An Interview With William Llewellyn Griffiths: Talking All Things Design
To coincide with his latest exhibition, The Devil's In The Detail, we visited William Llewellyn Griffiths at his Melbourne studio to discuss his design inspiration and fabrication process of this dynamic new collection.
PO8: Tell us about the inspiration for this latest body of work?
WLG: I just decided to make a little collection - I mean, this is what I always do anyway - but I thought, 'I will make this exhibition for Pieces of Eight, and I’ll make it about my recent trip to Italy.'
Inspiration came from seeing all the different shapes of anything and everything throughout Italy: door handles, chair legs, table legs; even architecture, embellishments on buildings… all sorts of places.
I was inspired by the way each shape was worked into another shape. I'm talking about the transition of one shape into another; I really like that sort of thing. Sometimes I do that with my jewellery, putting something that’s a curved shape on the side of a ring.
PO8: You've titled the show 'The Devil’s in the Detail' - tell us a bit about the making of these works; how are you able to get so much detail?
WLG: I 3D print these architectural forms into wax, and I also 3D scan things with a 3D scanner, meaning I can shrink them down. With this process you can edit them as well; for instance, you can get two different shapes and join them together, or make one of them smaller, or stretch it longer, and I do this by melting the wax.
Quite often I make little components for some piece that I like, so I’ll make them in metal and then I’ll make a mold of it. From here, I’ll have waxes made from the mold, then I can melt all those pieces of wax together and have it cast in metal. So this is a way of building upon components, or distorting them, or adding further details for future pieces.
I’m so particular about detail. I think a lot of jewellery today is very plain, and I think people do the opposite of what I’m doing. And that’s all good, but I really love making some weird little detail hidden amongst pieces, that someone might not see as soon as they pick it up.
PO8: How does your jewellery flow from inspiration to final product?
WLG: I think it just all goes into my head, and I think about things, and ruminate on them. Sometimes it starts with gemstones. Quite often I’ll see a really nice gemstone and I’ll just want to work with that, and work with the shapes of that gem as a starting point.
Other times I might see something like a tombstone, but it’s shaped a bit like a gemstone. I take note of the little things that are holding the tombstone up, then I’ll want to make them smaller and put them on a ring.
It’s about scaling things; taking something and re-scaling it into something miniature and wearable. I’m also very particular about the shapes; that they’re going to look nice and they’re going to work well together.
PO8: Do you draw or design on paper? Or do you prefer to make in metal and create adjustments along the way?
WLG: I start with a vision in my head, where I can see a three dimensional image of what I want to make. I usually just roughly sketch out the idea, so that when I see that picture again, I’ll have that image pop into my head – so I don’t lose the idea. This is because when I’m on a roll, I just have so many ideas coming to me.
So when I come back from overseas, I can get these pictures out and look at them all - they’re usually on the same scrap of paper, like the back of a menu or something. I have lots of weird little sketches scattered all around my workshop.
Thank you William for taking the time to explain these incredibly intricate and sculptural works to us. Visit his artist page to see the full collection.