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Take Five with Poppy Porter

Photos by Thomas Lisle Brooker

Poppy Porter is a jeweller who makes "unconventional jewellery for independent spirits with strong tastes and adventurous hearts". Her work is inspired by her love of music as channelled though her synaesthesia, which takes the form of seeing sound. Her jewellery is full of movement, texture and colour and is perfect for those who want work which is bold and totally individual. (I own a ring Poppy designed and made, which always attracts admiring comments!) She also writes a fabulous blog and it is well worth signing up to her newsletter which gives you regular bursts of colour in your inbox, along with insights into her process and relationship with music.   

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

For me satisfaction comes in what I call the process of realised creation, I'm a jeweller I make unconventional silver jewellery inspired by the sound of a distorted rock guitar. How do I do that? I have a neurological trait called synaesthesia which allows me to see music as shape, colour and movement. I channel the energy and emotion of music through my synaesthesia to make jewellery for independent spirits with strong tastes and adventurous hearts. I love jewellery, making it, wearing it and matching what I make with the right woman to wear it. It is not just the creation of the jewellery that is so satisfying (and I have to say making treasure for a living is fantastic) when people wear jewellery it lives, the story of a piece of jewellery is more in the wearing than the making.

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Now there's a question there are so many inspirational creatives out there! All my creative heroes are musicians as it is their music that directly inspires my work. Who to pick? Solo bassist and improviser Steve Lawson would be a contender, he and I work on a live art project called Illuminated Loops, he plays, and I draw what he plays on long rolls of paper which he then uses as a visual score to improvise more. It's an incredible project. However, if we are talking heroes that suggests a different kind of relationship, a distant rather than a collaborative one. So I am going to pick a member of the band Muse. An appropriate name, every artist needs a muse. In the end, I am going to have to go for Matt Bellamy, the guitarist, singer and songwriter of Muse. It is his guitar playing that has found its way into my jewellery, his music has gone beyond obsession and has become part of the architecture of my mind. My synaesthetic reaction to his guitar playing forms the focus and inspiration for my Guitar Distortion jewellery.

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Should is the most dangerous word in the English language. It takes time, patience and a lot of hard work to find your voice and find your audience, do whatever you have to give yourself time and space to explore that. The best expression of this I've heard is from Chase Reeves of the Fizzle Show Podcast. "Don't should all over yourself."

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Do something else and let it brew, an idea will come to you. Go for a walk, anything but sit there trying to screw an idea out. I spend a considerable amount of time listening to music, the flow and rhythm of it and the visuals it creates for me is usually enough to get me where I need to be going.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

I recently bought a pair of Tor boots from shoemaker Carré Ducker in Cockpit Arts; they are the perfect pair of workshop boots, beautifully made in tan leather with felt lining. My friend said to me as I tried them on "...your soul looks at home in those." (No pun intended!) They look good, are strong, resilient and practical like me naturally


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