The Glasgow girls


Ok….none of them are actually from Glasgow….and they are not girls…they are 3 Scottish (and Northern Irish) women! But – they all graduated from Glasgow Kelvin College, sharing immense admiration for their tutor Dauvit Alexander. Anne Walker, Carol Docherty and Paula Sloan – different approaches, different styles, different personalities, different backgrounds, – with one thing in common: talent and skills.


anna walker-jewellery-designer

The avid Jewellery Monthly reader will have come across her in a previous article.

Anne’s degree theme was Contrast and explores the discord between good and evil, light and dark, solid and void etc. Through mind-mapping this led to explore the forest within the realms of fairy tales, such as Hansel and Gretel’s ribbon of breadcrumbs/stones to lead them out of the forest, Snow White’s poisoned apple, and Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf.

Using CAD and 3D printing technology, Anne is developing her skills by exploring the opportunities that scripting and panelling could offer alongside stone setting. Her collections certainly are interesting, edgy and anything but traditional.

Why did you become a jewellery designer?
I was already in design, but found myself unemployed during the recession after redundancy. Signing on at the Job Centre, for eleven months with two young children to look after on my own, was a difficult place to be, having worked as an architect for twenty years. I was recommended by the job centre to go back to college for a year and learn something new to prevent myself from joining the long-term unemployed. Sometimes you just have to take a chance. Choosing what to do…The design bit was easy… it is what I do. The technology bit was straightforward, I have been doing it for years. Initially, the difficult bit was becoming a student again. Yet, being older and wiser, I knew how hard I would need to work to achieve my goal, learning new skills and drawing on those I already had. Jewellery is like architecture, just on a different scale. Redundancy makes you evaluate what is important, what you already have and what you need to do, to get your confidence back.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Visual and verbal stimuli, my environment and my everyday thoughts spark a constant process of design evolution within my imagination. Rarely found without sketchbook, pen or pencil in hand, I enjoy drawing and developing my ideas. I derive satisfaction from interpreting my designs and fine tuning details by exploiting CAD and 3D printing technology, to allow detailed stone setting at the bench; creating interesting, edgy and covetable jewellery.

How would you describe your own work?
Interesting, edgy and covetable. It is different, bold maybe, some pieces with a unisex appeal. heist represents skills, stolen from my previous career as an architect; as an antithesis, or contrast, to challenge the ‘traditional’ and as my brand identity.

If you could choose a famous person (alive or dead), who would you love to design a piece of jewellery for? What would it be?
Probably a pendant for someone like Suri Cruise or Harper Seven Beckham, the celebrity endorsement of your product can never be underestimated, and these two kids have plenty of mileage ahead. Maybe that makes me sound shallow or is it just commercial? However, I would probably like to have had the opportunity to design for another designer. Someone like Massimo Vignelli, [graphic designer]“If you can design one thing, you can design everything”, or Arne Jacobsen, [industrial design, architecture, furniture]or Max Miedinger, [the Swiss typeface designer who enriched the world with Helvetica]or Coco Chanel ….. Now they would be a challenge. The consultancy conversations would have been fantastic and the insight into their design worlds would be invaluable. What would I design; cufflinks for the gentlemen and a cuff for Gabrielle.

If you hadn’t become a jewellery designer/maker, which other career would you have chosen?
My parents told me I should be a doctor, a dentist or a plumber…. ‘People will always need them!’ Em…and if I hadn’t done architecture…. A photographer maybe, a graphic or product designer but most likely a ski instructor in the winter and tennis coach in the summer!

What is your favourite piece of jewellery and why?
I have two very small sentimental pieces, a ring and a charm bought by each of my children for me, one on a primary school trip and the other when we were on holiday together in Turkey. They chose them, themselves and they chose well.

