Meet the Maker
If Grainne Morton was to have a spirit animal, no doubt it would be the magpie. Instinctively and obsessively drawn to collecting and hoarding anything miniature or precious that catches her eye, many things you or I would overlook, Grainne has amassed an incredible collection of objects – all destined to find their place among the tales she weaves within her jewelled compositions.
Born and raised in Northern Ireland, by creative and antique-loving parents, Grainne was immersed in and surrounded by the traditional Crafts, Folklore, Music and Fairy Tales of the country. Perhaps it’s this beginning to her story that has now imbued her work with it’s somewhat contradictory nature? All at once vintage and contemporary, precious and non-precious, spontaneous and ordered, junk and treasure… this could well be a description of Grainne’s motherland, itself.
Her individuality, and the expression of that – primarily through clothes, style and the considered presentation of [her]self – is engrained in each piece of jewellery she makes. Each piece, carefully choreographed, the arranging and re-arranging of little objects, and precious things, moved and re-placed until they establish a relationship to each other. And tell a story to the viewer.
Moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, in the late eighties to study at Edinburgh College of Art was the jump off point for Grainne to become an avid collector of antiques and ephemera. When her parents visited her in Edinburgh, they would go on antique-buying trips for their shop at home in Northern Ireland, and Grainne would tag along. Her collections became her inspiration, and her inspiration became her work.
This use of unexpected, and delightfully juxtaposed, materials is where it all started, and over 20 years later, is now firmly her trademark.
Grainne’s work has been exhibited internationally and, in 2007, she was shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize.
For a full list of current stockists, please visit our stockist page.
Grainne lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children and thousands of tiny little objects.
For objects so small, jewellery tends to have a rather large part to play in people’s lives… be it an engagement ring, a gift, or a special sentimental piece that captures something you didn’t know was missing. It’s an evocative, tiny world of possibilities that Grainne creates within her pieces, and her compositions, that’s so alluring… you may be drawn to a particular precious gem, to the mythology of the ‘all seeing eye’ or the symbolism of an open palm, a moon, a lady-bird, a tiny piece of coral or perhaps a simple button. Grainne may be telling her story, but the true story begins when the jewellery ends up with the wearer, and you imprint your story and your interpretation in to the heirloom.
Painstakingly crafted, each and every object Grainne places in to her compositions are delicately set by hand in silver… each casing measured, carefully, for a snug fit, soldered, pierced and polished, before placing in the tiny object, and rubbing the metal over to secure. Often plated with 18ct gold, or oxidised to highlight the enclosed jewels, the pieces finally end up all around the world.
Grainne has a collection of jewellery available to order online in her shop, as well as a collection of one-off bespoke designs (often featuring extra special tiny collections, that can’t be repeated) which are available for sale in the galleries & shops that stock her work, and some that are available for sale here, too.
Grainne enjoys working to commission, so if you have something in mind, or have missed out on a piece before and would like to work together to make something similar, she is always happy to discuss creating a Tiny Collection, just for you.
Photography by Caro Weiss.