For those who love plastic
Brendan Fan and Ruth Williams are the creative geniuses behind I Am Acrylic. The pair met in 1999 at Winchester School of Art while studying fine art. A year later they moved to London where they got jobs, made some art and put on some exhibitions. In 2004 the duo found some acrylic. Brendan made a key ring for Ruth using the fretsaw they had borrowed from Ruth’s dad and by Christmas that year, they started to sell jewellery in Magma. Between 2005 and 2012 Brendan had developed more designs for the label (usually testing them as gifts for Ruth) and found more stockists. In 2011 Ruth joined Brendan at I Am Acrylic, and the pair have a regular market stall at Sunday Upmarket off Brick Lane.
Brendan and Ruth individually hand-cut and hand-finish each item, filing and sanding each edge, before carefully piecing them together. They love to keep old-fashioned techniques alive and believe that is what keeps each item totally unique. What’s more surprising is that they don’t just use acrylic. At the moment they also use plywood, aluminium and felt too!
When reflecting on what inspired the latest collection, Ruth said: “The way we work is a bit like Mallet’s Mallet. Thoughts and ideas are shouted at each other until something resonates. A lot of these ideas will end up on the cutting room floor, but some get developed into final designs. For example, Our Mouse & Cheese Necklace began life when we were sharing a packet of cheese & onion crisps!”
I Am Acrylic’s pieces are so cute and individual and some of them have an almost hand-drawn quality to them. This Rocket and Flame brooch and the Wooden Saturn necklace look like they’ve come to life from a children’s story book.
If you’re going to buy one piece though, it has to be this Bucket and Spade necklace. The summer may be over, but this necklace will remind you of childhood summers all year round.
So in future, if someone offers you a piece of plastic jewellery, think again! Check out I Am Acrylic’s gems here!