What are your plans for the future?
Just fresh out from my Degree, I have been asking myself that question on a daily basis. I recently got knocked back for a CAD designer job with a large jewellery retailer as I ‘lacked experience’…. It is difficult to get passed HR sometimes and speak to the right people. I would like to work in the design department for an established company, to engage with a team, to inspire and spark enthusiasm to produce contemporary fine jewellery for the customer who wants a choice; something different. I have the skills to do this. I just need the right company to realise they should take a chance on me! Whilst actively pursuing employment, I am concentrating on getting heist jewellery the name on everyone’s lips, but what is more important is heist bangles on their wrists, heist pendants around their necks and heist rings on their fingers!

A word of advice – just because it’s heist jewellery, don’t feel encouraged to steal it, it doesn’t mean you can help yourself to it…or you better be a very fast runner!


carol docherty - jewellery designer
You could not meet a nicer person, highly skilled, and incredibly humble. This designer doesn’t realise how good she actually is….believe me, she is very good!

Born in 1960 Carol grew up in Coatbridge, left school in 1979 and attended Glasgow School of Art, where she specialised in ceramics. She was drawn to contemporary figurative ceramics, and especially hand built one off pieces that incorporated colour, texture and mark-making. Carol graduated in 1983 with a first class BA Hons, a travel scholarship and the prestigious Newberry Medal.

She worked for a year teaching ceramics and then in1984 moved to London in order to attend the Royal College of Art where she graduated in 1987 with a Master’s degree in ceramics and glass. After leaving college Carol taught ceramics and Art and Design alongside being a practising artist, showing her work in many galleries throughout the UK.

She returned to Glasgow School of Art in 2009-20111 to take evening classes in jewellery and realised very quickly that she was going to love making jewellery. It was at this point that Carol decided to return to college full time to get a more formal training in jewellery, graduating with an HND in 2014.

Carol Docherty’s jewellery is very personal, to herself and the customer, a lot of thought goes into each and every piece, for example her bracelets can tell the customer’s own little story, full of memories and emotions, like a tapestry of their life.

Some of her latest work – especially designed for Rockcandy Gallery in Edinburgh feature subtle etchings, based on sketches of thistles, a gentle nod to her home country.

You can tell Carol is very interested in the sculptural and human form and her work goes far beyond jewellery, such as her stunning pill boxes and mementos.

Why did you become a jewellery designer?
I came to jewellery later in life but it was something I always had an interest in. I remember being overawed as a teenager by a book that my mum brought home from the library; it was the jewellery of Rene Lalique. I am still a huge fan of his work.

When I was at Art School I had to choose a “specialism” in my second year, my choice was between ceramics and jewellery, I chose ceramics. Jewellery over the years became an itch I couldn’t scratch and that’s why I have come back to it later in life.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from a wide variety of sources; these include the natural world, symbolism, pattern, texture and the human form. I like my pieces to have a narrative this could be a personal story known only to the wearer of the piece or something that I have an interest in. I particularly like Victorian jewellery for its sentimentality, symbolism, and its attachment to significant events in a person’s life.

How would you describe your own work?
I would describe my work as narrative, decorative and personal.

If you could choose a famous person (alive or dead), who would you love to design a piece of jewellery for?
If I could choose anyone to design a piece of jewellery for it would be Cleopatra and it would either be a headpiece or a collar.

If you hadn’t become a jewellery designer/maker, which other career would you have chosen?
I have always been a maker and since leaving The Royal College of Art in 1987 I have been both a figurative ceramicist and an Art and Design teacher. So jewellery is my other career or perhaps it could be considered as just transferring ones skill to a different medium.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery and why?
I like so many pieces of jewellery it seems mean to pick a favourite, Rene Lalique’s work is a great favourite of mine along with Alexander Calder, but recently I came across “The Ship of Fools” 2004 pendant in silver and gold by Dieter Dill-de which I just loved.

