Jade Murray from Ginger Pickle designs playful animal jewellery that appeals to every animal lover looking for a mini penguin or French bulldog to carry with them at all times. Her Wooden Creatures Collection is inspired by her all-time favourite animals and includes super-cute hedgehog earrings, racoon hair grips and even a sperm whale necklace, all cleverly designed, and then etched, carved and cut from wood. We talked to Jade about her wooden creatures, her fine art background and her range of inspirational art prints…
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Jade Murray, an artist and jewellery designer from Aberdeen but I just recently moved to Alnwick, Northumberland. I graduated from Gray’s School of Art, with an honours degree in painting four years ago and have since explored the world of jewellery making and illustration. Since launching the Wooden Creatures Collection in 2012, it has been a roaring success. My pieces are really popular with adults, teenagers and children alike. I work from my home in the spare bedroom – you’ll find me there working late most nights!
How would you describe your work?
My wooden animal jewellery is fun, playful and appeals to the animal lover in all of us. It’s not too serious and is guaranteed to make you smile! My illustration work is bright, colourful and refreshing. My prints are there to uplift and motivate you, as they are all based on inspirational quotes and uplifting phrases.
Has your degree in painting influenced the work you make?
I did an honours degree in painting at art school, so I have always been drawing away and using different materials and different colour combinations. I’ve moved away from traditional painting and gone on to produce art prints which appeal to a broader market. All of my prints start as original ink drawings which are then scanned on to the computer and digitally coloured. They are then professionally printed by a UK print company. The end results are lovely – an affordable piece of art which will brighten up your day and won’t break the bank.
Did you always want to be a designer/maker?
Yes. I love working for myself and building something that’s yours, so it’s always been my ambition.
How did you start working with wood?
I wanted to build a collection of jewellery around this material after seeing a collection of geometric jewellery made from wood at a market stall. I loved the aesthetic of the wood but had never considered using it with jewellery, so I ditched the acrylic and decided to opt for this more natural material. I’ve always been a big animal lover and animals are really fun to draw so it clicked – let’s combine my love of animals and this awesome material for something really lovely. And so the wooden creatures collection was born!
Does each piece start life as a drawing, and how does it develop?
Yes, I start by sketching the animal so I have a clear vision of how I want it to look. I then design it on a vector drawing program on the computer. Each animal starts from scratch and the process is really time consuming as it’s difficult to get it looking how you first designed it. There are many layers involved and this is the process where most tweaks are made because you need to not only make it look right but also make sure you make each cut line and engrave line the correct colour for the laser cutter software. The designs then get sent off to a UK laser cutting company who cut the work for me on their big machines.
Which of your animals was the most fun to design?
The very first animal I designed, which was the turtle! I had two turtles at the time, so it was inspired by them. It’s the cutest design, I think.
What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by lots of different things really, mainly animals and inspirational quotes, but there are countless sources of inspiration. It really does come from everywhere.
Can you describe your workspace or studio?
My workspace is the spare bedroom in the house I live in with my boyfriend. It’s a small room but large enough to fit all my stock and packaging materials although I’m forever needing more storage space! My window overlooks my neighbour’s garden and they have five bunny rabbits, so it’s quite funny seeing them all hop around.
Do you enjoy working from home?
Yes I love it. It definitely has its benefits. I love how I can work any time of day – if I need to work late into the night or early in the morning then it’s really easy to do. It’s saving me money too – in the winter I don’t have to worry about getting to and from a workplace in the snow and I don’t have to buy lunch either. Saying that, there are benefits of working from a studio space away from your home, but personally for the moment working from home suits me better.
Do you like to have certain objects around you or listen to particular music while you work?
It depends what work I’m doing… if I’m making jewellery I like to watch TV shows on Netflix or documentaries on YouTube. If you’re doing the same task over and over again like peeling protective tape off wood, then it’s nice to have something to occupy your mind while you do it! I particularly like watching Air Crash Investigation (I’m a bit of a geek) and TV shows like Extras, Homeland, Orange is The New Black and Silk. If I’m packing up orders or designing new products I tend to just listen to the radio or my iTunes, so it’s never really silent in my workspace – there’s always some form of noise, which I like.
How would you spend your perfect day?
My perfect day would involve taking a day off work (we all need a break now and then!), visiting a farm to feed the animals, eating an ice-cream in the sun and then going for a lovely lunch with my boyfriend. In the evening, I would get into my PJs and watch a box set – we both love Game of Thrones.
What does the future hold for Ginger Pickle?
There are lots of exciting future plans for Ginger Pickle! I’m exhibiting at the Spotted section at Top Drawer on 14-16 September for the very first time. I’m pretty nervous because it’s my first trade show, but the section I’m exhibiting in is for designers who are new to it all, so I’ll be with other people who are in the same boat. I also have plans to stock my jewellery in more shops in the UK and internationally too, so I’m hoping Top Drawer will help me achieve that. I want to launch a new Christmas range and introduce a new product line of rings to the collection as well. So lots to keep busy with!