Susan May

I love to spend time drawing, mostly around the city; street markets, rehearsals, restaurant kitchens, anywhere I can find a lot of activity. The intensity of observation, movement and atmosphere is inspiring and I have become addicted to it.  I don’t use the drawings directly as source material but this practice has a strong influence on my jewellery.

The starting point for a piece of jewellery might be the sense of a shape, inspired by something observed, then an idea of how this might work on the body. Next, I begin to manipulate the metal using quite an intuitive approach, and further ideas will develop as I work the materials.  For the wire pieces such as the ‘stem’ brooches, and the 18ct. bangles, I use D section (half round) wire ‘edge-ways’ -  it is a challenge, working against what the metal wants to do, but the lovely crisp line that this produces is akin to a pencil mark, and almost appears to float. In other pieces I have embossed lines onto the surface; here I want to echo the feel of drawing and printing marks. Where I have cut into sheet metal and made ‘fronds’ I am using lines yet again.

What I find fascinating is how the work moves on during the making process; when the finished piece strongly holds my initial idea but has developed in a way that surprises and excites me.


1977 Awarded Crafts Council New Craftsman Grant, set up workshop in Clerkenwell, London
1976 – 78 Goldsmiths’ Company Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme working in Hatton Garden
1976 Graduated Middlesex University

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
The Alice and Louis Koch Collection, Switzerland
Various private international collections

 Selected Exhibitions
2009 ‘Creation 11’ Goldsmiths’ Hall London
‘Inner Voice’ Contemporary Applied Arts London
2008 The Pendant Show – Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, California, USA
‘Shine’ Electrum Gallery London
‘Drawn Together’ (works on paper) 28 Redchurch Street Gallery, Shoreditch London
2007 Showcased at Bircham Gallery Norfolk
Collect with Contemporary Applied Arts – V&A Museum London

Publications & Press
2008 ‘Adorn – New Jewellery’ by Amanda Mansell, publ. Laurence King UK
‘Five Hundred Pendants and Lockets’ ed. Marthe Le Van, Lark Books USA
2005 ‘Five Hundred Bracelets’ ed. Marthe Le Van, Lark Books USA
2004 ‘One Thousand Rings’ ed. Marthe Le Van, Lark Books USA
2000 ‘Jewellery Design – The Artisan’s Reference’ by Elizabeth Olver. Quarto Books UK





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