Holly Elder

Holly Elder’s work is juxtaposed between contemporary and ancient. With hammered textures, rich gold or silver and subtle but strong designs; Holly’s work is a master class in finding an awesome angle and running to the hills with it. I love her work.

This streamlined vision, bound up in reinterpretation, showcases Hollys’ mastery and skill alongside her interest, not only in history, but collections and objects: With carefully considered ancient relics forming the base of her work. Holly pinpoints the Pitt Rivers Museum as a source of inspiration. For those that love historical collections, the Pitt Rivers is a mecca for anyone interested in the area (as well as a base for many debates around controversial anthropological museum collections and how they should be displayed and interpreted now…but that’s for a different time!) This inspiration can be seen in her work, with a respect clearly visible in how she has used and manipulated the ancient objects.

There are so many (brilliant) emerging jewellery designers showcasing their work currently, it must be difficult to find a niche beyond what is trendy or ‘in fashion’. Holly has created a collection that is weighted in a strong vision and ethos, which is what sets Hollys work apart from many. It is absolute evidence of that if you march to the beat of your own drum, shallow trends need not apply.

See what Holly has to say about her work below…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hello, I’m Holly and I’m a jeweller and silversmith living in Brighton. I studied 3D Design & Craft at Brighton University where I quickly favoured the metal workshop. I’ve always had an admiration of objects and collecting, but I wasn’t quite sure how I could translate this creatively. When I was introduced to silversmithing I instantly fell in love with the craft and realised that jewellery was the perfect way to merge my love of objects and making. 

My current jewellery collection is an exploration of found objects. All the pieces have originally been found with a metal detector by a third party and originate from the roman era dating back to the 1st-4th century AD! I have replicated and transformed them into wearable pieces; the collection features a hand holding an olive, a bucking stallion and the Head of Mars. 

  1. What are your Inspirations?

I remember visiting the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford before starting university and I was instantly mesmerised by the hundreds of beautifully curated historical objects displayed. It’s a real explosion of history, craft and curios, ranging from clothing and tools to shrunken heads! As well as the objects themselves I poured over the meticulously curated cabinets and display boxes; another object I’ve since started collecting. 

I was lucky enough to visit the jewellery exhibition ‘Schmuck’ in Munich on a university trip. It was the first time I was introduced to the world of contemporary jewellery and it really opened my eyes to the potential of what jewellery and objects can be. Personal highlights were the work of Maria Militsi, Karl Fritsch, Lisa Walker, Warwick Freeman, Otto Kunzli, Sigurd Bronger…

I also have a big love affair with Rachel Whiteread. Her work brings me a constant source of intrigue, I love her selection and use of objects in her craft and the way she explores and manipulates them. 

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Both! I definitely have days where I find Instagram frustrating and it can be hard to not compare yourself with others. It’s easy to get too wrapped up in the online world and forget that jewellery is to be worn and experienced IRL! That being said I think that Instagram acts as a great platform for creatives and makers to showcase their work. I like to see it as a virtual museum.

  1. Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I’m excited to see how my business grows and how what I collect informs my collection. I would love to be at the bench making every day. I want to focus on continuing to be interested and intrigued with my craft and continue hunting down objects; I’d love to get my own metal detector or mudlarking licence! In terms of advice, I’d say it’s never the right time to put your work out there, just do it now! It’s really important to just keep on making.

  1. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

I’ve recently got into all things folklore so I’ve really been enjoying folk_pile, endlessmummer and weird_walk for that. I love the king and queen of mudlarking; jasonmudlark and london.mudlark ! I think the most interesting jewellers I’ve been following recently are georgiakemball and joy_bc and I’m also really enjoying anonymousworksinc for eccentric historical objects!

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