12th March 2020
Our 2020 Cockpit Effect Impact Report features a series of case studies to illustrate the diversity of makers, their practices and business journeys at Cockpit Arts. Over the coming weeks we’ll share these with you.
Jewellery designer Meron Wolde combines dramatic textures and contours with simple shapes and materials, drawing on her upbringing in Sweden and her Eritrean roots
As a self-taught practitioner, Meron Wolde is an anomaly among Cockpit residents, most of whom learned their craft at university. The metal artist and jewellery designer, who works with recycled gold and silver, has developed her skills and style through a combination of hands-on experience and personal inspiration. Her pieces combine dramatic textures and contours with simple shapes and materials, drawing on both her upbringing in Sweden and her Eritrean roots. “I have been fortunate to grow up with two cultures, which have inspired me to delve deep into the cultural heritage of the world,” she says. Her interest in jewellery was ignited by childhood visits to her uncle’s goldsmithing workshop in Asmara, and solidified while she worked at ethnographic and contemporary art galleries in London, encountering a range of ancient and tribal jewellery – she continues to mend and restore metal jewellery today.
In 2018 Wolde secured the Arts Society Award for a two-year-funded studio space at Cockpit Arts. Propelled through its business incubation programme, she received individualised training in marketing and pricing her work and general business practice, gaining confidence and making contacts in the process. “I cannot stress how important Cockpit’s support has been, allowing me access to a vast network of leading artist-makers and funding that has allowed me creative freedom.”
Cockpit’s open studios have brought her new audiences, and she’s increasingly gaining a profile beyond its walls. Nonetheless, she hopes to remain at the studios permanently. “I see our partnership as an extension of my business and a statement of belief in promoting craft, community, and collaboration.”
Photos: Alun Callender and Jamie Trounce