Born in Brighton, raised in Leeds but made in Sheffield, Amy Stringer is a jewellery designer carving out her own niche in the jewellery world, taking inspiration from the Steel City’s celebrated contrast between architecture and nature. We sat down with Amy for a good ol’ fashioned natter about how she started her independent business…
How did you start your business?
I started my business immediately after finishing my degree at Sheffield Hallam University in 2015. I studied BA Honours Jewellery and Metalwork and afterwards, all I really wanted to do was to set up my own business. I joined a communal studio at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield and started from scratch with help from my parents and members of the industry.
What materials do you use to make the jewellery, and why?
I mainly use silver, steel and cement. I love the combination of silver and cement because it creates a precious aspect to a harsh, industrial material. I also use elements of natural materials such as moss to create that contrast, and I love the idea that by using these components aspects of my work may grow and change over time. They’re designed to grow with the wearer.
How does the jewellery you make reflect the contrast between nature and Sheffield’s architecture?
My inspiration comes from the materials found in Sheffield city centre and the contrast between the strong architecture with its rich industrial history, compared with the vast soft, green areas. I think the essence of Sheffield is captured in my work by using these materials.
Tell me about some of the positive experiences you’ve had and why they’re important to your business.
I’ve had many positive experiences in my first year of business, including being the final jeweller shortlisted in the final four of the New Designers – Designer of the Year Award in 2015. The fact that my jewellery, which includes many niche and innovative designs and material combinations, was recognised out of over 1,000 other collections from jewellers around the UK really gave me the confidence to take the leap and launch my business straight out of university.
What do you think your local council could do to help independent businesses?
Sheffield is a brilliant hub for new businesses and designers, especially in the creative industries. I think the council could help by working with the universities to make it clear to students and graduates that services are available to help them once they complete their education.
Interview by Felicity Jackson
Images courtesy of Amy Stringer