London based designer-maker Isabel Distassi is a recent Edinburgh College of Art graduate working in mixed media 


After spending a while observing the textures of water lilies and their natural path to decay I came to feel very moved by the fragility of such seemingly beautiful surfaces. I started to mimic the textures I found in nature into my pieces but found that more often than not they lost the magic they had in the outside world as I was immortalizing the objects. Through this realisation I grew very attached to the idea of objects of impermanence that are still beautiful, enigmatic and intimate.

I have enjoyed working with this idea in my ‘Paper Series’, where I manipulate paper to resemble clustered objects found in nature. By folding, bending and wrapping  the paper in different ways I have recreated myriad organic shapes and textures which beg both curiosity and a desire to be handled.

By working with these ephemeral works, I began to feel torn by the impending duration of my pieces and my desire to use precious metals. I researched into objects that were both still natural and more durable and came across brain coral, which has a lifespan of up to 900 years and still holds the delicacy I was previously drawn to. I felt settled in my ability to recreate the mystical quality of nature by reflecting the patterns of these corals closely with silver. By rolling my silver into between 0.1 and 0.3mm thickness and intricately crimping and bending it, I have been able to explore the juxtaposition between delicacy and permanence. I hope that by manipulating metal to resemble paper I can gage my audience by expressing my ability to deliver the same concept with a development of materials. 

Image ©Charlie Murray


OPEN 2018 | 29th Jan - 8th March 2018 - Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh 

Handmade Edinburgh | 27th - 29th October 2017 - The Hub, Edinburgh

Handmade at Kew | 12th - 14th October 2017 - Kew Gardens, London

New Designers | 28th June - 1st July 2017 - Business Design Centre, London

Degree Show | 1st - 11th June 2017 - Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)

Pics Project | 9th - 12th November 2016 - Lichtof, Stubenring 3, Vienna, Austria

Andrew Grant exhibition | March 2016 - Open project, ECA

Limited Edition | 10th - 13th December 2015 - National Museum of Scotland

Limited Edition | 9th-10th December 2015 - ECA

British Art Medal Society | November 2015 - Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art 


Shortlisted | 1st June 2017 - Visual Arts Scotland graduate showcase 2018

Precious metal sponsorship | February 2017 -  The Goldsmith's  Company 

Highly Commended Award | 2015 - Scottish Gemmological Association Gem Set Competition 


University of Edinburgh | 2014-17 - BA (Hons), Jewellery and Silversmithing : First Class Honours

City and Guilds of London Art School | 2013-14 - Foundation Diploma in Art and Design


FairTrade Gold Sales Ambassador | December 2017

Using Format