‘Make Jewellery’…

‘Make Jewellery’: well making jewellery is certainly something I do, and I’m very happy to be featured in the ‘Make Jewellery’ magazine (out today) as their ‘blog of the month’! Can’t help feeling a bit of a fraud though, as I’ve been so busy recently I’ve let my normal weekly blogging schedule slip!

I guess the thing is that life as a jewellery designer / maker is a very seasonal thing: much more so than I realised before I became one. Of course you’d expect Christmas to be the main sales time, and it is, but that’s just a part of the picture. Once the Christmas rush is over I find I need to turn my attention to a bit of admin, especially in order to meet the tax return deadline at the end of January. After this I have to get straight back into designing new jewellery because most of the application deadlines for the big autumn / winter shows are in March, and that means I need fresh images.

My collection this season is based largely on the imprints in my mind of the end of our garden: the bantam hens that visit from next door and line up on the bench, the view of the valley and hills, the silhouette of the holly tree and the often amazing skies. I knew I wanted to add to my series of ‘bird brooches’, using primarily silver and wood. Limiting my pallet is key for me: otherwise I easily end up with a horrible miss-mash.

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I often think things through in the shower and sketch ideas on the steamy glass. Luckily no trace of most them remains, but a few make it on to the next design stage. I start playing with pieces of cardboard, and sketching on my iPad. I find this a terrific new tool as I can play around with the images, moving elements around in a way I can’t do with a sketchbook.

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Next I start cutting up pieces of wood and soldering together bits of silver, playing with all the separate elements and swapping them around in different formations. 

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Deciding which formation to go with is the hard part, and I always put off the final riveting / soldering / gluing bit for as long as possible. Many seedling ideas get discarded along the way, and I accumulate a pile of unused ‘elements’, most of which will eventually get used somewhere, but maybe in something quite different!

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These are some of the brand new finished brooches! 

I’ll be exhibiting them along with the rest of my jewellery in ‘Desire’ Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair next week, so do come along if you can. Email me for a free private view invitation for Thursday evening (3rd March, 4.30 – 8pm). The show continues from 10am – 5pm on 4th – 6th March, in London SW15. Full details on the Craft in Focus website.

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