Biography of Artist Melanie Muir
Melanie Muir is based in Nairn, Scotland, and creates jewellery entirely by hand, using a process of her own invention (inspired by the Japanese metalworking technique, “mokume gane”), involving veneers of polymer and several stages of firing.
Melanie has an Honours Degree in Design from Glasgow School of Art, but spent many years working in retail in London and in PR and Marketing (in Australia). On her return to Scotland in the mid nineties, she owned an antiques shop and then became a professional china restorer before returning to a more directly creative path, with the launch of her jewellery range in 2008.
She was introduced to polymer clay in 2006, and was instantly taken with its qualities as a medium, including the ability to work directly with colour. It is essentially a simple material to use, yet the range of techniques possible with it are extraordinary. Melanie is largely self taught, but owes a huge debt to the wonderfully generous teachers of courses she has attended, and her fellow students.
In Melanie's work, base shapes are moulded and fired, then decorative veneers are applied and the pieces are “wrapped” from behind in another plain layer of clay. Once the final firing is complete, the pieces then go through many levels of fine sanding and buffing to create a lacquer-like finish on the clay itself. No varnish is used. The end result is a beautiful yet practical and robust item. Her work is represented in many galleries and is in the collections of private individuals worldwide. She is a Silver Medallist in the Craft & Design UK Awards and recently was awarded First and Second Prize in the polymer category at the International Bead Dreams 2012 Competition.
“I am constantly inspired by the colours, shapes and patterns that surround me in the Highland landscape and by semi precious stones such as agate and jasper. My jewellery is deceptively simple in form, but the creation and application of pattern is critical. My simple wish is to make original, colourful jewellery which is so different and beautiful that it speaks to someone else and inspires them to purchase and wear my work. Every piece I make is completely unique and I hope my clients experience pleasure each time they wear my jewellery.” Her range includes necklaces, pendants, earrings and a wide variety of cuff bracelets.
1961 Born Bannockburn, Scotland
1966 - 1973 Primary Schools (Scotland, Iraq, Guyana)
1973 - 1979 Inverness High School, Inverness, Scotland
Five Highers; Four ‘O’ Grades
1979 - 1983 BA Honours Degree in Design, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
2007 - present Owner/Director Melanie Muir Jewellery Design
AWARDS: Silver Medal in the UK Craft & Design “Selected” Awards 2010.
Work subsequently displayed in Winners' Exhibition at Ferrers Gallery, Leicestershire 2011.
Scottish Arts Council/Hi Arts Maker's Award to attend “Synergy” conference in USA 2010.
Scottish Arts Council/Hi Arts Maker's Award to attend Masterclass in USA 2011
Aviemore Gallery, Inverdruie, Aviemore, Scotland
Appendage Gallery, Brighton, England
Castle Gallery, Inverness, Scotland
Dancing Light Gallery, West Linton, Edinburgh, Scotland
Ebbing Tide at Neil's Gallery, Filey, North Yorkshire, England
Gowan Gallery, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England
Jesse Young, Troon, Scotland
Jewellery Box, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, England
Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Moray Arts Centre, Findhorn, Scotland
McHardy's Art, Biggiesknowe, Peebles, Scotland
Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Pitlochry, Scotland
Polka Dot Gallery, Taunton, Somerset
Room 15 Gallery, Oban, Scotland
West Neuk Gallery, Forfar, Scotland
Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, England cont../2
Contemporary Crafts Fair Bovey Tracey, Devon 2012
“Selected” Winners' Show, Ferrer's Gallery, Leicestershire 2011
“Objects of Desire” Chapel Gallery, Lancashire 2011
Craft Central, London 2011
Solo Artist, Howden Park Centre, West Lothian 2011
Solo Artist, Moray Arts Centre, Findhorn, Scotland 2010/2011
Solo Artist, Timespan Centre, Helmsdale, Scotland 2010
Synergy Gallery (International Polymer Clay Conference Baltimore USA 2008 and 2010)
British Craft Trade Fair 2009/2010/2011/2012
Highlands Open Studios 2007/2008
Eden Court Theatre Group Exhibition 2008
Aviemore Trade Fair 2008/2009/2010
Nairn Book & Arts Festival 2007
Craft & Design Magazine “Selected” Winners' Feature Nov/Dec 2010
Artmag Oct/Nov 2010
Craft & Design Magazine; full colour three page editorial feature on me and my work Mar/April 2010.
Craft & Design Magazine; author of “A View Across The Pond” investigative article on the differences between the American and UK craft scenes, May/June 2010.
Craft & Design Magazine; full colour one page profile as “Selected” Winner, Nov/Dec 2010
Featured on a variety of international blogs and websites, including Card & Gift, Secret Life of Jewellery, Polymer Clay Daily, Craftscotland, HiArts, Artmag, Carrotbox.
2003 - 2007 Self Employed China Restorer
2001 - 2001 Consultant to Designmill Advertising Agency, Inverness
1997 - 2003 Owner, Moray Antiques & Fine Crafts (shop), Nairn, Scotland
1996 - 1997 Self Employed Marketing Communications Consultant, Scotland
1993 - 1996 Owner/Director, Melanie Muir Marketing Communications Ltd, (PR/Marketing Consultancy) Brisbane, Australia
1990 - 1993 Marketing Communications Manager, Hyatt Regency Coolum International Resort, Queensland, Australia
1988 - 1990 Marketing Manager, Wintergarden Shopping Centre, Brisbane, Australia
1987 - 1988 Sales & Marketing Executive, McDonnell & East Department Store, Brisbane, Australia
1984 - 1987 Directrice, Tan Guidicelli Couture, London
1983 - 1984 Manager, Yves Saint Laurent boutique, London