If you’re a regular at the gallery you’re undoubtedly familiar with Séamus Gill’s gorgeous jewellery. His unique designs are recognisable by his signature sculptural style, often balancing a highly polished section against a subtle texture and finishing his work with rich 22k yellow gold plating. His elegant contemporary jewellery remains immensely popular with DesignYard customers. Continue reading to find out more about his beautiful work.
About Seamus Gill
Based in Dublin, Seamus Gill is a silversmith and metal artist. He has the unique qualities of being a highly skilled silversmith and a sensitive designer allowing him to create exceptional pieces of silversmithing.
Seamus originally trained as a silversmith and later graduated from the NCAD. Finding that he could also use the skills on a small scale he gradually moved into designing and making jewellery. He shapes his jewellery pieces with hammers and anvils, just as he would a bowl or sculpture.
Seamus on Inspiration
My inspiration comes from trying to capture the essence of the material and the traditional techniques of working. There’s so much you can do with silver, and I’m always discovering new ideas with it.
The one thing that really influences me is the early Bronze Age work in the National Museum. We’ve got one of the best collections of this work in the world here on our doorstep. Every two months or so, I drop in to admire the work.
Seamus on Flowing Curves
My Flowing Curves pieces start from a flat sheet of silver, which I coax into two opposing curves – a specific technique called anticlastic raising. The saddle like form of the anticlastic raising adds a wonderful sculptural dimension to the jewellery and makes it very comfortable to wear.
It is a technique that was lost and we have had to reinvent through research, trial and error in collaboration with other Irish, Finnish and US-based silversmiths. Curiously we think bronze-age man must have made their anti-clastic forms using rocks for a hammer and most likely deer’s antlers as a stake (a small curved “anvil”). They were able to achieve incredibly complex forms with these simple tools.
Seamus on Tools
My most prized possessions are my hammers, stakes and anvils: they’re my working tools. The hammers I have I’ve been using for years. Some of them belonged to silversmiths before me – they’ve been passed down through generations.
The hammers are like my paintbrushes and paint. I often adapt a hammer for a specific purpose: sometimes I grind one down to a specific shape, or I may grind a new pattern on the face of the hammer to create a specific texture. Each one is different: different weights and balance and they’re like an extension of my hand at this stage.
Seamus on Teaching
I’ve had wonderful teachers and collaborations over the years and I am very conscious of passing on my skills. There is no apprentice system in Ireland so I occasionally teach workshops.
I’ve also taught silversmithing techniques at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin and at the Crafts Council of Ireland Jewellery Skills and Design course in Kilkenny. I regularly teach weekend courses on silversmithing skills at the Irish School of Jewellery.