Get to Know our Artists: Polly Wales Q&A
Polly Wales’ ability to capture the beauty in unpredictable, imperfect, completely organic forms is what we love about her incredible, one-of-a-kind designs. A pioneer of the “cast-not-set” technique, which has become her signature, her work continually surprises and mesmerizes us.
1. Can you tell us a little about what drew you to jewelry design and how you got your start? What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
How far back are we going?!! Plastic straw earrings from pre school? Modelling clay cat brooches from 3rd grade, or in my early twenties when I made wire wrap jewellery that only seemed to get bought by cyber punk drag queens? I’m guessing the last option.
2. What drives your creative process?
Having moved on from the Drag Queen jewels I have spent ten years developing my own visual language and techniques. I am endlessly inspired by how to continue to elevate the jewellery that we make. I still work at the bench and for me what I do is an endless conversation with the last piece I made. I find making hugely inspiring, especially the technical challenges of how we make classical, or complex jewellery forms using our techniques, when we succeed at doing that its hugely thrilling.
3. Your designs push the boundaries of traditional fine jewelry and we can’t get enough! What inspired you to explore the ancient method of lost wax casting?
When I was at the Royal College of Art doing my masters in jewellery, my main area of research was making pieces that had an imperfect beauty, that picked up the marks of time and made the jewellery more beautiful, not less. So, I started experimenting, trying to create new materials that had hidden depths to them, that would only be revealed through the passage of time. So, I started casting stones into molten gold.
4. How would you describe your personal style? Your day-to-day jewelry style?
I have two wardrobes, what I actually wear and my ‘fantasy wardrobe’ In real life I don’t wear that much jewellery. I have a spinning disc necklace with some charms made by my partner and a baby tooth of my sisters and mine in old Victorian settings. I wear a gold skull ring, a few bangles, and earrings by friends. I like to mix my jewellery with other designers that I love, like WWake and Jamie Joseph. BUT in my fantasy wardrobe I’m a lot more Getto Gypsy, I’m layered up to the max with jewels and Peruvian textiles and bad ass trainers.
5. Do you have a style icon?
Michele Lamy on acid
6. Favorite drink?
8. Favorite book?
There’s many, but Geek Love would be on the list. It’s a story of a failing Circus family, who in an attempt to rescue themselves from financial disaster start experimenting with poisons in order to create freak babies for their circus. The book is the story of the children born to them and their lives.
9. Favorite piece of jewelry you’ve ever made?
Confetti rings still make me so happy. I love making them and I love seeing how they come out, each one is so unique, they have a little story to tell.
10. Favorite accessory you cannot leave your home without?
Right now my big ass vintage dior glasses. I probably look 180 year old in them, but I think they rock.
A bit more normality than last year! We moved to LA two years ago and we are still settling in.