chose to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, and spent the next 4 years learning everything I possibly could about metal-smithing and jewelry making. I was hooked, for life.
What makes your jewelry different?
I think that because I trained at a fine art college, my skills in making jewelry didn't stop with technical ability, but expanded to visual art principles like developing the conceptual basis for a piece, exploring non-traditional materials or techniques, and utilizing transitional elements to create a full and well rounded design. While also learning in depth about metal as a material, and traditional metal-smithing techniques like forging, stone setting, and soldering. I love manipulating metal, so a lot of my designs are based more on formed metal components as opposed to a more traditional gem stone based design. Don't get me wrong, the sparkle of a nice stone will make me giddy with inspiration, but I am endlessly fascinated by the inherent qualities of metal.
In the next three years, where will we see Fulcrum Jewelry go?
In the next three years I hope to delight more and more retailers with my designs. I hope to feed my entrepreneurial spirit by expanding Fulcrum Jewelry Studio productions and sales throughout the country, and then the world!
Tell us a bit about your past that got you to this point?
Daughter of an aerospace engineer and accountant, the artist gene seems to come out of left field, but in actuality, more like from my paternal grandmother. A women I never got to meet, she was an extraordinary painter. What I did get from left-brained parents, is the ability, and determination to work extremely hard and efficiently. It is in my nature to try everything I can to succeed. What that means for me is, jewelry all day, jewelry all night. You might call it an obsession, I call it passion. If you are fortunate enough to find your passion, I believe you must do all you can to make it your life.
Anything else you'd like to share?
My biggest inspiration in my work and in my life is an ever growing appreciation for the elegant perfection of the natural world. I try to learn all I can from nature; it's perfect forms, patterns, adaptability, and life lessons. I find that the words of Henry David Thoreau, one of the greatest appreciators of nature, often guide me through life. "Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails."