Meet the Maker-I am acrylic
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
Hello! We are Ruth Williams & Brendan Fan and we make acrylic and wooden jewellery under the
name I Am Acrylic.
We hand-cut all the components for our jewellery on our trusty mechanical fretsaw and then we file
and sand the edges until they're smooth, before piecing them all together.
We work in our home studio in Spitalfields, London. We don't have a sofa in our home but we do
have a pillar drill, two mechanical fretsaws, one workmate, two work desks, two power drills, 2
vices, a mini photo studio set up and a packing table....it's more of a studio than a home to be
honest, but it seems to work most of the time!
What inspires you to make what you do?
We seem to be mainly inspired by our surroundings, whether that's at home in London or on holiday
around the UK. There's also nothing quite like being spoilt for choice for museums, galleries,
independent shops, craft fairs and a great vintage market, all within walking distance, to inspire us!
We are both fans of word association games and brainstorming sessions too. If we're feeling a bit
stuck on a new design this can throw up loads of ideas on how to progress with the idea. Most of
them are a bit ridiculous, but you sometimes get a good one in amongst the hundred bad ones!
What are you working on at the moment?
We've got really into the technique of making cut-out shapes with a panel of colour showing through
behind, as with our Sunflower brooches. We've just finished developing a Tulip version of this
brooch and a new large Tulip necklace.
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline and how would you describe your creative process?
We love working with our fretsaw to cut out all of our designs (rather than using any laser cutting) as
it kind of suits our 90's style/analogue way of working!
Brendan is more advanced than me when it comes to technology, but we'd both rather sketch on a
bit of paper or jump straight on the fretsaw to experiment, rather than having to refine our work
first on the computer for example. (I wouldn't even know where to start if you took away my pencil
and made me use a computer to be honest!)
We also really enjoy the restrictions that our method of making puts on our design process. There's
only so much detail we can cut out by hand, without making each piece too time consuming, so we
really have to pare down our designs which is a great challenge!
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist or designer, who would it be?
We were lucky enough to visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives last summer, and peering
through the window into her studio was pretty amazing!
Going to open-studios is also something we really enjoy doing. It doesn't really matter what is being
made or by who, it is just fascinating to see the process and set-up!