Designer Interview - Emilie Thomas
When talking to the amazingly talented Emilie Thomas, her love and enthusiasm for jewelry making simply shines through. A committed animal lover, Emilie looks to the animal kingdom for continual inspiration with her love for intricately well-made creations at the core of all of her designs. Recently back from holiday in Croatia with her dog Rufus keeping a close eye on her, we chatted to Emilie about the fascinating world of taxidermy, wax carving and why a sense of self-achievement is the most important thing.
Emilie, we all know your designs are some of Boticca’s most interesting creations but can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Of course. Although I’m originally from Cardiff, I now live in London with my husband George and our little dog Rufus. I studied fine art painting in Cheltenham, and then went on to do a silver jewelry apprentice course. Also, I'm fascinated with animals and would own a safari park if I could.
How do you get the inspirations behind your designs?
I'm mainly interested in anatomy, animals and wildlife. I find that sometimes the most gruesome things can be the most beautiful, a dead bird for example, the thought of it is horrible, but if you look closer you see things a living bird would not let you see, just how perfect it is, how beautiful it's feathers are, it's tiny feet. I always think the most worthwhile things in life are not things on the surface, but they are things that you have to look a little further to find. I also have a fascination of looking up at buildings and constantly taking photos of sculptures. So much effort was put into our architecture and it's not at eye level, always look up and you will see the most beautiful stone carvings.
You have worked for the likes of Stephen Webster and Elizabeth Gage. Why did you decide to branch out and start your own line?
Working for these people was a wonderful achievement for me. They are at the highest end in the jewelry fashion world and are so well respected in their field, they both have completely different styles but both make wonderful amazing pieces. I learnt a lot from them, but as an artist the utmost pleasure comes from making your own work, my mind is always filled with ideas and creating things for myself and achieving things for me is what gives me the most satisfaction.
Who is the Emilie Thomas woman?
The Emilie Thomas woman has a strong sense of style; she is quirky, unique and a little sentimental. She knows how to wear a statement piece of jewelry; she appreciates timeless fashion, likes to buy well-made products and has a sense of tradition.
What one thing do you know now that you wish you had done then?
I wish I had found my love for making jewelry earlier. I sometimes wish I had studied it for a degree instead of Fine Art, but then would I have still found this route? I absolutely fell into it; I had no interest in it what so ever. A friend of mine was teaching evening classes and one time I helped her carry her equipment to the class, I decided to stay and watch and have a go. From the moment my piercing saw hit the metal and made that delightful crunching noise I knew I was hooked.
You have spoken of your love for antiques and taxidermy. Where did this come from?
My love of antiques comes from my grandmothers on both sides, as a child my earliest memories are sitting on my Nans lap playing with the knotted beads around her neck, being kept amused looking at the gimmicky charms on her bracelet. Antique jewelry is just so well thought out, I hope this comes across in my work. As for taxidermy, my greatest ideas have sparked from walking around the natural history museum. It's just a fascination and love for animals.
You are also a wax carver; can you tell us more about this?
The jewelry apprentice course I studied had a wax carving section. Growing up my father had a figurine company and my sister and I sometimes made the originals. It's something I have always done; wax carving for people and myself was just a natural thing for me. Customers give me a few pictures and measurements and I go about bringing their ideas to life. It is so nice to see your ideas progress from drawings and thoughts, to the model you carve, then into silver, using a lost wax process.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a designer?
I would have loved to be a marine biologist, or a safari park keeper, something random and different like that.
If your jewelry were a celebrity who would it be?
Fearne Cotton, I think she has a great sense of style, I imagine she is always happy and lovely, always smiling. I think she can have many styles and look so different but each with her unique, pristine stamp on them. I would love her to wear my jewelry.
What 5 accessories do you believe every woman should have?
I am in love with carpet bags and satchels at the moment, however I usually wear my massive dark leather bag, it is huge and goes with everything, I really should have bought two I love it that much. Every woman should definitely have a few pieces of gorgeous jewelry that they love and are sentimental about, a warm cardigan, a really thick one, especially if you are in the UK, a few statement dresses, and of course you're never fully dressed without a smile.
What other designers on Boticca do you admire?
, there's nothing like an Italian leather bag. His are absolutely stunning, especially his Elephante bag
Sticks and Stones Accessories
for their deer antler rings
, such a unique idea. Lei Van Kash
for her beautiful Chandelier ring
. David Webdale
for his gorgeous bags, striking jewelry
and use of precious stones. Blind Spot Jewellery
and his Mariana Trench Ring
, I love that it opens. Dominique Lucas
absolutely love her Tiger Skin Cuff
What’s next for you?
Next for me is just to keep pushing, keep designing, keep doing what I love. I'm so lucky that I have a wonderful family and friends and an amazing husband who always help keep me inspired.
See more from Emilie Thomas