Origins and professional background
Sara Preisler has been creating since 1989, from first studying classical sculpture, to having graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in Design Crafts and then moving to Birmingham to complete a post graduate Business Design Fellowship at The University of Central England in 1994.
With a long family history of jewellery and craftsmanship, Sara Preisler can trace her family history back to the French Revolution in Paris, and then on to Autun, Burgundy where her ancestors were one of the earliest clock-makers in France before fleeing to Switzerland in the 16th Century, indeed one of their pieces now sits in the horology rooms of The British Museum in London and dates back to the 1570’s.
Her Father was a renowned diamond cutter and precious stone expert in the Brighton Lanes, England, where he specialised in dealing with rare gemstones and antique jewellery pieces. Sara follows this family tradition in jewellery and making.
Sara was also a University lecturer and headed the Jewellery and Silver-smithing department at Liverpool Hope University, on its Bachelor of Design Course before the birth of her son in 2010. She continued to lecture there specialising in the teaching of Professional Practice in the School of Creative Arts until she left in 2021.
Her work with Universities continues beyond her decades at LHU where she is honoured to offer the Sara Preisler Award for Practical Realisation of Concept to other students at Birmingham City University’s prestigious School of Jewellery. In addition she also works closely with Birmingham University Careers Department to offer and maintain a student placement scheme and acts as visiting lecturer there in their professional development seminar days.
Sara has been on the board of directors for several organisations during her time in business, markedly on the board for the charitable organisation Craftspace, (formally Craftspace Touring).
Sara Preisler has now become a notable figure in the British jewellery industry since designing her first collection in 1993. Sara’s growth as an artist has been unstoppable since then: she has won numerous awards and has contributed to various interviews, journals, documentaries; on screen and off, and publications.
Sara’s first gallery opened in 2002, and was situated in a small location in Birmingham’s creative hub; The Custard Factory. In 2005 she moved to Custard Factory’s Front of House, where she expanded to a two story location situated right next to the Factory’s iconic Green Man Sculpture, she has since, (March 2021), moved from that location to a more attractive gallery location in the main Zellig Hub of the Custard Factory. As recently as 2020 she opened her second Gallery crowning the top of Stratford upon Avon’s famous Henley Street, a stones throw away from the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust Museum.
Along with selling her own collections at this location, she showcases collections from over 70 of the UK’s leading designers and creative minds, each especially selected for their uniqueness and creativity.
In addition to selling the varying collections, Sara hosts bi-monthly exhibitions at the gallery where she curates a selection of works carefully discovering new work and emerging makers. Sara is constantly sourcing fresh, contemporary collections from Britain’s best and bringing them to Birmingham. It is from Sara’s workshop and studio within the gallery that she designs and makes exclusive private commissions.
Now celebrating 30 years in business, Sara has been commissioned by various fashion houses, museums, galleries and businesses. Incredibly, Sara was selected to design exclusive jewellery collections for The Royal Shakespeare Company early on in her career where between 1997 and 2006, Sara created many unique collections for them.
Sara drew inspiration from many motifs for the RSC, ranging from hand transcribing Shakespeare’s own script onto jewellery to sourcing inspiration from Elizabeth Scott’s Art Deco Windows at The theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for some of her ranges. The work was sold internationally with the RSC and continues to be one of her most sought after collections.
Notably, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London recently commissioned her to design and create a range of jewellery to be featured as part of their Fabric of India collection. Her collection, entitled Papered Paisley was inspired by the Regency fascination with the East, and was displayed at the museum throughout their exhibition and beyond.
When The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam released a series of exhibitions surrounding the letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, they commissioned Sara to create a unique jewellery collection to accompany it. The ‘Letters‘ exhibition toured many countries and with it, Sara’s pieces, with a follow-up collection launching in subsequent years. This not only amplified Sara’s reputation as a designer, but also furthered Birmingham’s prominence as a source of creativity and originality in its ever-changing design sector where ‘Visit Birmingham’ used Sara’s commission to promote Birmingham as a cultural destination to the Dutch by launching her collection with a flurry of promotion about her and the city of Birmingham at Amsterdam’s main train station at the opening week of the exhibition.
Sara’s record of commissions is by no means limited, in 29 years she has been sourced from across the globe, from Birmingham Royal Ballet to Munich Design Week, from Milan Gold International Expo to Selfridges & Co. London, and many more projects, commissions and exhibitions throughout this time. Sara has been extremely lucky to have worked within a very diverse international creative arena producing designs and products for a vast array of customer where her work is recognised for its unique sculptural qualities where these limited edition pieces are becoming highly collectible.
Throughout her career, Sara has received numerous awards and accolades. From British Rail’s Young Business Award in 1993 to Birmingham Design Initiative’s Industry and Genius Award for Jewellery and Silver-Smithing (2007) onto being voted Corporate Livewire’s Contemporary Jewellery Designer of the year 2019 and more recently Jewellery Gallery of the year 2020 and 2022 as well as being nominated for UK Enterprise Awards numerously.
It is clear that in nearly three decades, Sara has grown not only as a designer, but also as a recognised figure within the fast paced, constantly changing independent jewellery industry.