It's Who's Who time again and this months subject is bit of an addiction for me and so we just had to find out more! I first came across I am Acrylic at the We Make London shop in Camden and now have a bit of a collection, alongside getting one of my colleagues addicted to their jewellery too!! So we just had to share the joy and so everyone can have a I am Acrylic Christmas! Not hinting, promise!
Who are you?
Hello! We are Brendan Fan and Ruth Williams - AKA - I Am Acrylic. We met whilst studying fine art at Winchester School of Art in 1999. We now live in Spitalfields, London.
What do you do?
We design and make cute and quirky jewellery, mostly made from acrylic. We like to incorporate wood, aluminium and embroidery too.
We individually hand-cut each component out on our trusty mechanical fretsaw or with our hand saw (we don't use any lasers) and then use files and wet & dry paper to clean up all of the edges, before finally piecing them together.
We also enjoy the constraints that our production methods put on our design process. We're forced to keep things fairly simple, within the realms of what is possible to hand-cut and embellish.
How did you start?
We've been making acrylic jewellery since 2004 when Brendan made me a keyring for my birthday from some acrylic we found outside our flat.
The buyer in the shop where I worked at the time, suggested we made some to sell there, so we did!
It was Brendan who then developed the range to include necklaces and brooches, and continued to grow the business over the next seven years, approaching other shops to sell in. In 2011 I left her job to join Brendan in working on I Am Acrylic full time.
Since then we've developed the range further to include rings, earrings and cufflinks and most recently little pictures. We like to call these 'Wallery' because they are like little pieces of jewellery for your wall!
We have some collaborations in the pipeline and some new designs coming very soon! We're most excited about our new Conker necklace complete with a little piece of real string!
We'd like to spend a bit more time developing and promoting the 'Wallery' range. And, well, hopefully just keep on doing what we're doing really!
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
I Am Acrylic has grown quite organically really and we've quite enjoyed just following our instincts and learning from any mistakes.
What's been really worthwhile is doing a market stall. Maybe we should have considered getting out there sooner and meeting our customers. The instant feedback is invaluable and has led to several new designs and tweaks to existing ones.
Also, in hindsight, the 70's white jumpsuit Brendan wore in 2006 and the Hawaiian number I tried in 2007 could have been best advised against!
We think that Brendan and Ruth have definitely left their dodgy fashion behind them and have a great future with I am Acrylic. You can buy from their online shop or find them at Brick Lane market, the We Make London shop and other markets throughout the year - we just saw them at Renegade. The jewelerry is really fun and would make 'dare I say it' great Christmas presents. Something really different and fun instead of the same old same old. That's if H and her friends don't buy all their stock first.
hmmm, now which one should I buy next!