DCA Shop Designer Q&A: Freya Alder


24 October 2017

You may have noticed some simple and intriguing face pins and necklaces in DCA Shop recently. Designed by Freya Alder, these informal and playful pieces have been flying off the shelves. Freya cuts each piece by hand in her Glasgow studio, making every item unique. We recently caught up with her to chat about her inspiration, process and informal way of working.

Hi Freya! Your work has been going down a treat in DCA Shop, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice?

Hello! I’m always so very pleased to hear my work has been received well. People’s interactions with my pieces are what bring them to life - they are meant to amuse and delight!

I studied at the Art School in Glasgow and somewhat fell into the jewellery department. I’m a bit of a creative-commitment-phobe as just about everything appeals to me and it took me a long time to make peace with life as a jewellery maker.

"I like making playful, naive pieces"

I like making playful, naive pieces that subvert the typically formal image of jewellery. I find formality impedes my creativity so I try and make things that make me laugh using quite basic jewellery making techniques and fairly non precious materials.

Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?

I am always making doodle-like line drawings of people and faces. I find it so pleasing how just with the placing of a nose, eyes and mouth one can create a sort of character and in the same way a few wiggly lines can quickly represent a woman. All my pieces are hand pierced from hand drawn stencils so each is a unique little character which for me has charm in an age of mass production.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process?

"The moment where you hit upon something that really works is satisfying beyond belief!"

I love experimenting in my studio, I work best in a low-pressure environment when I have allocated plenty of time to potter about and play.

I like making drawings and prototypes. I always end up over excited, frenzied and cutting corners when designing. The moment where you hit upon something that really works is satisfying beyond belief!

What does a typical day at the studio look like for you?

I still work a part time job so my studio time is a couple days a week of blissful time for me to do my own thing! I am not an early riser! I’m not sure I ever will be so I meander in about 10am. My studio is in Glasgow’s West End so everything is convenient, handsome and leafy! I open the door onto the little studio garden to get some air in my lungs, put on an extra jumper, drink tea, listen to podcasts and eat several sandwiches for lunch. Jewellery making is hungry work.

Who are your favourite artists and makers?

My all time favourite maker is David Neale, a brilliant Australian jeweller with a great approach to making work. He sees jewellery as the original form of graphic design, a way of communicating through adornment that predates drawing and painting. He’s relentlessly creative and always surprising me with his style. His pieces often have a rough, honest feel to them: everything is full of charm and humanity. I’m basically the unofficial head of his fan club!

Thanks Freya! We only have a couple of Freya's pieces left in DCA Shop at the moment (told you they were popular!) but we will be getting a fresh batch in soon and will be popping some pieces into our online shop, perfect if you're a fan but live further afield. Follow on Instagram to be the first to find out when they're in. 

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