Fi Mehra is one of the jewellery designers currently showing at the Gallery. Her work which is hand made from silver and gold has a classic appeal but has a still retains character and is distinct in it’s style. Here Fi talks about her love of creating and how she began making jewellery.
When I get a new idea in my head, I write it down, or make a simple sketch, almost like a recipe. I love spending the day at theBritishMuseum, I always come away with ideas from there, or it can come from a commission. But once the idea is there it won’t go away until I’ve made it. I’ve never really had a lull with ideas, there’s always something buzzing around in my head. But on holiday I’m usually writing ideas and sketching. They don’t always work, but then they just end up in the scrap tin.
My workshop is very important. I listen to story tapes, or put a film on the portable DVD player (just to listen to a favourite film) while I work. I like working by myself, the time just disappears. If I’m very busy or it’s a difficult piece of work the phones are turned off, but never the stories. I like commissions; it can lead to new designs. Some of my work is made in small batches, which keeps the cost down, but I also make one offs. The wrapped wire dogs and animals are all hand made, but they go with bone and paw print ranges which are made in batches.
Being dyslexic, I never really got on at school, but then at 16 I went to jewellery evening classes, and fell in love with making jewellery; it was the first time I had truly achieved something. Then I was lucky enough to get into the Birmingham School of Jewellery where I studied Diamond Mounting. After that I had a great experience from a busy trade jewellers in Sussex.
At the moment I’m working on a new range of keys. In my sister-in-laws pub in Sussex, there are lots of big old keys hanging from the ceiling, and these have inspired the new range. I’m very lucky, making jewellery is never work, it’s a joy. The paper work which goes with it is definitely work, which I have to make myself do, or even better get other people to do!