Hannah Martin — Interview
Interview with Hannah Martin, founder and creative director of Hannah Martin London.
Tiffany Bähler: Hello Hannah, how are you?
Hannah Martin: Great! Thanks.
TB: Can you introduce yourself?
HM: I’m Hannah Martin. I’m the founder and creative director of Hannah Martin London – a British fine jewellery house that creates jewels for men and women.
TB: Where does your interest in jewellery come from?
HM: I went to art school thinking I wanted to be a sculptor, then spent a week in the jewellery department and completely fell in love. For me jewellery is the perfect balance between the freedom and creativity of fine art with the added discipline of a design sensibility. You can be as creative as you like but jewellery must work with the human body. I was seduced by the materials, the craftsmanship involved and the very human touch of jewellery.
TB: There is a strong story behind each of your collections, where do your inspirations come from?
HM: I work in a very narrative way when I design. The first thing I do is to develop a “muse”, who becomes the thread that holds all my inspiration together throughout the process.
This muse is a character I build up through visual research, usually inspired from anything that is exciting me at the moment. I constantly research – through films, music, books, art, performance – anything that surrounds me and excites me really. Once the seed of an idea has begun, this muse character starts to form. The character is always male, and I develop a whole world around him – it is from this that I start to design the pieces themselves.
So in answer to the question – the inspiration can really come from anywhere. I try to keep a completely open mind and open eyes at all times.
TB: What is your favourite piece from your collections?
HM: This is an impossible question to answer – it’s a bit like having to choose a favourite child! There are three rings I wear everyday and have become like talisman to me. The Eagle Gun Icon Ring, the Imperial Eagle Ring and the Orbit Super Size Ring. They act a bit like my armour – I love the weight of them, and the touch of them on my skin, and they’ve been through a lot with me. I feel naked without them.
TB: How do you feel about the current jewellery scene in London?
HM: It has been interesting to watch it blossom over the 11 years or more I’ve been working professionally as a jeweller. There are a lot more jewellery brands growing out of London, which is exciting. On the other hand, the craftsmanship side of the business is struggling, which is very sad. High rents, high cost of living and the fact that many companies are choosing to make work abroad rather than work with our craftsmen here, means that the industry is in danger of diminishing. We need to find the right balance between the innovative and creative designers that are growing in number, and the amazing craftsmen who need our support as an industry.
TB: Is there a book which opened your eyes about jewellery or design in general?
HM: It’s not really a book but – my discovery of The Face magazine when I first arrived in London and started art school was a revelation to me. I bought and read it religiously and it opened my mind to a whole world I had not been aware of before.