Kate McLaughlin / Align Jewellery

“I strive to create work that is simple and uncluttered; my jewellery is minimal in design and features strong, striking geometry. I hope that my architectural background and influence is evident in my work.”

“I studied architecture at Edinburgh College of art and during my architecture career completed a summer school course in jewellery at Leith School of Art. This course ignited a spark and I have been learning, advancing my skills and exploring the concept of wearable art ever since.”

Kate McLaughlin

Jewellery designer / maker.

Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art.

Jewellery: various short courses.

Statement

“I design and make minimal statement jewellery, drawing influences from my architectural background. I primarily work in sterling silver and hand-make pieces in my own studio.

I studied architecture at Edinburgh College of art and during my architecture career completed a summer school course in jewellery at Leith School of Art. This course ignited a spark and I have been learning, advancing my skills and exploring the concept of wearable art ever since.

My current designs reflect on the importance of acknowledging both my architectural design training and my craft of metal working and jewellery, as well as the impact that they have on each other. The naming of my practice as Align Jewellery is a reference to this aligning of both strands of my creative journey. By bringing balance and a holistic approach to my practice, I hope to fully satisfy my own creative needs as well as raising the level of innovation in my work and present a true and honest reflection of myself to my audience.

This evolution of my creative practice has seen me introduce new methods to my jewellery design, and draw from my architectural skill set, including using 3D modelling and printing as a tool in the design process.

There are recurring themes in my designs: I am drawn to volumes – and the spaces and voids within them; capturing a miniature space within a piece of jewellery and claiming it as part of the whole.

Collectively my work is a selection of bold, minimal and simple jewellery. These are pared-back statements that are open to interpretation in how they are worn and styled.

I strive to create work that is simple and uncluttered; my jewellery is minimal in design and features strong, striking geometry. I hope that my architectural background and influence is evident in my work.

Currently in my designs I am searching for a balance between intriguing forms and simplicity of expression; pieces that can be both understated while still having something to say.”

Materials and Techniques

“I work primarily in sterling silver, occasionally including gold and semi-precious stones. The techniques I use in making are traditional handmaking techniques, working with hand tools in my own studio in Perth. I enjoying being able to bring my architectural skills and tools into my jewellery practice and have been exploring the use of 3D modelling and printing in the design process as well as a tool to achieve forms that I would not be able to construct by hand.”

Awards, Exhibitions and News

“I am currently developing a new collection, based on interlinking chain like pieces; these have been developed using 3D printing technology and is funded through a VACMA grant.

My designs are now available through Perthshire Artisans, and are currently exhibited at the MADE winter showcase at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.”

Lockdown

“During lockdown my creativity and my productivity in my jewellery practiced wavered greatly. I imagine I shared this experience with lots of creatives and tried to ride the waves of motivation and inspiration when they arrived rather than fighting the fact that they were often very noticeably absent.

I found myself drawn to simple, easier to make designs. Pieces that can be started and completed in one sitting. I felt that these short bursts of creative productivity were satisfying and more achievable than time spend on more complex and involved projects. I did very little sketch book designing, instead making design decisions as I was making – which produced both successes and pieces which are no more than 3D doodles. In hindsight my lockdown creativity involved not a lot thinking and a huge amount of following my gut instinct.”