We hope you will enjoy reading about the work of jeweller, Rita Patel, who creates classic silver and gold jewellery, from her studio based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. In addition to creating her collections, Rita also undertakes bespoke projects, commissions and residencies.
Rita will be showing her work alongside fellow jeweller, Miranda Sharpe, ceramicist Melanie Keevil, product designer Monobrow and felted textiles by Silversoles as part of Made in Kings Heath. You can see their work at 129 Hazelhurst Road on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November 2018.
What do you create? I design and handmade contemporary jewellery.
Where do you make your work? I make my jewellery in my workshop based in the heart of the jewellery quarter, its an interesting industrial site on the second floor of an old silversmithing company which opens out onto a roof top.
What is your inspiration? I’m inspired by everyday life, whether it’s my surrounding environment both architectural landscape and abstracted from nature.
I’m also inspired by my Asian cultural heritage and experiences which have an influence on my jewellery designs.
What materials do you work with & why? I usually work with precious metals, mainly silver with added detail in gold, semi precious gemstones and pearls. I have a minimal style highlighted by the detail in my work.
I like contrasting colours and textures. I also like combining materials and have previously used resin, rice and silk thread silk in my exhibition work.
How do you go about creating your work & what is your creative process? My work is often inspired by a theme or an interesting visit as a starting point. I then make samples and decide which designs to take further. They can be one off exhibition pieces or a range of work towards a new collection on the theme.
I really enjoy the development process which is unpredictable, but can also create happy accidents as well as planned outcomes.
The techniques and skills I use involve, saw piercing, forming, hammering, etching, polishing, and texturing metal shapes.
Which aspect(s) of your work do you enjoy most? I love taking an idea from concept to realisation and seeing it through to fruition – so seeing a piece of jewellery take shape from design to the final product.
Who inspires and influences you? I admire the work of many artists but not sure if this necessarily influences my work directly. I love the work of Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor & David Bowie to name a few.
Have you always been a jeweller? I studied a 4 year teaching degree before going into jewellery making. I was then accepted onto a one year Design Fellowship which launched my jewellery career. I’ve continued to teach through community projects and running courses over the last 20 years.
How did you get started? I started making jewellery from home without the know how or any real skills in the first year of my teaching degree as I was a single parent to a 10 month baby and needed to pay towards my studies – this led to the discovery of my creativity and passion for making.
Where do you exhibit/ sell your work? I exhibit and sell my work through galleries, museums and design led outlets around the country, I have also exhibited abroad in Australia, Hong Kong and Germany.
I’m a member of Centrepiece jewellery, a local contemporary jewellery designer maker’s collective in Birmingham. We coordinate and put on a Christmas selling show for several weeks at Symphony Hall every year, this will be out 21st year.
What have you been doing / making this year? I have been making work to send out to various outlets including Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I’ve also had some interesting commissions to do, including one off engagement rings, it’s lovely to part of someone’s special day through my job.
I will be undertaking an exhibition project with 3 other makers for an exhibition at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter called ‘Illuminate’, inspired by the museums collection and highlighting the tools and techniques in jewellery making today.
What are you next / future plans / events? I want to create a new collection exploring decorative fabrics and designs and transforming them from surface patterns into jewellery pieces.
As well as Made in Kings Heath, you will be able to see Rita’s work at;