Jewellery designer, campaigner, a world changer and collaborator.
By Steve Spear
Pippa Small is so much more than a jeweller. She is also a campaigner, a world changer, arch collaborator and an emancipator of many a marginalised creative. Because of all that she is also now an MBE.
“It has been a wonderful year; my twins Mac and Madeleine were born a year ago, and I was awarded an MBE for ethical jewellery and charity work, which was such a huge honour and incredible recognition. Working in Afghanistan with Turquoise Mountain has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.”
The Turquoise Mountain initiative has occupied Pippa’s time over the past seven years, and this year two collections made there have gone into the high street fashion retailer Monsoon. “Making hundreds of pieces for Monsoon has meant there has been plenty of work for the workshop in Kabul, as well as raising awareness about their work.”
Aside from Mac and Madeleine, she cites the Afghanistan work as her proudest achievement to date but it is by no means her only one. Just this year she also created two collections in India, began plotting a project in Burma and took part in the Chelsea Flower Show with a seriously pink installation.
She is the sort of person that you would love to spend a few weeks with, joining in as she struggles through airports with her year-old twins, and along little trod paths to Afghanistan and beyond.
All of this globetrotting is apropos of anthropology, her first discipline, which led her to work with local NGOs in Southeast Asia looking into human rights and environmental issues. “When I started to make jewellery in a more commercial way I realised there was potential to go back and work with some of the same communities in terms of income-generating projects. Looking at craft, jewellery making and helping to design, keeping an eye on traditional designs, historical traditions, local materials, helping to open markets – I combine those projects, which are my loves.”
All of her achievements are so much more impressive for the fact that beneath it all she says she is cripplingly shy. It is her curiosity and courage that helps her to overcome that initial feeling, and good job too because in the next year she is looking to open a shop in New York and to rack up many more air miles besides, working in Chile with the Mapuche, on a new Fairtrade gold collection in Bolivia, and going to Paris with showroom Rainbow Wave for Fashion Week.
This Hot 100 Tresor Paris Trendsetter profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the digital book in full, click here.