Interview with Jasmine Watson
Jasmine Watson is one of New Zealand's leading contemporary and costume jewellers.
Her work features prominently in Peter Jackson's Academy Award nominated Lord of the Rings film trilogy and can be seen in the long running American television series Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: the Legendary Journeys. Jasmine Watson received a Highly Commended for her entry in the Nelson Wearable Art Awards.
As Jewellery Designer for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Jasmine Watson worked alongside Costume Designer Ngila Dickson and Conceptual Artist Alan Lee, to design and create jewellery and accessories for actors including Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler, Sir Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood and Viggo Mortensen.
Jasmine Watson was responsible for designing, researching and creating highly finished original jewellery using precious metals and gemstones for lead actors and body doubles. This required attendance during costume fittings, dressing and stand by responsibilities both on set and during photographic shoots, while also co-ordinating a team of five jewellers involved in the mass production and duplication of accessories for background extras. Also working with New York based merchandising company Noble, Jasmine Watson's designs were utilised for the manufacture and duplication of the original jewellery and accessories from The Fellowship of the Ring.
Working with Costume Designers Ngila Dickson and Jane Holland on the television series Xena, Warrior Princess, and Hercules, The Legendary Journeys, Jasmine Watson assisted with designing and creating jewellery, armour and accessories for lead characters from a wide range of materials, including repairing and maintaining the Xena copper armour costume.
Jasmine Watson graduated from Unitec School of Design, New Zealand in 1995 with a Diploma in Jewellery Design, specialising in enamelling, glass and photography. While in New Zealand, she designed and created contemporary jewellery and accessories for galleries, design stores and clothing designers.
Jasmine Watson is inspired by the jewellers of the Art Nouveau period, in particular the French designer Rene Lalique with his use of organic and flowing forms. The motifs in her jewellery are often nature inspired, with lines, shapes and textures that refer to inter woven insect wings, tendrils and plant forms.
Currently living and working in London, Jasmine Watson is designing and creating her latest range of contemporary women's jewellery that will be available in July through the QVC shopping network in the United Kingdom and America.
TheOneRing.net: How did you get into this business?
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Jasmine Watson: I began working in the film industry directly after finishing art school, making costumes and armour for Xena, Warrior Princess, and Hercules, The Legendary Journeys.
TORN: What was your first big project?
JW: That was my first television project, and LOTR was my first feature film
TORN: How did you get involved with the LOTR project?
JW: I had previously worked with the costume designer Ngila Dickson on Hercules and Xena, and was fortunate enough to be offered the position of jewellery designer/jeweller for the LOTR project
TORN: How many individual pieces did you create?
JW: I had a team of 5 people and together we created over 300 peices of jewellery, and of that about 80 were one off originals.
TORN: How did you design these pieces?
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JW: I always began by using the book as a direct reference, often the jewellery was beautifully and very specifically described by Tolkein. I was given a certain amount of backgroung information on the particular charcter by the costume desinger and the conceptual artist, ie as to what the set design would look like and how the rest of the costume would be, then it was over to me to produce the designs.
TORN: How did you go about creating these works, what's involved in physically making them?
JW: When the design had been finalised I would make a 'rough' version of it using copper, and fit this on the actor in the initial costume fitting to enable an accurate position and measurement, while also giving the costume designer, conceptual artist, and director a picture of how the finished piece would look, before making the final version.
TORN: What is your favorite piece?
JW: My favorite piece is Galadriels Ring 'Nenya', one of the three elven rings of power. The top of the ring is a carved silver filigree of tiny overlapping dragonflies and the band is formed by interwoven leaves.
TORN: What piece was the hardest to visualize?
JW: The Evenstar was the most complex piece to design, even though compared to some of the other designs it appears relatively simple, it is a very pivotal piece of jewellery in the film. Arwen (who wears it) is referred to as 'the evenstar' of her people, so it needed to have a star like quality, yet being of elven design and make it needed to have a hand made organic feel, and be extremely well crafted, complex and almost magical.
TORN: What are you working on now? And in the future?
JW: At the moment I am designing a range of womens jewellery, that will be released in the UK and the USA in July 2002.
TORN: Will these pieces be available for sale?
JW: My 2002 range of jewellery will be availible through the QVC shopping network, and I will keep my website updated with the details.
TORN: Did you keep any original pieces for a memento?
JW: All of the jewellery i designed and made belongs to New Line cinema,(the production company). Although at the end of the production I was commissioned to make a silver leaf brooch similair to the elven brooches as a memnto for each member of the wardrobe department