We spoke to local jewellery designer, Sheila Jardine and found out about her experience as designer of the popular Rennie Mackintosh Collection as well as the inspiration behind her whimsical new jewellery collections for Folly & Desire.
How long have you lived in Edinburgh?
I came to Edinburgh as a student in 1982 and apart from a couple of years living in Glasgow and Paris, have been here ever since.
Tell me more about your degree in Jewellery & Silversmithing at ECA:
Back then, jewellery and silversmithing at ECA was very hands-on. The majority of the time was spent at the bench hammering, soldering, filing and setting stones. I always wanted to produce wearable jewellery so was keen to learn traditional techniques that could be applied to modern manufacturing.
You have extensive experience in the field of jewellery. What has been your career highlight?
I’ve been very lucky. In terms of commercial success, the highlight came early on when I designed and produced the Rennie Mackintosh Collection which sold in vast quantities and became hugely popular. Perhaps more personally gratifying was when my own company, Partisan became a commercial success. I enjoyed building and growing it before selling the business and moving to France. My favourite job was working as Head Designer for Kit Heath in London and at their base in Devon.
Your brand has a quirky name – what made you opt for ‘Folly & Desire’?
I chose Folly and Desire as a pastiche on a traditional, stuffy lawyer’s name. My products are designed to be engaging and whimsical and to appeal to all ages.
What is your favourite piece in your collection and why?
I’m really happy with my new range, the Wee Collection, especially the little Scotty dog necklace. It represents my logo, Scotland and reminds me of my own terrier Billy Boo who is a frequent loafer in the office.
You pride yourself on creating designer artisan gifts. Do you think there has been in surge in popularity of gifts that aren’t available on the high street, and if so, why do you think that is?
No one is proud to boast they are wearing cheap, mass-produced fashion because we all know the conditions under which it is produced. Instead we’re all striving for authenticity these days and searching for something unique and fairly manufactured with a story to tell. Just as people want to eat local, they also want to shop and buy local when it comes to gifts.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love and find terrifying in equal measure is coming up with an idea and then translating that into a product that will appeal to my customers at the right price and with the right packaging to ensure they will want to buy it for themselves or as a gift.
What can we expect from future Folly & Desire collections?
My plan is to produce more quirky, desirable objects at an attractive price and all designed and made here in Scotland.