What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are to continue making jewellery and to develop my figurative wax carving skills. I’m convinced, Carol’s future as a jewellery designer/maker is bright…there’ll certainly be one of her rings on my hand soon!


paula sloan jewellery designer
Paula Sloan is originally from County Armagh in Northern Ireland. She has been working and studying in the jewellery industry since 2001. Prior to studying Jewellery Design she worked in retail for 5 years.

It was during this time that she decided that she wanted to learn how to make all the beautiful pieces of jewellery that she was selling, so she decided to return to full-time education, taking advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as she could and become adept in the use of CAD and advanced stone setting.

Paula obviously loves jewellery and this…..well, almost addiction…comes through in her work. The stunning designs of her rings are based on patterns formed by drugs (of the good and bad kind, such as Prozak and Heroin) when dissolved, spread on film and looked at under the microscope…Fantasy and Ecstasy look great when transformed into jewellery! They are fingerlickingly beautiful pieces, and the good news: all legal and no side effects!

She enjoys applying colour to her pieces through the use of vitreous enamels.

Paula’s great talent really shines in her gemstone-set one off pieces that truly stand out. These are pieces not for the shy and faint-hearted, but bold, stunning and full of personality.

Unsurprisingly this ring gained her a Highly Commended by the Scottish Gemmological Association in 2015.
Paula Sloan Gemset Comp Tourmaline

What inspired you to become a jewellery designer?
Jewellery has always fascinated me. People have been using jewellery as a way of adorning their bodies for centuries. So many different designers influenced by the culture and era they lived in. This is what inspired me to become a jewellery designer / maker. I wanted to learn the complexity of construction so that I could produce pieces that the wearer could feel a personal connection to and create designs that would endure.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I like unusual shapes and patterns, both natural and manmade. I especially like fractal patterns. I take a lot of photographs when I am not in the workshop, so I am continually gathering new images that I can use to ignite my imagination.

How would you describe your own work?
I have always enjoyed the practical side of being a designer maker and take pleasure in applying all of the bench skills that I have acquired over the years to the pieces I create. I like to combine new technology with traditional techniques to enhance my pieces.

If you could choose a famous person (alive or dead), who would you love to design a piece of jewellery for?
What would it be? The person I would choose would be Elizabeth Taylor. I think she had a wonderfully adventurous taste when it came to the pieces of jewellery she chose to collect and embodied style and decadence in every aspect of her life. I would have made her an elaborate “collarette” because I believe she exuded the confidence to carry off daring pieces of jewellery.

If you hadn’t become a jewellery designer/maker, which other career would you have chosen?
If I had not become a jewellery designer, I would hope to have still been designing and making objects in an alternative medium as the process of producing art is the only career path I could see myself having chosen. Probably sculpture, as it is still creating, just on a larger scale.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery and why?
I would find it very difficult to choose just one piece of jewellery. I have a broad range of taste when it comes to other jewellery designers and find aesthetic appeal in many styles and in a variety of mediums. One of the contemporary designers whose work I really like is Hattie Rickards. Her pieces are always fun and very colourful. I especially like her kinetic range of rings which include The Revolver Ring and The Rubix Ring.

What are your plans for the future?
I aim to continue to broaden my knowledge by learning more new and existing techniques and focus on developing my understanding of designing as a whole. I want to continue to design and create items of jewellery that excite and inspire not only me but the people that they have been made for. Anne Walker, Carol Docherty and Paula Sloan, watch these girls, they are going to make their mark in the jewellery industry. Their work is currently available at Rockcandy Gallery, Edinburgh.

Images thanks to:

Anne Walker
Carol Docherty
Paula Sloan
Rockcandy Gallery


About Author

Jewellery designer and Silversmith based in Edinburgh. I create bespoke, one off Jewellery pieces in silver and gold, as well as bronze, copper and brass. Many of them are set with diamonds, pearls or unusual precious and semi precious stones. I love the idea that every individual piece is unique, which makes it even more special for the person who wears it. Inspiration for my work comes from art, nature, conversations and chance.

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