project corona... robyn smith

Project Corona: Jeweller Robyn Smith on WhatsApp workouts, the Internet and the key to maintaining a fulfilling life under one roof




23rd March, 2020

“Realistically, you can’t be productive all of the time, and that pressure is unhealthy. It’s good to allow yourself the time to just unwind”


Robyn Smith is a multi-disciplinary designer and jeweller. Robyn crafts each piece by hand, exploring human interactions and ancient relics, against uniquely created textures and sculptural shapes.

Robyn studied at Central Saint Martins, in which she was awarded the Swarovski Scholarship for Jewellery 2014. Her work has been on display at the Aram Gallery, Covent Garden, and The Jewellery Pop-Up in Boxpark Shoreditch.

After displaying symptoms of Covid-19 Robyn decided to self-isolate in her Herne Hill flat, confined only to her bedroom.

How has self-isolation been so far?

Being sick took up a lot of my time. I didn’t do too much for a good few days. I’ve been doing a lot of low concentration things, like sewing. I find it relaxing, and it takes your mind off of being sick. My room was also messy, and as soon as I had the strength I spent time tidying and organising so that there was nothing on the floor. I rearranged my desk so that it was clear, save for a bunch of daffodils my housemates bought me. I think it’s important during this time to surround ourselves with clear, open spaces.

How has self-isolation affected your creative practice?

I normally make my jewellery by myself and sell it, but I’m unable to get to the studio to access any materials. I got sick right at the end of finishing several projects that needed to be sent out to people, but was too ill.


image by lauren maccabee for robyn smith jewellery 

“All of a sudden you have all this free time and space to research. The internet becomes your best friend. Even though normally I’d say ‘don’t sit on the internet for too long’, you can end up using Google more efficiently“


Luckily a friend of mine was able to collect them and send them out. As is the case with most products right now, no one is buying jewellery. People are scrolling online more than ever, and are not wanting to buy things that they deem unnecessary. With nobody buying, there is no money to be making. Royal Mail have also suspended special deliveries, so you can’t even send out what you make. It makes you feel helpless. People are reevaluating what’s important, and of course nobody wants to buy jewellery just to wear around the house, where food is more important. As an industry there is a lot of uncertainty.

I’ve been googling ‘what’s valuable during times of uncertainty?’, and websites are saying that you need to stay in people's minds. Now is a good time to engage with people on social media, especially as people are inside. It’s a good time for brands in that sense, but in terms of physically making things, it’s difficult.

Do you think that creativity can be enhanced during times of self-isolation?

Yes, definitely. All of a sudden you have all this free time and space to research. The internet becomes your best friend. Even though normally I’d say ‘don’t sit on the internet for too long’, you can end up using Google more efficiently.

With apps like Google Arts and Culture, you can take a virtual tour of a gallery and bring up images from inside.  It’s stuff that you normally do, but with so many distractions it’s usually so hard to do. With none, it’s easier to achieve.

It also gives you more time to do stuff like that, but only if you want to be. Only if you have the drive. It's almost a luxury to have so much time undisturbed.

How do you plan on keeping calm and centered?

I’ve been eating more cookies than ever before. I’ve been doing Whatsapp workouts with friends over video call, and lots of yoga, alongside more mindless sewing. It’s also important to note that not doing anything can be considered productive. Realistically, you can’t be productive all of the time, and that pressure is unhealthy. It’s good to allow yourself the time to just unwind.   



image by lauren maccabee for robyn smith jewellery 

View, purchase and learn more about Robyn Smith below:

www.robynsmith.me / @robynsmithofficial

#TimeIsInfinite


words: patrick taylor, will paintin / images courtesy of robyn smith, lauren maccabee




uoh 2020 — @uok.hun