Ellis Mhairi Cameron Q&A


TF: We miss working with you but were so excited when you got too busy to work with us in store. We love selling your gorgeous jewels, so we still feel very connected to you.

TF: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Ellis: We’ve just found some exciting metal detectorist finds on the croft – including a tiny piece of gold! So that’s incredibly exciting. I’m hopefully going back to the Highlands this March, which will be a wonderful time to soak up new inspiration and design new pieces for August.
Then from a general aesthetic point of view, I have some beautiful pieces in my home from other artists – Painters such as Grace Rose Watts and Alexandra Yan Wong, and an amazing sculpture from Daniel Freyne.

TF: Have you always wanted to design jewellery? Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into this field?

Ellis: It’s a cliché, but I was always encouraged to be creative; painting and drawing from very little. My mum was a primary school teacher so we were always ‘crafting’ something! From a more technical point of view, my dad used to be a mechanic, so I would watch him soldering things, which as a child seemed like complete magic. Then in terms of formal training, when I left school I undertook a year long portfolio preparation course at Cardonald College, Glasgow, as I knew I wanted to do something in the arts, but I wasn’t sure what yet, This meant I could explore photography, painting, life drawing, textiles and jewellery making as well. I started working on jewellery pieces and loved the scale and the detail. So that was the start of the journey. Since then I studied for a BA at Glasgow School of Art and an MA at Central Saint Martins, which led to starting my own collections. It’s really incredible seeing how it has all grown and developed, and I’m really excited to see how it all progresses in 2023!

TF: I know your work is inspired by your Scottish heritage, you have lived in London for quite a few years now… Do you feel living and working in london has impacted your work and if so, in what ways?

Ellis: I think for me it’s nice to have the balance of both worlds – I like the slowness of the Highlands for research, but there’s something about the buzz of London which I fell in love with; there’s always a new show, a new artist, something to see and be inspired by. Being based at The Goldsmiths Centre is perfect, as there are so many other creatives around me, and it has helped grow the brand. I work with a range of craftspeople who are also based in the Goldsmiths Centre, so I’m lucky to have so many talented people around me.

TF: Sustainability and Ethical stone sourcing is becoming rightly at the forefront of peoples choices particular with engagement and wedding rings. What is your take on this and what challenges do you face with this as an independent designer?

Ellis: I think it’s a really important conversation to have and it’s great so many people are interested now, clients and stockists alike. I think sustainable is a tricky word, as gold and diamonds have still been mined from the earth – personally I like the word ‘traceable’. Transparency and accountability are hugely important to me and no one is perfect, but I think it’s important to be asking questions about the origins of materials. My jewellery is cast in 100% recycled gold using British suppliers, based in the UK. I am also a Registered Fairtrade Goldsmith and an Ambassador of Fairtrade Gold. For diamonds, I work with a selection of independent, reputable diamond suppliers based in London and India. The diamonds used are traceable to source and I’m also in the middle of applying for B Corp, which is really exciting. In keeping with this ethos, I also love reworking inherited gold and diamonds into new pieces, so they can once again be worn and enjoyed. My collections are made specifically in gold and diamonds, not only for their beauty, but for their longevity. I like materials that will stand the test of time.

TF: New for 2023 is your exclusive lab grown diamond ring collection can you tell us anything about these designs yet?

Ellis: This is something I’m really excited about, as this is my first collection of work specifically in lab grown diamonds. I love the contrast of my signature textures combined with the sparkle of the lab grown stones; it’s a really great balance of order and chaos – I can’t wait for them to launch at tf!

TF: If you could make an item of jewellery for anyone in history, or now – who would that be?

Ellis: I think it has to be Mary Queen of Scots – a powerhouse of a woman!

TF: Drink soon?!

Ellis: Yes please!!