Jewellery designer on a fantastic 2012 and plans to move on from cogs.
Clarice Price Thomas well and truly exploded on the jewellery scene in 2012 with her horological jewels winning her fans, competitions and accolades, including a place as an IJL NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. She talks to us about a fantastic launch year, designing without training and plans to move on from cogs.
Professional Jeweller: Today is the last day of 2012, which has been a pretty special year for you. What have been the highs?
Clarice Price Thomas: I’ve had so many amazing highlights this year. Winning EC One last November  gave me a wonderful boost into 2012, and from there I won the Professional Jeweller Treasure competition, got awarded the EG Studio award for innovation from Elizabeth Galton, was accepted as one of 10 up-and-coming jewellery designers to exhibit at IJL as part of their Kickstart scheme, won the IJL Editor’s Choice award for Technical Excellence and much more. A big high for me was when I moved into my own lovely little workshop in Hatton Garden with friend and jewellery designer Myia Bonner where we both work from. Also getting my debut collection ready to sell, and my online store built was a great moment.
PJ: That is a lot of highs. Any lows?
CPT: I haven’t come across any challenges along the way as everything has been part of a natural progression to set up my business.
PJ: You have a strong design story with the horology influences that shape your jewellery. Do you think you’ll move beyond this design story or will it always be your signature style?
CPT: I hope that my debut collection, which is inspired by the mechanisms inside watches and clocks, will remain my signature style and pieces that I’ll become known for. However, I do have lots of exciting designs in the pipeline which are not horology related, but will still use [horology] machinery to continue the crisp and clean aesthetic that my debut collection possesses.
PJ: You’ve had no formal training in jewellery. Do you think this has helped or hindered you at any stage?
CPT: I think in lots of ways it has helped me have the freedom to design pieces that I want to, as I have never had to conform to certain briefs or be influenced by tutors. I’ve also had the chance to work with unorthodox machines and tools in my [watchmaker] father’s workshop. I sometimes think that perhaps it would’ve been nice to have the time studying at university to develop myself but I think I’ve been lucky in winning the EC One Unsigned as it gave me the support, help and advice that I didn’t get from attending university.
PJ: How did winning the Professional Jeweller Treasure competition affect your business?
CPT: Winning a stand at Treasure was an amazing opportunity for me, having never exhibited my work before. It gave me the invaluable chance to meet customers and industry individuals first hand to show them my debut collection. I have had a flurry of interest since through my online store and website with lots of direct sales, which has been fantastic. Exhibiting also gave me a lot of confidence not only in myself but also in my work.
PJ: As you’ve mentioned, you also won the EC One competition in 2011. It seems as though this gave your business a great boost.
CPT: From winning the Unsigned Competition I received an incredible amount of support and help from [EC One founders] Jos and Alison [Skeates], and everyone else at EC One. It gave me an amazing amount of recognition and press within the jewellery industry which I think helped when I came to apply for subsequent awards and competitions. It really kickstarted my business and helped me get a long way in a short amount of time.
PJ: Tell us a bit about your approach to work.
CPT: I approach my work in a methodical and precise manner and I hope that reflects in the work that I produce. I tend to set myself To Do lists and deadlines for things which I slowly work my way through. In terms of designing I spend lots of time researching areas of interest and draws lots of get the ideas flowing. I use my father’s lathe and milling machines to create my work.
PJ: Has running your own company killed your social life? Or do you manage to take time to relax?
CPT: I allocate time for my work and time for my social life, but running a business is a very time consuming thing to do so I never quite manage to forget about it completely. I love to spend time at museums and art galleries to constantly keep my inspiration topped up. I grew up in Norfolk, right by the seaside, so I often pop back on weekends to spend time with my family and get some sea air.
PJ: How are you going to follow the successes of 2012 in 2013?
CPT: I would like to expand my stockists both nationally and internationally and develop a wider public awareness of my brand. I hope along the way I’ll be able to exhibit at more trade and public events, to gain more direct customers as well as keep my foot firmly in the industry side. I will also be slowly working towards another collection which I hope to launch next year.