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No marketing, no mass production; Northern Island-raised, Edinburgh-based jewellery designer Grainne Morton fuses found objects and personal memories to create an enchanting narrative that’s all her own
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Grainne Morton Grainne Morton

Beauty by Design: Grainne Morton

No marketing, no mass production; Northern Island-raised, Edinburgh-based jewellery designer Grainne Morton fuses found objects and personal memories to create an enchanting narrative that’s all her own
Read more
Grainne Morton
Beauty by Design

Grainne Morton

No marketing, no mass production; Northern Island-raised, Edinburgh-based jewellery designer Grainne Morton fuses found objects and personal memories to create an enchanting narrative that’s all her own

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Grainne Morton’s jewellery pieces are free-wheeling visual poems, each one layered with found objects, spontaneously spun into a compelling narrative. Morton, who now lives in Edinburgh, is undoubtedly an adept storyteller – and her own begins in a market town near Northern Island’s Causeway coast: “My favourite spot to visit was Ballintoy Harbour. I was obsessed with this bizarre house that was being built.”

The house, known as Bendhu, was owned by Cornish artist, Newton Penprase. Much to the disbelief of locals and the annoyance of local authorities, he worked on it for over 40 years, bringing in bizarre objects and switching up the design as he went along: “The house changed very slowly over the years. There was a lot of local chatter, but I always thought what he was doing was wonderful.”

Being sensitive makes all your senses more enhanced – touch, smell, sight. I definitely get excited by the smallest detail.

Penprase died before Bendhu was completed, but Morton has held on to the artist’s defiant attitude and relentless creative drive: “I have always had this innate feeling to non-conform…I have very much taken my own path as a designer and maker. In terms of the business, I have decided to remain incredibly independent as a brand, to ensure that none of what makes my work unique is lost.” For Morton, treading her own path means she has “never paid for any marketing” and has “avoided doing the conventional shows” – quite a feat in the current marketplace.

In fact, Morton was hard to find. Our jewellery buyer stumbled upon her by chance whilst trawling the internet for Victorian charms – and was instantly struck by the designer’s ability to create a dialogue between old and new: “I couldn’t resist the way she so beautifully mixes antique and new to create modern but still whimsical pieces… When I met Grainne in person I loved her jewellery even more – she is the spirit and essence of her designs.”

An avid collector, Morton has an extraordinary ability to find beauty in the unexpected and intrigue in the norm - something she attributes to her natural sensitivity: “Being sensitive makes all your senses more enhanced – touch, smell, sight. I definitely get excited by the smallest detail – but I like that.” We like it too.

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