The work of Sia Taylor is, in a word, magical. The designer, based in Somerset, England, makes mesmerizing jewels using only metal in what appears to be the most colorful, spirited sans-gemstones work I’ve ever seen.
Movement is also a key element in Taylor’s mystifying creations. This new collection, Songbird, is no exception: Birthed during the pandemic, the line came to be through mindful walks in nature, something many experienced during lockdowns around the world. In turn, it’s hard not to feel connected to these pieces and, when described by the designer herself, appreciate how they were created.
Below, we talked with Sia Taylor about Songbird, her artful style, and hopes for the future.
Like any good designer collection, the backstory is an important element to the finished product. What are your hopes for consumers with this new collection—how should Songbird make them feel?
I dreamt up the Songbird collection during the first lockdown in 2020. I live in a very rural setting, and although I’m used to being very quiet and working from home, my days are normally very busy. The quiet and peace of those weeks, and the sense of living in a weird dreamlike place, allowed me the time and space to really let my imagination wander.
I spent much time walking, watching, listening. Everything appeared sharper, more in focus, hyperreal. I was really aware of tiny details—a tiny insect walking across a leaf, the sound of a cricket in the grass. The birdsong was extraordinary, piercing the empty air. I felt like I was hearing it for the first time.
In this collection of pieces I tried to capture a sense of magic and wonder. I dreamed up objects that are somewhere between birds and flowers, strange magical creatures that have simple forms but painstaking detail. I hope that that sense of magic, childlike playfulness will capture people’s imaginations, and I think there’s real joy and beauty to be found in the flickering, light- catching movement of the pieces.
How can retailers showcase and talk about your product to convey the intention behind each piece?
I think what’s really important in my jewelry is the sense of time involved in its making. Each piece is made up of multiple handmade elements, each cut with a saw, shaped with a file, assembled with multiple miniature solder joins, on handmade tiny golden frames and structures. All these miniature pieces are made in our studio by a small team of very talented and patient makers, who have an extraordinary attention to detail.
My jewelry is very much a continuation of my practice as an artist—I trained in fine art—and many similar ideas continue.
Each collection we present is a pause in a continuous unfolding story of exploring and imagining and dreaming. I don’t set out to create a defined group of pieces, rather we allow it to evolve naturally, so each collection flows into the next and overlaps.
I love mixing the different collections together—Rain falling from my ears, Petals around my neck, The Moon on my fingers.
How has the pandemic impacted your business, and how has a “return to normal” been for you? Is there anything that changed during the pandemic you think is for the better?
My return to normal is not such a major transition. My life in my studio is the same, very focused on tiny details, tiny moments. I hope to keep the time and space for really exploring ideas in the way we have in the last 18 months—that has been a real positive. We slowed down, reflected on what was important. We took time to work on the new pieces in a way we haven’t been able to in years. We have had an incredible response to what we presented and realized the potential of finding our own rhythm, not so dependent on established “seasons.”
Your creations are so inspired and they really showcase how powerful metal can be. Are you ever tempted to use any gemstones in your work?
No. I think as I am not a trained jeweler, stones are not part of my language. My pieces are made up of imagined shapes, things we can create with a saw or flame. I wouldn’t know where to begin with designing a piece around something that already has its own form.
What are your hopes for the holiday season, and what do you wish for the industry in 2022?
I feel that despite the initial difficulties with supply, isolation, shipping, and so on, the industry has become a little softer, more personal, more understanding. I hope this feeling of support and understanding will continue and grow. We have developed some really strong relationships with some incredible stores over the last few years, which strengthened immeasurably during the pandemic. I hope our pieces will perform well for them and repay the incredible support and kindness they have shown us.
Top: Hummingbird Trail earrings in 18k, 22k, and 24k yellow gold, 18k rose and white gold, and platinum, £3,455 ($4,670); Sia Taylor
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