Toby Cotterill is a jeweller and silversmith based in West Yorkshire.

His unique work takes inspiration from the natural world and the process of making.

Using recycled silver and gold, Toby combines traditional silversmithing skills with original construction methods to create a range of one-off and everyday pieces of jewellery.

Selected for the Hothouse programme in 2016, Toby continues to represent the Crafts Council as a Hothouse Talent Ambassador and through workshops. 

Ideas emerge from sketchbook work, intuition and the study of natural objects. Some pieces have a direction and design at the outset, others take on a life of their own. Developing on the workbench, they are influenced by the techniques used and what looks and feels right.

“I love the state of flow that happens at the workbench when I’m absorbed in making and completely in the moment with the tools and materials.”

The initial making process is often lovely and noisy. Using a variety of hammers, sheet silver is forged over steel stakes or into wooden moulds, to create three dimensional forms. These are often pierced into sections with a very fine saw blade and articulated with handmade mechanisms. Other pieces have overlapping sections which have to be painstakingly fitted to the one before. These take more time but are the most satisfying to make. After soldering, work is gradually refined through a succession of files and emery paper before polishing.

As work evolves there is constant consideration to the body, how it fits around it and how it will be made secure, resulting in confident yet comfortable pieces of wearable sculpture.