Josephine Gomersall

Josephine is a jeweller and silversmith based at Persistence Works studios in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Her interest in the botanical landscape stems from childhood memories of her grandparents’ tours of their prized garden, her grandfather’s floral oil paintings, her mother cutting, pressing and naming flowers from the garden and her father’s passion for his allotment and horticulture.

This early immersive experience of all things botanical became a constant theme throughout Josephine’s design career. Working with familiar wildflower motifs, she first began drawing plant specimens for repeating patterns whilst studying for a degree in Surface Pattern and Printed Textile design. She collaborated with Liberty, who commissioned her drawings to produce several art fabrics named Irma, Theodora, Blossom and Josephine’s Garden. Inspired by common plants in her locality she now works in silver, capturing the essence of delicate, ephemeral specimens and a moment in time, to create everlasting treasures with enduring beauty.
The name of Josephine’s collection – Florilegium – derives from Latin, meaning a gathering of flowers. She describes her handcrafted silver botanical sculptures in Sterling silver as ‘drawings in precious metal.’ Her work depicts familiar and nostalgic flowers, leaves and wild grasses, imbued with meaning and memories, using wire and sheet metal to describe their linear structures, silhouettes, and forms.

Josephine is inspired by eighteenth century botanical illustrations, influenced by an appreciation for the compositions, delicate colours and the sensitive quality of line achieved from the hand-engraved copper etched printing plates. Her design process is to document and record her ephemeral subject matter through photography and observational drawings, and more recently collecting and pressing specimens to create a reference herbarium. The process of close observation to make drawings and dissecting to press and preserve, enables a deeper understanding and an intimate knowledge of the botanical subject, which gives rise to their sculptural forms in silver.