Jewellery designer Sia Taylor is a rare breed of artisan. Combining classical Fine Arts training with a holistic and sensitive approach, her designs evoke an old-world craftsmanship rarely found in modern design. After completing her studies at Newcastle University followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art – Taylor went to live in Africa, producing her first collection on a workbench under the shade of a Thorn tree in the Botswanan bush. Having become fascinated and inspired by the natural forms and creatures in the African landscape, she soon realised her years of fine arts study had found their rightful direction in jewellery design. Following a decade in Ibiza, where she built her business further, the British designer is again home, having set up studio in Somerset, painstakingly turning out collections, one piece at a time.
The evidence of her early study can be seen in the sculptural approach Taylor employs, and in her insistence on the meticulous hand forging and soldering process, which she does entirely by herself. Taylor explains, ‘every piece has to have a soul; I could never have it produced for me’; this labour-intensive process bestows each piece with artful integrity, a testament to the natural progression between her first love – sculpture – and the more intimate process of jewellery-making that’s made her such a name in the world of design.
A restrained use of materials including only yellow, white and red gold, silver and black silver, ruthenium and rhodium allows the detail to tell the ‘story’ of each piece, and it follows that the palette has a similar uniformity of only fine metals. Unique juxtapositions underpin the collections: her designs are as folksy as they are fine, feminine as they are traditional, minimal as they are soulful… This forging of principles allows a unique design voice to emerge, one that doesn’t shout to be powerful. Understatement and quality is key to the Sia Taylor look.
Informed by a hands-on approach, Taylor’s designs are imbued with a natural sensuality, and pay homage to the exotic global travels of the designer. The label was originally founded with a deep reverence for the irregularity of the natural world; tiny seeds in flowers, insect larvae and eggs, grasses and leaves; a macroscopic look into an intimate place of quiet contemplation and fairytale. These days, walks around her property inspire themes for her work: a tiny beetle, an injured crow, a skeleton of a leaf, an encounter with a fox… everyday wonders provide the inspiration that informs Taylor’s approach to design.
A timeless feel means the pieces are intended as ‘lifetime’ possessions, not enslaved by seasonal whimsy or glitzy status, these are pieces to own and love, and to wear every day. A growing swathe of fashion-forward and artsy customers are buying into the Sia Taylor aesthetic, stocking up and collecting pieces, often worn all together for a quiet, yet directional and ‘luxury bohemian’ feel.